Celebrating every child at OLSS

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Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School Miranda (OLSS) have invited the whole family to celebrate their students’ many gifts and talents.

Students’ grandparents joined them for the school’s first ever Newman Selective Gifted Education Program symposium, which highlighted every child’s unique contribution to their educational community

The decision to combine the symposium with their grandparents’ day was partially motivated by practically, but Newman Coordinator Ellen Lindsay-Thus said it felt like a natural fit because grandparents are “the champions of children” and celebrate students no matter what their gifts.

“We wanted to make sure that every child had the opportunity to showcase what they can do,” said Ms Lindsay-Thus, “which is why we’ve had so many different activities, all based around extension.”

Learning whatever they like

The school’s tight-knit Newman cohort took over much of the library during the event, arranging large booths around an ongoing book fair – timed to encourage parents to inspire further reading.

The students had each studied a topic they’d chosen themselves, and presented their findings using websites, science experiments, musical performances and homemade movies.

Teacher Gabrielle Jessop, who ran the program, said students worked on their projects for an hour each week and at home with very little help from staff, and enjoyed the opportunity to direct their own learning.

“Every day students come to school we tell them when to eat, we tell them when they can play, and we tell them what they’ve got to learn,” Ms Jessop said.

We wanted to make sure that every child had the opportunity to showcase what they can do –

Ellen Lindsay-Thus

“This is an opportunity for them to show us something that they’re really passionate about and interested in, and what they’ve produced is beyond what we’d ever thought they’d be able to do.”

Carrerra Nguyen, Year 4, and Ashton Nguyen, Year 2, created projects on nutrition and outer space. Carrera offered guests at her stall fruit samples and explained which vitamins could be found in each, while Ashton’s presentation included a diorama and a flash game.

Andrew Nguyen, their father, said he helped them with small aspects of their projects, like brainstorming ideas, but that they’d invested time in putting them together due to genuine interest.

“My son loves playing games, especially Minecraft, and my daughter has a keen interest in food and cooking,” Mr Nguyen said. “This project gave them a chance to explore their interests and be boundless in what they can do, without any restrictions.”

Building robots with grandma

Infants students spent the morning demonstrating their STEM prowess to their parents and grandparents, using a variety of building materials to create intricate structures.

Nicola Testore, whose grandson Dion was creating a sustainable treehouse out of tissue boxes, egg cartons and other recycled materials, said he wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to spend time with him at school.

“It’s fun for us to be close to them, because they’re very dear to us,” he said. “All Dion’s grandparents are here today.”

Natalia Guerrero showed her grandmother Susana how she could create a circuit and cause pieces of the kit to light up, move or make noise.

“My teacher taught this to us last Friday,” she explained, “it’s just fun.”

The showcase also included a sports display, and the school’s choir and dance team wound up the morning by performing a medley of songs from movie musical The Greatest Showman.

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