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Educational Resources for Gifted Toddler

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son is about 2 years and 3 months. I started to teach him Maths when he was 3 weeks old and reading about 8 months old. Now he has done simple Arithmetic, fraction, decimal, geometric series, minus numbers, algebra,Pascal's triangle, square numbers, square numbers and etc. He is now way above second-grade reading skill.

He was in playschool (Montessori) for 3 months when he was 1.5 years old. He wasn't happy and finding it very boring because the school tough him 10 words in 3 months, but he learned it in 2 lessons.

And now I'm very lost and I don't know what to do with him. With so much of work and uncertainty, especially he is very young. Everyday he reads not more than 10 books and work approximately 10 Maths questions. He is very very playful (like to do naughty tricks), and sometime can make me very angry.

I need to plan for his next steps, but Malaysia resources is limited. I have emailed to National Association for Gifted Children Malaysia and is waiting for their reply. Could you advice me. Thank you for your attention.

A: Your son has amazing gifts and you have worked very hard to ensure that his strength does not go to waste. He is definitely above average and need a lot of stimulation to keep growing to his fullest potential.

I am familiar with the education system in Malaysia; and I can understand your concerns. As in most Asian countries, emphasis is placed on academia rather than exploring and thinking. Montessori playschools would actually be a good place for free play as there is very much less emphasis on academia but it is possible that the centers may differ by countries based on the needs of the country. Parents may be more comfortable with academic value rather than free play, so perhaps play schools may have to cater for those needs its demand and supply.

You may want to consider changing his school. In fact, any play school should be alright for gifted children. Your son is young and will best learn through play. At school, children are also learning to be social. The very fact is that the idea of playing together for children is actually to play independently, but next to another child, which a school environment can provide. You may want to talk to the school to make some different arrangements for your child, or allow him to be in a group with one level higher (Nursery 1, perhaps?)

On the level of his happiness, what makes you think that he is unhappy? Is it truly the learning or is it a teacher or maybe he does not like to be out of his comfort zone (his home)? You really need to find out. Sometimes, giving too much attention to their needs may make parents over indulge. They need to learn that they can't get their way all the time this is a skill quite a few gifted children fail to learn and can become very demanding.

Another option - have you thought of home schooling him at least up to kindergarten? It may be a good idea but this requires a lot of time, energy, effort and sacrifices on your side. It would be good if there are other children of similar abilities that can grouped together. Then, maybe twice or thrice a week, you can send him to a centre for enrichment. Since he is very interested in book, introduce him to the local library.

Having said that, make sure he has a balanced life. Let him enjoy his childhood to the fullest. Allow him to explore on his own sometimes give him space and try not to over indulge yourself in everything he does but monitor him all the time. To be creative, he needs to be independent. Observe his likes and dislikes in learning and try to cater to his needs.

NAGC Malaysia is a good place to get hooked with other parents of gifted children some who have gone though a lot of ups and downs bring up gifted children, so sharing experiences may help. It would also be a good idea to constantly look up the internet for the latest on gifted education. There are many good articles on enrichment for gifted children that you may use for your son. Having a gifted child is a lot of hard work and takes up a lot of energy of the carer, but perseverance will pay off!

Here's wishing you all the best in your parenting journey.


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