Leonardo Gifted School is partner or member of: COBIS - Council of British International Schools, ECHA - European Council for High Ability, WCGTC - World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, AERO - Alternative Education Resource Organization, BPLUSA - Big Picture Learning Design USA, University of Bucharest - Faculty of Phychology and Educational Sciences, University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education, Simon Fraser University - Faculty of Education
Leonardo Gifted School is a school exclusively dedicated to highly gifted children. This is a tremendous chance for a child to learn in an environment which respects from the start his/her special needs and supports the child in developing an autonomous being, an independent thinker and a healthy emotional behaviour. This is the right kind of school for a gifted child. Our primary school is dedicated for children aged 3 to 11 years. This may also be referred to as pre-school (ages 3-5), Key Stage 1 (ages 5 to 7) and Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 11). We group children together based on their ability, and not only according to their age group.
The subjects to be taught at primary schools are specified by the National Curriculum of England and Whales, which also sets out Standard Attainment Targets (SAT’s) to be reached. Parents can choose on option that their children are tested on SAT’s at 7 and 11 years old, at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, in the mandatory core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. We are teaching this curriculum using methods of teaching especially used in gifted education which respects the nature and nurture principles, the natural rhythm of development of the child, which gives him/her full trust and blooms when the child becomes an owner in the learning process.
We also teach other subjects, including History, Geography, Technology, Music, Art and Physical Education (PE) are also taught. Details of these are found here. For younger children, the subjects are often integrated into topics.
After 8 years of studying with us (from 3 to 11 years old), the child receives a certificate of completion of Primary (recognized by international schools, by British schools), plus an equivalent of a certificate of gifted education.
The Romanian Ministry of Education has no interference on the curricula and education of the child. A good point to mention is that we are not funded by the British Government. We are an independent British International school. But in order to smooth the child’s progress, whichever the decisions of the parents, we intend that by end of June 2016 to apply for authorization with the National Ministry of Education as an International school. This smoothes out the process of equivalence of the education of the child in the Romanian system – if the parents decide so, or they can opt for another private / alternative education for the child.
The tremendous benefit is that we can provide with the help of a School Counsellor, a counselling psychologist, the very support for the parents and the child, to a clear, easier and more conscious transition, by mitigating the emotional effort of adaptation, and decrease the risk of school-drop, school failure or any other risks involved in school system change – in case that may be. This is usual to any school change, not just changing from our school – for example – to another school, and requires close attention from parents, and even more so, if there is a gifted child involved.
We have heard the stories of gifted children following the national system of education in Romania, and failing out, after only 2 grades. So at about 7-8 years of age they start making the right noise so that they get heard. They get so bored, so unpleasantly impressed with what needs to be done in school that they just don’t want to go to school anymore. They would rather not to. They want something else. And they are about to drop the school. They just don’t cope with the teacher; they either become the mock of the whole classroom, rolling under the desks, the fools of the class (they get the long desired attention) or the bad boys/girls who are even invited to leave the school/classroom because they just put too much pressure on the educator/teacher and they just clash every time.
Sometimes they change 2 schools by the age of 8 – and this poses a tremendous social risk on the fragile shoulders of both the child and the parents. We have seen this in our school class already, and parents got so scared and resourceless that our program seemed to them the right haven and they asked us to make the right school for their children.
To make things more clear: we don’t advise the school change, but if this happens, as any kind of change can happen, we would advise parents to use our support for the child and parent to make a smooth transition. We have the experts to offer the right emotional support and we have seen results already in our 5 years of working with gifted – they can understand the difference between the environment we provide and the world outside, given the right information, attitude, by feeling listened and understood.
As an opportunity and continuity for all our enrolled children, we may apply in 2017 as a Secondary School (ages 12-16), and starting with 2017-2018 we may provide secondary education, making things even easier and smoother than before, and offering a better perspective for any child and parent.
Also, as an alternative, we will have a close Montessori school – a partner school for some activities, and also, a partner school from the classical education system, so that children get involved together and get a taste of the different learning systems and make some kind of emotional contact so that they feel/know what to expect. In the case they would opt for any of these two types of education, a child would feel more familiar with either.