Age & Stage of Development


3rd-5th Grade

Ages 8 to 11
Now is the time for your child’s personality to truly blossom. They may be craving more independence, but make no mistake, they still need their family as much as ever. This is a time of heightened emotional intensity, which can lead to hurt feelings. Increasingly they become aware of their differences, as they are advancing rapidly. Enjoy this time because middle school is coming… and that can be especially tumultuous for gifted children.
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Is my intermediate school child gifted?

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Able to think abstractly


Skillful at problem-solving, math reasoning, and applying concepts via real-world experiences


Voracious reader, especially enjoying informational texts and fantasy. May want to abandon learning for reading and writing fantasy


An ever-increasing vocabulary


As critical thinking increases so too does self-criticism and being critical of others


Goal-directed behavior; may not enjoy all aspects of general education curriculum since it may not feel individualized enough


Independence in work and study; may have long attention span and lose sleep when focused and motivated to work on areas of interest


Diversity of interests and abilities; may get over-scheduled because of many varied interests and abilities


Creativeness and inventiveness; may manifest in math problem solving, STEM activities, art, or writing.


Keen sense of humor; can be sarcastic at times


Intuitiveness when dealing with others and understanding their problems


Self-acceptance and unconcern for social norms; becomes more evident especially 5th grade as they are approaching middle school; may become more aware of what it means to be gifted


Independence in attitude and social behavior; may come across as a loner; behaviors may seem odd at times to typical learning peers; may prefer working on projects alone instead of with a group


High expectations for self and others, often leading to feelings of frustration; perfectionistic


Feelings of being different, but; wants to fit in; doesn't want to be called a "nerd" or a "geek."


Constantly questioning; may have amazing computer skills to find answers and deeper understanding; needs assistance with internet safety during this time period

Source: Adapted from “Traits” by Dr. Barbara Clark.

Questions & Answers:
Intermediate Gifted Kids

Click on each question below to find out more!

Intermediate elementary refers to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.

They are an especially fun group with keen sense of humor and a true identity. You see their quirkiness and enthusiasm for life. They learn to advocate for themselves during this time period to get what they need in the classroom. You see academic skills take off during this time. They are ready for more abstract math and may find an interest in geometry reasoning or algebraic thinking. Some children who are always preferred non-fiction, find a new interest in fiction, especially fantasy. They are avid readers. Getting their heads out of books can be challenging. Their computer skills become more adept. 
Unfortunately, 4th grade girls can be especially cliquish at this age, excluding others. “Mean girls” sometimes surface. Social media doesn’t help. It is important for parents to advocate and support children but not get caught up and encourage the drama. “Save the drama for your llama, not your mama.”  Encourage your children to treat others the way they would want to be treated and remove themselves from mean-spirited social situations. This is the time your child can learn that he/she doesn’t have to be best friends with everyone, just be kind. 
During this period, your child needs to find other gifted kids who share similar interests. One good friend is much better than a boat-load of not so nice kids to hang out.
I hope your child, if gifted, has been identified prior to 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, but if not, it is not too later. Ask your child’s school if routine screening has occurred. If not, ask what the process is. If your child has been screened or tested and you disagree, you can always seek private testing with a psychologist. In an IEP gifted state, the school testing is comprehensive, and you will receive specific information about your child’s cognitive ability (IQ), achievement (skills in math, reading, writing, and maybe science, and social studies). Your child will also be considered in the area of creativity and possibly other areas. You will also receive written, detailed information in a report about areas that your child needs to strengthen. 
Some of the cognitive tests used for comprehensive testing are the Wecshler Intelligence Scale for Children. It has been renormed several times to keep it up-to-date. It gives you a verbal and non-verbal score as well as a full-scale score. You can find out how your child processes information with and without language. The scores compare to other children the same age, nationally. Another test used is Stanford Binet. It also is a well-respected test and can only be administrated by a psychology. You cannot prepare a child for an IQ test. Just remind them to do their best, and their best is always good enough. There are other IQ tests used depending on the age of the child. Other considerations may include: does your child have a suspected other disability or is your child and English Second Language child. You don’t request the test. The professional will listen to information from you, and then decide what test is best to administer. 
The advantages of having private testing is that the information is yours to keep because you pay for it. You can choose to share the information with the school, or not. It is yours. The psychologist will usually meet with your to go over the report and make recommendations for home and school. 

During this time period, you may see more intensity of feelings. Intensity if a characteristic of giftedness that can be a good or bad thing. Disappointments and frustrations may hit your child harder. Anxiety may rear its ugly head causing your child’s stress feel more like distress. Your child may want to be more independent at this time. He/she may become more aware of differences, especially academically. Some of the attitudes and feelings typically developing kids experience in middle school, may be see in gifted children during this time period. Puberty is happening earlier than every before. Hormonal fluctuations mess with them physically and emotionally. They may start to ask questions about being gifted and what it means. They may not like feeling different. This is an important time for them to find intellectual peers. 

Make sure you are present for your child as often as possible. They will have questions. They will get answers from friends and through social media. Talking to you, even if you are uncomfortable with some of the topics, will be a better source of information. Keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes your child may just want to you listen and solve problems. Other times, your child may need you to problem solve with them. Their bodies are changing rapidly. They need to know what is happening to their bodies and the bodies of others who may be developing earlier or later. This is the time to talk about appropriate bathing habits with soap and deodorant. This is also the time to share about your family values. Healthy eating habits and exercise are also important. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can make your child not function well. 
If they are not getting their academic needs met at school, look for opportunities outside school. They need time to interact with intellectual peers. Mensa is an organization that my be available in your area for children or adults. They have specific testing criteria to participate.  The interact socially and work puzzles and do logic activities. You can find the information online. 

As a K5 Gifted community, we want to offer support to you. You may or may not have found other parents whom you can relate and share concerns and victories, joys, and frustrations. This community is a safe place for you. You may need materials and activities for your child, without a hit and miss system online or in stores. You may feel like your child is getting great general education curricula in the school system but is not getting the challenge needed in logic or advanced math, or reasoning skills through pattern blocks. Maybe, you as a parent need a better understanding of the way may is being taught in schools so you can help at home. Your child needs a very strong foundation in fractions. Success in fractions is a major indicator in the success in high school algebra, that your child will probably take in middle school. Once conceptual understanding of basis skills is missed, there is not a time that classes go back and reteach those skills. Don’t let your child have gaps in their learning because they crave advancement. 

As a parent, you can be there for them. You can’t and shouldn’t be your child’s best friend. You are going to always be the parent. Be available as your child experiences those intense feelings. You may hear about social issues and conflicts with friends. Be an advocate in the school system, but instead of handling problems for your child, teach your change to handle conflict. If you see that big problems are occurring that your child can’t handle, seek help from the classroom teacher, school counselor, or principal. Be a team member and let the school know that you want to support them as they support the learning and social emotional needs of your gifted child. 

How You can help as a parent

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