What makes a one-of-a-kind school?
One answer to this question is to look at Choice School for the Gifted, an independent school located in Richmond BC. For over 30 years, this school has provided and continues to provide a learning environment specifically tailored for high potential, high ability, gifted learners. The program offered at Choice is unique. While meeting the requirements of delivering the BC Ministry of Education curriculum, it also draws on a large body of research and best practices for the provision of appropriate learning for students who have identified gifts and talents.
British Columbia, as with many educational jurisdictions, recognizes gifted learners as having special needs that require provision of learning opportunities and a flexible environment tailored to students who learn at a faster pace, who possess extensive background knowledge, and who are innovators and creators, problem solvers and critical thinkers. To provide an optimal program for these learners, class sizes are limited, and staff are dedicated special needs educators who bring a wealth of experience to their classes. The New BC Curriculum is tailored by staff to provide for the opportunities to explore and express the interests that drive their students.
At Choice we recognize that outdoor experiences and a connection with the natural world has evidence-based benefits for learners. We integrate these rich opportunities into our program through field studies and learning using our environmental maker-space, our on-site greenhouse.
A day spent at Choice might find grade 2 and 3 students learning chemistry or how to count in Greek because their curiosity has taken them there. Music, drama and art are incorporated into learning activities and demonstrations of learning and understandings. Eager minds tackle the mysteries of dark matter, or the influence of Shakespeare’s works on everyday life and use their mathematical talents to solve construction problems related to school improvements. In every corner books abound, intense discussions are underway, investigations are undertaken as questions about current events, how something is made or change of seasons ignite interest and exploration. As part of the regular term schedule, students undertake challenges in areas of interest such as calligraphy, robotics, rocketry, needlework or cooking, creating musical instruments or distinctive and complex works of art – all driven by their interests and all circling back into the learning outcomes of science, social studies, language arts, music, art, and mathematics.
Driving all of this is a vision of learning as engaging, active, responsive and personalized so that each learner can work towards meeting their potential and stretch beyond. In 2016, the BC Ministry of Education recognized our unique school by designating it as a Special Education School for the Gifted, the only such designation in BC. It is a one-of-a-kind place and we welcome visitors. Come and see us in action!