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At Perth College, the Imaginarium program provides opportunities for gifted girls from any school in Western Australia to develop holistically through after-school and holiday programs. A unique aspect of Imaginarium is the Girl Guardians program, connecting high ability and high-performing gifted girls in Years 5 and 6 at Perth College with our alumni, known as the Old Girls.

In late July, our Head of Imaginarium, Bek Duyckers, attended the World Council of Gifted and Talented Children’s Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. More than 760 researchers, educators and stakeholders from 45 countries gathered for four days, with eight streams of parallel sessions and symposiums. Bek presented three sessions at the conference, with our Imaginarium and Girl Guardians programs and their impact on the holistic development of gifted girls in Western Australia shared on a world platform to an international audience.

“The positive feedback and intense interest following each presentation was overwhelming,” Bek said.

“We have a unique program here through the Imaginarium and Girl Guardians programs that link to best practice in gifted research, which is creating positive ripples in girls’ self-development.

“This response consolidated what we strongly believe in our philosophy and approach through the Imaginarium.”

What is Girl Guardians?

The program began in 2017, stemming from a gap in the research looking at the impact a mentoring program would have on gifted girls in upper primary school. Research in the field highlights a positive effect on students’ social, emotional and cognitive development when implemented with high school students. Bek wondered how we could implement this at Perth College with our strong sense of community, growing connections with our Old Girls.

The Girl Guardians program commenced with five Old Girls as mentors and 13 Year 6 gifted girls. It grew in 2018 to cater for 21 Years 5 and 6 gifted girls, with research conducted to identify a longer-term effect of mentoring relationships, with 10 Old Girls involved. This year, the program continues to flourish, the mentors’ frequently highlighting the positive impact the program has on their own self-development.

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What do our Students Think?

Reflecting on the impact of the mentoring program, Nadia (Year 6) said:

The mentoring program makes me feel good because the world seems infinite when you hear others’ experiences. Through completing the activities, we got to know each other’s creativity which deepened our connections.

Emily (Year 6) reflected:

The mentoring program encouraged me to flourish because I don’t have to be scared to express my opinion. It has helped me be better at working in groups and better at making new friendships.

Nadia (Year 6) concluded:

The mentoring program has helped me become able to talk to adults and to have conversations. I never knew adults were that interesting. I flourished over the conversations at dinner because I became more confident speaking to adults, and I started conversations.

Where Can I Find More Information?

To see more about our Imaginarium and Girl Guardians program, follow the Instagram page @imaginariumperthcollege or the Facebook page @imaginariumperthcollege.