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Enrichment for Gifted Children

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My husband and I have always known that our sons were early talkers and very bright, however recently we have realized that they would be classified as "gifted" children. To name a few things: 2 year old can count to 20, 4 1/2 year old has extraordinary spatial awareness and can do basic addition and subtraction in his head.

Our question is, what now? We work to enrich them at home (reading/teaching with our 4 year old, taking them to museums, etc.) but what about school?

Do we get them officially tested and inquire about gifted programs in the public school? Is private school our only option? We are very concerned about them being bored in school.

Any advice you have on this particular topic would be appreciated.

A: Looks like you are already ahead of other parents in terms of awareness that your kids may be gifted - hence, looking for suitable enrichment activities for them at home. So, home enrichment is fine - looks like school may be a problem.

Unfortunately, schools in general usually have a “one size fits all” curriculum policy for everyone regardless of ability. However, some schools have options for advanced learners and a special curriculum for these children. Testing may be an option but perhaps for your younger son, it may be a little early. Testing is best done when the child is about 7 years of age for more stable results. Looks around your area for schools that cater for children of varying abilities and check what is required for your boys to be in an advanced program or one that is suited for their abilities.

There may be local schools in your area that caters for advanced learning. If they are no such schools in your vicinity, you may need to opt for private schools which have fewer students and more child centered learning. They are also more flexible in adapting teaching that is suitable for the child rather that using a rigid system. This may be an option. But do check public schools - they may have special programs for advanced learners as well; especially now that there is awareness in some schools of the ranging abilities of their students.

Here is a site that you may want to check for tips on nurturing gifted children by Bertie Kingore. All the best in your parenting journey!


Gifted Children

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