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Celebrating Talent - Ireland Leads The Way
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EU Talent Day, 9 April 2011

With talent support as the central theme of its Presidency of the EU, Hungary is inviting Europe to unite on Saturday 9th April, 2011, to mark EU Talent Day. As the Irish Programme for Government has recognised gifted children, we now have a great opportunity to celebrate and promote Irish talent and innovation in all its forms - cultural, artistic, sporting, musical and academic - and explore ways of identifying, developing and supporting talent across a range of disciplines.

EU Talent Day Ireland is being co-ordinated jointly by Peter Lydon of Gifted and Talented Ireland, and Catherine Riordan and Karen McCarthy - gifted education advocates and authors of the Irish Gifted Education blog. They are inviting individuals and groups to organise events on April 9th to celebrate talent in all its forms.

Activities planned so far include: ‘EU Talent Day 2011: From Toy Boats to Game Boards: Viking Ireland from a Child’s Perspective’ at the National Museum in Kildare Street; a children’s picnic and guided tour at Dublin Zoo; and dance, music, art and drama gatherings at several locations. Click Here for more information on confirmed events.  

“EU Talent Day gives us a chance to push aside the gloom and remember what a talented country Ireland is. We need to give our young people the message that they have lots to offer and that great possibilities exist,” says Catherine Riordan.

Karen McCarthy adds, “It is also a great opportunity to celebrate our academic talent - Ireland has a rich history of cultural and scientific innovation”.

In tandem with EU Talent Day, Ireland is leading the way with the first ever National Gifted Education Awareness Day, Friday 8th April, 2011. National Gifted Education Awareness Day aims to promote awareness among teachers of the specific needs of Exceptionally Able (EA) children in classrooms, recognise those schools that have developed policies to help meet these educational needs, and to encourage co-operation between teachers and parents in support of EA children.

Lydon, a specialist teacher of Exceptionally Able children who helps schools to draft policies to support these pupils, says, “Our education system provides very well for children of average ability. We also have special provision for children with learning difficulties, but up until now we had no recognition that EA children have specific learning needs.

“The system assumes gifted children will do well, almost as if they could teach themselves. Instead, they often flounder and underachieve without support.”  

An experienced secondary school teacher himself, Lydon says he knows how dedicated teachers are - yet they receive little or no training in recognising and helping gifted learners.

He says, “There is nothing more frustrating and demoralising than to watch unfulfilled potential slip through the system. For the child, the consequences can be serious damage to self-esteem, lifelong underachievement, and emotional difficulties. Awareness of the specific needs of Exceptionally Able children can begin the process of ensuring these children achieve their potential.”

To learn more about National Gifted Education Awareness Day go to www.giftedandtalented.ie or E-mail eutalentday@gmail.com