SOME of WA’s brightest primary school children got a taste of university life at ECU Joondalup this month.
About 450 gifted and talented Year 4 students from across the northern suburbs kick-started their induction into the Education Department’s Primary Extension and Challenge (PEAC) program at ECU in December.
The program aims to engage gifted students in upper primary school with extended and challenging courses to cater for their abilities in a complementary capacity to their regular schooling.
Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton, Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton and Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski officially opened the event on December 11 and toured the campus to learn more about the program.
PEAC north metro team leader Sarah Mirco said the collaborative partnership with ECU was a great success.
“This is the fifth consecutive year we have run this successful induction program with ECU,” she said.
“The students come from 180 different schools across the North Metropolitan Education Region and are given access to ECU resources and staff in a program designed for highly able learners.”
Each day from December 11 to 13, the students had opportunities to try activities such as coding and the use of microbits, testing with exercise science and hands-on activities in drama and medical maths.
The students also had the chance to hear top writing tips from three award-winning children’s authors in a workshop on the importance of imagination in the art and process of writing.
The sessions were facilitated by undergraduate, postgraduate and research university students who relished sharing their expertise with children in the community.
ECU School of Education Executive Dean Professor Stephen Winn said the university supported initiative “in the spirit of mutually-beneficial community engagement”.
“We understand from our own academics’ research in this area how vital it is for gifted and talented students to be supported and nurtured at a very early stage in their schooling,” he said.
“We are also delighted that a small cohort of our own pre-service teachers are given the opportunity to take part in this experience as group leaders, giving them real-world experience of working with gifted and talented students and gleaning new skills from the PEAC educators.”
Ms Winton was a PEAC teacher for 12 years and said the program catered for the brightest and smartest students.
“PEAC in the North Metropolitan Education Region continues to evolve, innovate and to develop stimulating and challenging learning opportunities in such a broad learning areas,” she said.
“It is wonderful to connect with my former teaching colleagues to support this very important induction program for the new cohort of PEAC students and to showcase and celebrate the extraordinary learning opportunities that awaits these gifted and talented students in the next two years.”