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Preparing Your Child for a Full-Time Gifted Programme

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter who just turn 7 a day ago has done extremely well on report cards and placement tests throughout her school years. Just recently, she scored all 99's on her Terra Nova tests and will be moving from a private school to a full-time gifted school. I am a bit concerned since she has pretty much breezed through school thus far and don't want her to feel too much pressure as she may now be challenged more in this school. Any words of advice we could pass along to ease mine and possibly my daughter's feelings?

Also, could you recommend a free on-line IQ test for a child her age? Her current teacher suggested she be tested but really didn't give us any options as to how or where we would go to have this done.

A: Parents usually ask how to prepare a child for a gifted entrance exam, but your girl has already been selected in the programme. There is indeed no standard way to prepare any child for a gifted programme. In fact, that she is already selected for the programme indicates that she is more suited for the programme than the regular programme. It is also presumed that she would automatically fit in better as this is a better educational match.

She would be amongst a group of similarly able peers. The one thing that she may discover is that she may not be the top as she may have always been. She may find herself working much harder to achieve recognition as she did before. This may lead her to feel somewhat not as able as she used to be. For this, you may need to help her understand that her peers are just as able as she is and it is perfectly fine not to be in the top range. That may ease off undue pressure to perform. Tell her that the fact she is in the programme proves her ability and that the programme is for children who have abilities just as she has.

Some of her peers may have gone through tremendous pressure form their parents to be in the programme. These kids may then manifest in different ways. While most kids in the programme would be well placed as their needs are being catered, there may also be kids who may not fit well and can have disruptive behaviour. Explain to your child that she needs to talk her parents or teacher is there is anything bothering her in her new environment. A child needs to feel that she has somewhere to go to if s/he is unhappy. Also explain to her that she may find it a little hard to adjust in the beginning but it is perfectly fine to take her time to settle in. As parents, you may need to pay a little more attention in the beginning as she is quite young; at the same time, please do not be “over-protective” as the child may learn to be too dependent on you for everything.

Subject matter would certainly be harder than it has ever been but this is because the programme is designed to challenge the selected group. Explain to her that as she moves grade, the learning would be more challenging but also more interesting. Keep in constant touch with the teacher to monitor her progress, both academically and socially. I am sure with all these taken in mind; she would breeze through the system as she has previously.

Since she is already in the gifted programme, unless you want to know in detail about her strengths and weaknesses, there may not be a reason to test for now. I am afraid I am not in a position to endorse any online IQ tests but you can get her to attempt a few as a fun activity rather than to test for her IQ. Only a standardised intelligence test would give you reliable results. Good luck!


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