In 2010, College Den Hulster, Venlo, Netherlands, started a special bilingual stream for gifted and highly talented children from the age of 11 to 18. We call it The Da Vinci Class, after Leonardo Da Vinci, who was also highly gifted and versatile. The concept centres on the bilingual stream, which in this case is done in 26 instead of 32 lessons a week. The remaining hours are clustered on the Da Vinci Day, where students can take up extra study and follow other educational programmes. They also get a chance to exploit their talents in other fields than the cognitive like music, sports and art. Specially trained coaches make sure students keep up with the programme and preserve the right balance and quality in their activities.
In the bilingual stream students get 50% of their lessons in English, on average, for six years. This extra challenge brings them to the International Baccalaureate (IB) language A higher level, the highest international language qualification. Da Vinci Class students take part in all the extra-curricular activities like international exchanges, study trips to Hastings, Cambridge and Dublin, English theatre performances etcetera.
The Da Vinci Class
Coaches will guide about six students each to complement the standard guidance that students get from their teachers and mentor. Their task focuses on the following aspects: Personal attention: with weekly quality time to talk about anything concerning the student’s learning and well-being. Assessment: together with the coach, the students find out about their abilities, opportunities and limitations Control: the coach makes sure the student spends his time well and ensures balance in the activities. Structure and continuity: the coach helps and instructs his pupil on study strategies and the organization of his available time with the use of planners. The coach and student together make sure that motivation for and fun in the programme are restored, should this become a problem Parents: the coach has an open communication with the parents.
Da Vinci Day
On Da Vinci Day, which is filled with activities and classes that match the students’ individual needs and interests:
- The coach has the opportunity to talk to the student about every aspect concerning study, well-being, obstacles and opportunities.
- The student can study extra subjects, do remedial work, either individually or in groups. The almost 20 extra subjects include: film, science, history of art, glee club, yoga, Japanese, learning strategies, sports and geocaching. Supervised autonomous study, with help is the norm on this day.
- Some Da Vinci Days will be spent on joint projects which may involve field work, visits to a museum or activities the that indorse teambuilding and social interaction.
Example program Da Vinci Day
The Da Vinci Class programme suggests a fast lane career in the bilingual stream, which means that in the last three years extra study opportunities must be created in cooperation with universities, professional colleges, online studies and companies. The Da Vinci Class student remains a pupil of College Den Hulster for about six years and leaves the school with a VWO-diploma, the IB language A certificate and the Da Vinci Class Certificate.
Hagerhofweg 15, 5912 PN Venlo Post Box 60, 5900 AB Venlo Netherlands
T: 0031-(0)77-3590300 F: 0031-(0)77-3590399 W: www.denhulster.nl