Guide for parents
Whāngai ka tupu ka puawai. That which is nurtured, blossoms then grows.
At the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education our vision is that all gifted kids in Aotearoa get the specialist educational support they need to thrive and achieve their full potential. Around 47,000 primary school aged students in Aotearoa - of all ethnicities, genders and socio-economic backgrounds - were born with brains wired to learn faster, retain more and think more deeply than other kids.
We are delighted that your child/student has joined MindPlus Clubs, and we have put together this quick guide for you.
What is the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education?
The New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for gifted children. Over the last 25 years, we’ve nurtured the talents of thousands of gifted children, and given expert support to their parents and teachers. Read more about our whakapapa, our vision, and our impact.
What does NZCGE do?
NZCGE operates the MindPlus family of programmes, providing specialised support for gifted learners, face-to-face in our units, online, or in your school. We also support teachers and schools at the ‘chalk-face’ of meeting the needs of the gifted kids in your classes. What do you teach at MindPlus? All of our programmes use our specialist curriculum that targets the intellectual, creative, social and emotional needs of our gifted learners.
Our programmes offer:
A specialist teacher
A small group of other like-minded students to share and learn with
Our specialist curriculum that: develops their thinking and conceptual skills (Conceptual Development): allows them to dive into strength areas (Talent Development); and helps build the social and emotional skills they need to thrive (Personal Development)
MindPlus Clubs are part of the Talent Development programme, bringing like minds together in areas of interest, but will also bring in aspects of Conceptual and Personal Development as students think about issues in their talent area, challenge themselves and work with others.
What other programmes do you have?
Our MindPlus programmes offer a variety of ways to access MindPlus in order to meet the needs of students and families in different situations.
MindPlus OurSchool - Our flagship one day school programme for Y2-8 students in 13 units across NZ
MindPlus YourSchool - Schools run our MindPlus programme for gifted Y2-10 students at their own schools
MindPlus Online - Y2-10 students work online with our specialist teacher for a half day per week, from school or home
MindPlus Clubs - Students explore interests and passions with like-minded gifted kids across Aotearoa, as part of their existing MindPlus programme or, from 2023, as a standalone programme You can find out more about our range of programmes on our website here
Who can join a MindPlus Club?
MindPlus students who are part of our OurSchool, YourSchool and Online programmes will access MindPlus Clubs as part of their Talent Development work. Their MindPlus teacher will support them to access the club or clubs they want to join. Students can also continue to access MindPlus Clubs once they leave these programmes, to stay in touch with their friends and to inspire and help develop the club community. In time, we may develop a Senior and Junior version of the Clubs.
In 2023, we will be trialling offering MindPlus Clubs to gifted students who are not current or previous MindPlus students.
What does MindPlus Clubs cost?
MindPlus Clubs are free for students currently enrolled in one of our other MindPlus programmes and for MindPlus alumni.
When does a MindPlus Club meet?
MindPlus Clubs are online all the time so Club members can pop in whenever they would like. Each Club holds a live online event once each term for anyone who is available to come along to. We also hold annual in-person Club Days in a different city in New Zealand each year.
What are the MindPlus Clubs?
We have 10 MindPlus Clubs, each led by one or more MindPlus specialist teachers (the Club Lead(s)). Each has a broad scope and includes:
For techie types that love to create using coding, including digital game developers, animators and creators.
For passionate book-worms who would love to talk about what they read.
For those full of words and ideas with tales to tell, keen writers of all genres.
For any science enthusiasts who would like to explore scientific thinking in any branch of science.
For those who love to dream up and dream about created worlds like Dungeons and Dragons, film-making, world creation, idea-machines!
Artists & Artisans
For the painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, felters, weavers, sewers, embroiderers
For the practical creators, including aspiring architects, fashion designers, product designers, graphic designers.
For all those who love the past, including the ancient world, broad historical periods and themes, and how the past shapes our present and future.
For those passionate about making the world a better place through social change - our young social justice campaigners, environmentalists and politicians.
For keen number-crunchers who love the world of mathemagic.
What do the Club Leads do?
Our Club Leads set up the learning activities and support students as they connect and engage. They are available to answer questions from students but this may not be immediate. Club Leads do not ‘mark’ or assess students’ work, as the learning activities are deliberately open-ended and flexible.
Once they are enrolled in the Club they will receive a Google Log in and password, along with a Club code. Follow these instructions to get started:
How to join your MindPlus Club:
Sign in to Google
Enter the student NZCGE Google log in and password. You can find these in Hero.
Click on the 9 dots
Click on Classroom
Click on Join class
Enter the Club code
Click on Join
We are committed to open, regular communications between you, our MindPlus teachers and your child’s regular school teachers.
We know that families are always keen to know more about what their children are up to on their MindPlus days - and sometimes our children are not super forthcoming with details! It’s important to us that parents do feel included and part of the learning going on, so please get in touch anytime for an update or with ideas on how we could communicate with you better.
How you can communicate with us
Your first port of call if you have anything you’d like to discuss about your child or the MindPlus programme is to get in touch with your child’s MindPlus teacher. If you’d like a specific time to chat, please get in touch to set this up as well, as sometimes right before or after an online meeting isn’t the best time for a good in-depth discussion. If there are things you’d like to discuss further, you are welcome to contact our Deputy Programme Manager. Contact details for all of our staff are on our website here.
Communicating about your child
Our MindPlus teacher will proactively be in touch with you to share good news about your child’s progress as well as if they have any questions or concerns. We welcome you to visit your child’s MindPlus class at any time - just make a time that suits you with your child’s MindPlus teacher. We are also happy to welcome regular school teachers and principals.
Hero is our ‘one-stop shop’ app for checking in with what’s going on in your child and their MindPlus class. You can download Hero to any device here. When you start your MindPlus journey with us you will be asked to enrol in Hero, and you can find out more about how to do this here. If you currently use Hero for your school, your accounts will be linked and will show up side by side
Through Hero you will get:
Weekly Class Updates - to keep you up to date with what’s happening in your child’s MindPlus class each week, with news, notices and upcoming events. These are in Community Feed
Learner Profile Updates - in Terms 1, 3 and 4 we will update you on your child’s learning through the Learner Profile. We will also add any special highlights of your child’s MindPlus journey in the the Learner Profile These are in the Learner Profile under your child’s name
Termly Invoices - more information about these are in the Fees and Scholarship section. Invoice and payment information is found under Finance
Reporting on Progress and Achievement
Each term our teachers will update you on your child’s progress and achievement. In Terms 1, 3 and 4 this will be through the Learner Profile in Hero. In Term 2, this will be through a Learning Conversation. We will book in a time that suits you. We can also provide a specific reference for school entry or placement on request - just ask your child’s MindPlus teacher at least a fortnight in advance of this being needed.
Connecting with our MindPlus whānau
We know how valuable it is to connect with other MindPlus families and we will help you to do this. This is through a shared MindPlus class parent contact list that you can opt into, and is confidential to MindPlus families. Keep a lookout for this in Hero Community Feed early each term about this.
We also come together online at least once a term for some fun events!
Some key events in the MindPlus calendar are:
Term One - Welcome Night -Early in Term One, we invite parents and Contributing School teachers to an online session so you can meet your child’s teacher and other parents
Term Two - Gifted Awareness Week Whānau Night - We celebrate Gifted Awareness Week together in June each year with a super-fun evening of games and sharing for all the family and regular school teachers at each of our units and online as well
Term Three - Whānau Morning - This is a great opportunity for families and regular school teachers to join in with a MindPlus session and for your child to show you their work and meet their MindPlus friends
Term Four - Expo and Graduation- Our Expo and Graduation evenings are a wonderful way for our students to share and celebrate their learning with family and their regular school teachers, as well as for our year 8 students to celebrate graduating from MindPlus
Our other regular communications with our MindPlus whānau include:
Pānui - Each term, we share a Pānui by email with families and schools across Aotearoa, keeping you up-to-date with what’s happening with our programmes, students and gifted education more generally, and sharing events and opportunities
Facebook - Our NZCGE Facebook page is not our main means of communicating with families but we use it to share interesting articles and learning as well as information for the wider community interested in gifted education around events and opportunities coming up.
We’ve heard from families that you want to learn more about giftedness and about ways to support your child.
We are committing to supporting you with that through:
Online learning modules - short learning modules in Teachable that you can sign up for. These are free and on-demand. Start with our Introduction to MindPlus module and explore from there. If there is a specific learning module you would like to see, just let us know!
Regular parent learning opportunities - we hold regular online parent learning sessions across each year. Keep an eye out for these in the Community Feed of Hero
We value our relationship with you and your family and we want to be clear on what you can expect of us, as well as what we expect of you and your child.
We have comprehensive policies on privacy and health and safety (including accidents, Covid precautions, bullying, managing behaviour etc). We can provide you with these on request and all policies will be online soon.
Our commitment to you
We are committed to providing you with:
A specialist gifted education programme for a half day each week.
A high-quality, experienced teacher with a strong commitment to gifted education and to their own ongoing professional learning.
A safe, inclusive, welcoming learning atmosphere.
Regular communication with you and your child’s regular school teacher about how your child is doing and an ongoing invitation to talk with your child’s teacher about their progress and how we can better support you and them.
In some cases, circumstances outside of our control may limit our ability to provide these things (eg a drop in student numbers). In such circumstances, we will do our best to find a suitable solution and to keep you informed of the issue we’re dealing with and what steps we are taking.
Your commitment to us
As we work together to provide the best possible MindPlus experience for your child, we expect you will share any information or insights that will help us to support your child. You know your child best and sharing your wisdom benefits us all. We expect you to keep us up to date on any changes that might impact on how your child is doing at MindPlus.
We ask that you bring any issues you might be concerned about with your child or the MindPlus programme to us promptly so that we can work together constructively to address any issues.
Our expectations of your child
At MindPlus, we expect our students to aim high and to challenge themselves across many dimensions - intellectual, social and emotional - and our MindPlus teachers will support them in this.
We expect MindPlus students to be open-minded and curious, to take on new challenges, to reach out of their comfort zone, and to make connections with their like-minded peers, and again, our MindPlus teachers will support them in this.
We expect our students to use internet-enabled devices appropriately and safely, in keeping with our policies and procedures around device use. Our MindPlus teachers will make these expectations clear and visible and will work proactively with students around online safety.
We expect our students to contribute to the safe, inclusive and positive learning environment that MindPlus provides, by behaving appropriately in the online environment, respecting their MindPlus teacher and peers, and working together to have a great experience with us.
NZCGE is a non-profit organisation which operates on the basis of parent fees, Government funding and philanthropic donations. Our mission is to ensure that all gifted kids in New Zealand can access the specialist support they need to thrive. We support students whose families cannot afford to access this support through our Scholarship Fund and by developing a range of programmes at different price levels that families can access.
What are the fees for MindPlus OurSchool
Term Fee: MindPlus OurSchool costs families $720 per term (incl GST).
Application Fee: There is a one-off Application Fee of $30, payable when you accept your child’s Place Offer at MindPlus.
Annual Donation: We also ask parents for a $50 Annual Donation, whenever in the year you start. This donation is tax deductible and you can download your receipt from Hero, under Finance
How and when do I pay the fees?
Term Fee: Your termly invoice will be in Hero at least two weeks before the start of each term. You will get an email notification when the invoice is there. Payment must be made, or an automatic payment set up, before your child starts the term. Payment can be made directly from Hero or through electronic banking, and these details are included on the invoice.
Application Fee: This is payable through the link on the Place Offer Confirmation Form.
Annual Donation: We will provide an invoice for this at the start of each year, or when your child starts at MindPlus. You will get an email notification when this invoice is there. Payment can be made directly through Hero or through electronic banking, and these details are included on the invoice. You can download a receipt for tax purposes from Hero, or donate the rebate back to NZCGE using the link on the receipt.
These Financial Terms and Conditions apply to all children attending MindPlus programmes. If we need to vary these Terms and Conditions, we will notify you before the start of a new year so that you have the opportunity not to continue on the new terms.
Do I get a refund for absences?
NZCGE is a not-for-profit organisation, but we do need to be financially viable. So that we can meet our financial commitments, we cannot give a refund if your child is away from MindPlus, for whatever reason.
What if my child leaves during the year?
We understand that sometimes families want or need to leave MindPlus during the year for a variety of reasons. If MindPlus is not working out for your child and family, please have a chat with your child’s MindPlus teacher to work out how we might make things work better. If together you decide that your child will be leaving, you need to fill in our Leavers Form. Please note that advising your child’s MindPlus teacher or our office is not sufficient.
What happens about fees if my child leaves?
In order to fulfill our financial commitments, fees are non-refundable. Our terms and conditions for fees are:
If your child is leaving MindPlus within the first two weeks of a term, you only need to pay for those two weeks, provided the Leavers Form has been completed before the start of week three of term.
If your child leaves MindPlus after the first two weeks of term, fill in the Leavers Form. You will be liable for the fees for the full term.
If your child will be leaving MindPlus at the end of a term, fill in the Leavers Form before the end of that term, so that you are not charged for the term ahead.
When we receive your Leavers Form we will send you your final invoice.
If you feel there are exceptional circumstances, please contact our CEO on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
What if I can’t pay the fees?
We understand that sometimes families can experience financial difficulties in making payments. Please let us know as soon as possible if this is the case and we will work with you to establish a manageable payment plan to ensure any debt is paid.
If we are not able to agree on an acceptable payment plan with you, your child will not be able to continue at MindPlus until the debt is paid and we may need to refer the outstanding debt to a debt collection agency.
Where can I get help with fees?
We know that these fees are significant for many families. If this is the case for your whānau, we suggest that you work first with your school to support your child to attend. Some of our schools support families with up to a 20% subsidy. Some families may also be able to approach iwi, churches or local trusts to find support.
If external support is unavailable and you would not otherwise be able to afford for your child to attend MindPlus, we do have a Scholarship Fund which is available to assist a small number of students who meet its criteria. We are working hard to raise more funds for the Scholarship Fund from trusts and foundations and individual donors. We ask families who can afford it to consider “buy one, give one” - providing a scholarship for a child who would otherwise not be able to attend MindPlus to join the programme alongside your child. You can find out more here.
How do I apply for a scholarship?
If you have not been able to find support through your school and you meet our criteria, you can apply for a full scholarship to MindPlus Online from our Scholarship Fund. With a full scholarship, you will pay $100 per term.
We have a strategic focus on increasing the number of kids who are right now significantly under-represented in our programmes: girls, Māori and Pasifika students, and students from low decile schools. We also have a limited number of scholarships available for students with significant potential that may be unable to be fulfilled without specialist gifted education support.
To be eligible for our main scholarships, you and your child must meet at least one of the following criteria:
Your child identifies as a girl or gender diverse
Your child identifies as Māori and/ or Pasifika
Your child attends a school in a lower socio-economic area
To be eligible for our exceptional circumstances scholarships, you will need to show only that:
Your child has significant potential that will be unable to be fulfilled without the support of MindPlus OurSchool
You also need to show us that:
Without the scholarship, your family could not afford for your child to participate in MindPlus.
You’ll need to provide a statement that outlines your family’s financial position, and you are able to provide information, such as a family budget, to support your statement.
You have made an effort to find other sources of financial assistance for your child, including by working with your school. You’ll need to provide a statement that outlines the steps you have taken.
Scholarship Application Form
Once you have a Place Offer for your child to attend, you are able to apply for a scholarship by filling out the Scholarship Application here.
Given that you have already shared extensive information on your child in your Application Form, we try to keep the Scholarship Application as brief as possible.
Once we have received your Scholarship Application, we will assess whether:
You meet our criteria and;
We have a scholarship currently available that fits your child’s needs
We will let you know the outcome as soon as possible. If you have been awarded a full or part scholarship or are receiving a subsidy, these amounts will already have been deducted from your invoice in Hero.
We are constantly working to build the number of scholarships available in our Scholarship Fund. We may not immediately have funding available but may offer to put your child on a waiting list for a scholarship.
How long is a scholarship for?
If you are awarded a MindPlus Scholarship, this continues with your child for as long as they are at MindPlus. If your child leaves MindPlus but would like to return, you will need to re-apply for a Scholarship.
Do you still have a financial subsidies scheme?
We are no longer operating the subsidies scheme for new students. Existing students who were supported under the financial subsidies scheme in 2021 will continue to be supported on this basis for as long as they want to stay at MindPlus. If your child leaves MindPlus but would like to return, they will no longer have a subsidy and will need to apply for a Scholarship.