The international program “Gifted” for the education of gifted children, which started last year in Lithuania, has gained great popularity – hundreds of participants have registered in Kaunas. After a successful start, this year it was decided to expand the program and offer it not only to Kaunas residents, but also to the residents of the capital. Gifted is a special program for the intellectual and emotional education of gifted children and a professional IQ testing methodology that determines a child’s IQ in order to develop an individualized education plan for each, based on their abilities.
The Gifted program, initiated by Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) together with partners from Israel, will open a special center in Vilnius in September this year. Prospective third-graders, fourth-graders, fifth-graders and eleventh-graders are already invited to register both in the capital and in Kaunas – testing and selection of participants is planned to start in April. Another innovation has been initiated in the temporary capital – future preschoolers, five- and six-year-olds who will go to the preschool group in September, are invited to register. A Saturday Gifted School will be organized for them in Kaunas.
The international program “Gifted” is based on the recognized Israeli model of education for gifted children, which consists of special education programs for children aged 3-18 and a methodology for testing the IQ. Lithuanian and Israeli education experts and psychologists select in the program. Gifted is an open learning environment where teachers and educators help children grow intellectually and emotionally, special education programs for gifted children, counseling by psychologists, winter and summer camps, counseling and seminars for parents.
According to Dilita Tindžiulienė, Gifted’s project coordinator in Lithuania, the program aims to discover and develop the skills of talented children – in many countries for many years a lot of investment has been made, while in Lithuania such a program is organized for the second year in a row. Vytautas Magnus University is cooperating in this project with the Israeli company IP Capital and the internationally recognized Ron Vardi Training Center in Rishon Lezion, which develops cognitive and creative competencies of talented children.
“Talented children are the best investment in the future of Lithuania, which really pays off. They do not appear in the sixth grade – they come different, endowed with exceptional abilities, so it is important to create all the conditions for them to grow, improve their exceptional abilities and help to realize themselves from an early age. This requires professionals who are able to work with gifted children, ”says project coordinator D. Tindžiulienė.
According to the initiators, gifted children are those who are objectively distinguished from others by their extremely high abilities, more mature thinking, creativity, faster assimilation of knowledge, and often higher achievements. They are also often more sensitive to the environment around them, which can lead to challenges in learning: loss of motivation due to lessons that are not interesting to them, more anxiety about high expectations of others, greater loneliness due to their exceptional abilities. The development of such a child’s abilities requires a supportive environment, which is what the program aims to create.
The Gifted program is modeled on the Ron Vardi Center in Israel. In Israel, the Gifted program has been running for 35 years, looking for talented children, allocating significant resources to their training and preparing special teachers to work with them. In this country, the education of gifted children is a priority area of education in which targeted investment is being made. In Israel, the teaching process is based on the principle that the child must be visible and audible. The country’s respectful attitude towards the child as a personality is aptly revealed by the saying “You cannot be everything, but you can be anything.”
“Using Israel’s advanced and recognized experience, a unique concept has been developed – how to recognize and educate gifted children from kindergarten to university. We have created such a program in Lithuania as well, where a team of qualified teachers educates gifted children, ”explains Eli Fux, General Partner of IP Capital Group, one of the executors of the program.
Students in the Gifted program can develop their STEAM (biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science), art, literature, law, business, philosophy, entrepreneurship and other skills. They can also develop perseverance, creativity, critical thinking, analytical and communication skills. VMU, as a university of liberal arts, promotes the ability of students to apply the provisions of comprehensive education in their lives. At the same time, the program upholds the values of interdisciplinarity, citizenship, social sensitivity, and responsibility.
Children wishing to participate in the Gifted program are invited by the organizers to register and participate in the testing. Prospective students of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th grades are invited to register at the Gifted centers in Vilnius and Kaunas. Testing is scheduled for April-June.
In Kaunas, future preschoolers (5-6 years old) who will go to the preschool group in September are invited to register at the Gifted School in Kaunas. Their testing is scheduled for March.
Participation in the Gifted program is paid.