#1 - Socialization
Children who are unique in learning and socially emotionally need a peer group, so they don’t feel isolated. Every child needs others to relate to. Children like to play with others who share similar interests. Some children love sports and that gives them others to share interests. Your child may love chess, and he/she needs others who shares that interest. Early identification allows gifted children to find others to enjoy similar activities.
#2 - Effort level
Potentially gifted students as early as kindergarten may learn that they can put forth little effort and still be success at school.
Children need to feel that the work is challenging, and effort is needed to be successful. Every child needs a productive struggle. Gifted children will often put forth more effort if the task is challenging.
Differentiation is required as early as kindergarten. Some children come into kindergarten knowing no letters or sounds. Others come in with letters and sounds ready to learn to read. Your child may come into kindergarten already reading fluently and beyond ready to learn to read and instead to learn through reading.
In the area off math, differentiation is also needed. Some children come into kindergarten needing to learn to identify numerals and counting to 5 or 10. Others come in ready to join numbers counting on their fingers. Your child may understand adding and subtracting as sums and differences and ready to find complex patterns, solve contextual (word problems) and think logically through pattern blocks. Your child’s thinking like a mathematician makes him/her craze further math thinking and desire to learn multiplication and division concepts.
In written language, some kindergarten children have not learned to form letters to record their ideas. They are able to draw to share their ideas. Others are able to form letters and can write simple sentences with writing using the sounds they know to write words and sentences. Your child may have understood simple word construction faster than they were physically able to develop writing coordination. Your child may have a vivid imagination and benefits from sharing thoughts and feelings and create imaginative fantasy fiction stories.
#3 - Educational Planning
Early identification helps you become part of a team advocating for your gifted child. Instead of sharing frustrations for you and your child through parent conferences as you see your child struggling to get advanced learning needs met until 3rd grade or later, your child gets what he or she needs as early as possible in education.
You and teachers get to see your child grow and thrive in the school environment. You, as a parent, can offer to support the teacher in any way possible. Maybe you work full time and can’t volunteer, ask if you can cut laminated materials in the evening, or send needed materials your child’s teacher might have to purchase.
My sister saves paper towel rolls and toilet tissue tubes for me to use with my gifted students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) design challenges.
#4 - Focused Engagement
If your child is identified in kindergarten, he/she starts to have challenging materials to tackle on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean your child needs to be out of the classroom all day. When other children are practicing circling beginning sounds, your child has a folder with stimulating materials that are at just the right level to stimulate reading.
During math independent practice, when some children are counting to 5 and learning to write numerals, your child has a folder of activities that allow learning at the right level.
Your child can still participate in learning games where turn-taking is required. Your child can still participate in centers where learning is stimulated through fun learning activities.
#5 - Uneven Development
Early identification helps gifted students with their asynchronous (uneven) development.
Your child may be able to read and perform math tasks, but still may not have fine motor skills beyond a typically learning kindergarten student. Pencil/paper skills may be a challenge.
Your child has wild and crazy story ideas but getting them on paper can be a frustrating experience.
Their cutting with scissors may also be more like a typical learner. Your child still needs opportunities to cut and glue. I have worked with gifted kindergarten children who had to learn not to be “glue gobblers.”
Children learn social skills by being social. Just because your child is gifted doesn’t mean he/she has learned to follow and not always lead, listen to other’s ideas, use kind words, and be patient with others who learn differently than self. Kindergarten provides these opportunities.
Asynchronous development being uneven for your child requires balance. They need opportunities in the classes to gain needed skills and differentiated materials, as well as time to be pulled with other gifted learners to develop social and emotional and advanced academic skills with others who share similar learning passions.
Pause To Ponder!
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