Different path to adulthood (The Australian)

View original article (PDF) The Australian – 2017

…gifted children’s coach Alan Thompson, who works with chess champions, musical prodigies and maths nerds, says accelerating a child’s learning by installing them in higher classes is nearly always appropriate­.

“One of my clients is an eight-year-old doing Year 11 subjects,’’ he said. “They’re all on the same wavelength. This is what these children need, to be with like-minded people.”

Noting that US entrepren­eur Elon Musk took his children out of standard schooling and creat­ed a customised environment, Mr Thompson added, “it doesn’t have to be in home schooling or a Montessori­ school”.

Australian teachers are interested in supporting pupils with high ability, and accelerated learning can happen in a standard school. He says there are 400,000 gifted students from pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, aged four to 17.

“A bunch of schools want to be part of Australian Mensa, and are making provision for gifted stud­ents over and above the normal provision,’’ Mr Thompson said..

“There are a few schools with an older mindset from the industrial age, the mentality that says ‘let’s churn out these kids like a learning factory’. But this is the creative age: there’s no room for factory children any more. What the world is crying out for is children who are self-driven.”

Mr Thompson, who describes himself as a ‘‘coach for high-ability families’’, says there are huge gains in having families involved in supporting a bright child.