Ksenija R. Benaković, RITHA specialist in gifted education, vice president NGO “Wind at the back”, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are NGO „Wind at the back“. We became European Talent Point in 2016. We are organizing workshops for gifted children from the age of 4 to 14. This year in our program, called Iskrice, there are almost 200 gifted children involved. They used to attend workshops once a week. Our aim is to give support to the whole personality of the gifted child, working on its cognitive and social-emotional development, creativity, tenacity and resilience. Of course, when the “Corona era” had started in Croatia and our schools and kindergartens closed, we also stopped our live workshops. But, our staff studied how to continue with our work. So, we offered to our little clients online workshops. Mostly we used Zoom application, then Edmodo and Discord. It was great news that almost 90% of the participants of our program accepted online workshops. We still meet once a week online. For the smaller children we offer scientific experiments for kids, working sheets with verbal, spacial and mathematic riddles, association games and creative activities. Children were inventing machines that could save us from Corona virus and earthquake (in Zagreb there was recently an earthquake, too).
With older children we do quizzes (sometimes over Kahoot platform or Zoom), logical and lateral puzzles, debates (about actual situation or some other interesting topics). We are developing critical thinking (learning about difference between myths, legends, facts and personal opinions) and creative problem solving. We even organized escape room online. Two of our groups worked together with gifted children in Israel and organized two meetings over Zoom application. We were all involved in the international project “The view of the fool moon from my window”. Of course, we are also offering psychological support for the children, talking about their fears, worries and problems. Now we are exploring how to offer webinars for parents and teachers. Before Corona, we started live seminars for 30 participants in Zagreb and Pula, so we would like to continue with it. This unfortunate situation made us learn many new things, act creatively and put our minds together to overcome it. The knowledge that we are gathering now will help us in future to offer our services to gifted children, their parents and teachers from some smaller, inaccessible places of Croatia.