Primary school for exceptionally gifted children

Exceptionally gifted children rarely have an easy childhood – their talent often sets them apart from their classmates, boredom makes them disruptive in the classroom and schools are rarely able to meet their individual needs. The education authorities have long opposed the idea of schools for exceptionally gifted children but now the first such primary school is ready to open its doors to talented kids - offering highly individual, alternative schooling.

After a three year long battle with the Education Ministry, Stanislav Svoboda, a teacher with years of experience, has been given the green light to open the first-ever Czech primary school for exceptionally talented children. For 2,900 crowns a month (approximately 160 US dollars) the school promises a high degree of motivation and individual study plans which would enable exceptionally gifted children or children with an above-average IQ to work at higher grade levels in subjects they excel at, while getting a sound all-round education.

In order to get enrolled children must pass special entrance exams – IQ and psychological tests on the basis of which highly-qualified teachers will then draft a special study plan for them. So far the school has 15 children – eight of them are in first grade the rest in a mixed study group where they follow individual study plans. Eventually the school hopes to have as many as 80 children, but many parents are still waiting to see the outcome of what is widely perceived as an experiment in the sphere of education. Although child psychologists agree on the need to give talented children special attention, many warn that a special school may not be the ideal solution. Vaclava Masakova is a child psychologist who works with exceptionally talented children:

Ilustrační foto: Archiv Radia Praha
“Parents are right when they say that not all Czech schools offer gifted children individual tuition, but “segregating” them in a class of “exceptional” people may have its drawbacks. They will not be in an exceptional environment later in life and need to acquire social skills. Also a child of eight may be able to do math at university level but their psychological needs may be that of a child of eight, so you need to balance this very carefully and give them space to play as well.”

It is too early to say how successful the new private school will be in addressing the needs of talented children, but for the time being its pupils show signs of being happy there – happier and more motivated than in their old school. And parents say that they are willing to take the risk, grateful that their children’s needs are finally being acknowledged and addressed.