St Hilda’s Gifted and Talented Program

As the recently appointed Gifted and Talented Coordinator at St Hilda’s, I am thrilled to be a part…

As the recently appointed Gifted and Talented Coordinator at St Hilda’s, I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful school community.

My interest in education, particularly science, was sparked at an early age by my dad, who had me reading New Scientist, Cosmos Magazine, and Thesaurus (to help decipher all the scientific words). Unfortunately, there weren’t many opportunities for students like me when I was in school, which drives me to create better opportunities for our students now.

With an extensive background in gifted education, I’ve had the privilege of working at Perth Modern School and lecturing in educational pedagogy at Notre Dame. I am genuinely passionate about gifted education and have received extensive training in this field, shaping my approach to nurturing our girls’ exceptional abilities.

My new role at St Hilda’s is incredibly exciting! I aim to initiate innovative programs and cocurricular opportunities tailored to our gifted and highly able girls. I have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with the Head of Extension in the Junior School to support a whole-school approach that is integral to St Hilda’s Reimagined (our strategic intent) and to St Hilda’s continuing evolution. My goal is to create an environment where our girls can truly shine, excel, and find fulfilment in their educational journey.

One of my main areas of focus is working closely with teachers to explore and develop differentiated programs within the classroom. St Hilda’s is incredibly well-resourced and has rich data on the girls’ and their potential. Collaboration with dedicated educators ensures that all students, including the gifted and highly able, receive an authentic and personalised education. Providing the right support and opportunities ensures they thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Being at St Hilda’s and working with girls in gifted education is something that resonates with me. In co-ed schools, I’ve noticed that gifted girls, more often than not, get overshadowed by boys. That’s why I was really drawn to St Hilda’s, where girls have the space to take the lead without being dwarfed.

Gifted students can sometimes be misunderstood or seen as naughty or disengaged when really they’re just bored because the work isn’t challenging enough. In my classroom observations at St Hilda’s, I have seen stimulating and enriching experiences, keeping the girls engaged and excited about their learning. However, it’s not just about abilities and talents; it’s also about the motivation to perform and establishing a supportive learning environment based on mutual trust and respect.

What I’ve found most astonishing at St Hilda’s is the number of extension opportunities embedded within the curriculum programs for all students (regardless of their aptitude for the subject) and opportunities outside the classroom. Our girls have access to competitions, programs, and experiences that rival even the state’s top selective schools. St Hilda’s Mensa accreditation recognises our commitment to fostering giftedness.

Programs like the da Vinci Decathlon and Tournaments of Mind allow girls to connect with like-minded souls to test their knowledge, creativity and problem-solving skills. I can’t wait to plan study tours to prestigious universities overseas and run more competitions and challenges for our students.

However, St Hilda’s is more than just academics; our school’s pastoral care ensures our student’s social and emotional development is also supported. The rapport between teachers and students is heartwarming, and I see how much our educators genuinely care about extending learning opportunities for every student.

I am so excited about the bright future that lies ahead for our gifted and highly able students at St Hilda’s. It’s a joy to be part of this community, and I can’t wait to see our girls thrive and achieve their extraordinary futures under my guidance. Together, we’ll continue to provide exceptional opportunities and support for all our students.

Tania Elliott
Gifted and Talented Coordinator