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Early Childhood Care and Education for Gifted Children

Gifted Children
Posted on April 15 2024 Categories:

Care and Education for Gifted Children: We firmly believe that all children are gifted and their gifts must be nurtured and developed.

Yet occasionally, an early childhood care and education provider will identify a child who seems particularly gifted in one or more areas. For parents, this is a source of joy but it can also indicate that special steps may be required to maximise the child’s potential.

Early Childhood Care and Education for Gifted Children

One of our core values is that all children are equal in their need for care, protection and development opportunities. We create an environment that helps them to develop their interests and learn while at the same time, of paramount importance, having fun!

As part of that, we’re experts at identifying a child’s natural talents. Of course, children develop at different rates. Some children might initially take to reading faster whereas others might seem to have an advantage in areas such as art or building games etc.

Quite often, these initial variations that become visible in preschool level out over time as children move into full schooling.

However, sometimes a child’s development in a certain area or areas is much faster than is predictable.

What does ‘gifted children’ mean?

Child development experts are always keen to stress that children must be seen as individuals and that statistical averages can be very misleading. Yet monitoring a child’s progress is critically important, so almost inevitably there are statistics that are used to create the developmental milestones most of us are familiar with.

For example, statistically, the average age at which children have mastered some basic reading skills is 6 years. For a child to reach that level at the age of 5 or 7 means little or nothing other than they have progressed a little faster or slower than the statistical average.

Sometimes though, a child’s development of reading skills may be considerably outside of those norms. For example, if they are only 3 and are reading at the level of a 6-year-old, then they may be described as being very gifted in reading skills. This can also apply in other areas such as numbers/arithmetic, speaking and vocabulary, sports and games, art and so on.

Causative factors

Why some children develop much faster and outside of the normal statistical average curves is unknown. It is presumed to be related to genetics.

Challenges

Almost all parents would like to think their child is unusually gifted, although that can bring with it some challenges for child and parents alike.
For example, paradoxically, the first time such children are sometimes identified is through what might appear to be ‘negative’ factors. The child concerned might appear to be:

  • disengaged from the class and their classmates;
  • distracted and refusing to participate in lessons;
  • short-tempered with and intolerant of other children – possibly also preferring the company of adults and older children rather than their age group.

Many of the above behavioural tendencies arise because such children are often bored by materials and exercises designed for typical children of their age.

An experienced early childhood care and education provider will usually identify unusually gifted children quickly and draw their perceptions to the attention of parents, assuming the parents are not already aware.

What can be done

In such cases, it’s normally advisable to seek specialist advice and guidance. Very gifted children typically need to be assessed and a specialist early learning program may need to be designed to cater for their unusual needs.

In general terms, this is delivered in a normal early learning centre environment where possible, to help develop the child’s socialisation and empathy skills with other children of their age group.

The prognosis for later life

The progression of unusually gifted children is very hard to predict.

In some cases, their early rapid development is continued through schooling and higher education. Such children and young adults are sometimes referred to as ‘prodigies’.

In other cases, after some years of very rapid development, the child starts to slow down and converge with the statistical norms at later ages – perhaps as they approach secondary schooling.

If you’d like to know more about our development programs, why not contact us to make an appointment for a visit? We’d love to meet you! Simply click here to book in your visit.