Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
These kids know how to have fun! They are hungry for learning and see new opportunities for math and reading everywhere they turn. Innovators through and through, they can use their imaginations to create something from nothing, even with found materials (a.k.a. treasures). Exceptionality begins to shine through in their passions as gifted learners. For these kids, the world is awash in newness and possibility!
How do I know my primary elementary school child is gifted?
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Adapted from Mary Frasier’s TAB (Traits, Aptitudes, & Behaviors) scale
Questions & Answers:
Primary Elementary Gifted Kids
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Primary elementary refers to kindergarten through second grade.
I absolutely love this stage and age! In my experience, kindergarten is the ideal time to test kids, as they are ready for some challenges in the school environment. That’s the best time to go ahead and get them started with some advancement, rather than waiting until third grade, which lots of schools prefer. By waiting that long, a lot of time unfortunately passes. This age group is incredibly sweet and generally kind to others, but they may already be realizing their differences already. They are potentially not making friends as easily as they would like. They are realizing that they may be a little more advanced than some of their peers. For example, in reading or math groups. Since the curriculum in their classes may not be challenging enough, they may be bored at school. This also leads to the realization that they don’t have to work too hard to get good grades. Obviously, this is a dangerous precedent to set so early, so it takes extra diligence to ensure they are facing the same level of struggle/challenge in their work. By doing this they learn that better effort will ultimately lead to better results.
Children seem pretty well adjusted at this time. They often are friendly with all children on the playground. They may consider they have lots of friends because all the children on the playground play together. They may not have a single friend or small circle of friends at that time. They may play soccer, and run and climb together. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t still need time with intellectual peers to play chess and interact in logic games and board games that require advanced math skills. They may also enjoy reading an advanced book and participate in a book chat or study. These activities will energize them. It give them a chance to actually be themselves because others “get them.”
We have a son with autism and a son who is highly gifted. Both are adults. Our special education son was self-contained except for specials, and that was what he needed and wanted. Our gifted son was in general education with pull-out and differentiation during primary years.This was still not enough challenge for him, and I supplemented at home, especially in the reading/writing areas, which were and are his passions. I had to help him find the right level or rigor in reading materials that were appropriate for his social/emotional level. I remember him reading War of the Worlds. I read along with him, so that we could talk about it. He later tested into a self-contained program for highly gifted learners where he was with gifted children all day. Although he was a capable math learner, he never enjoyed it. We helped in math to keep him focused and moving forward so he would have what he needed when entering a university.
We have a son with autism and a son who is highly gifted. Both are adults. Our special education son was self-contained except for specials, and that was what he needed and wanted. Our gifted son was in general education with pull-out and differentiation during primary years. This was still not enough challenge for him, and I supplemented at home, especially in the reading/writing areas, which were and are his passions. I had to help him find the right level or rigor in reading materials that were appropriate for his social/emotional level. I remember him reading War of the Worlds. I read along with him, so that we could talk about it. He later tested into a self-contained program for highly gifted learners where he was with gifted children all day. Although he was a capable math learner, he never enjoyed it. We helped in math to keep him focused and moving forward so he would have what he needed when entering a university. For more about my background, visit our “About” page.
We opened the K5 gifted site to offer support to families. I wish I had an on-line support system when I realized I was raising a child with autism and then when I realized we were raising a highly gifted child. What a blessing it would have been to have others to reach out to that understood our valleys and mountain experiences. I kept returning to the university as a student going from elementary education, special education, counseling, gifted education, educational diagnostics, and school administration. Those experiences may not be on your bucket list, so an on-line community might be a better fit for you and your already busy schedule. I learned to navigate the school system to advocate for both my children and get their unique needs met. We want to provide support for you and your children along your journey.
Continue to spend time with your child. Even though they can read to themselves, continue to read along to them and with them. Have them continue to read aloud to you. Build fluency, talk about vocabulary, and discuss the content. Consider readers’ theater, and get your whole family participating. What fun! Don’t forget about math. Your kindergarten child may be ready to learn to multiply and divide. It is not too early. If your child understands addition, and repeated addition, he/she can learn multiplication. Watch for the blogs about how to teach multiplication at this age. Don’t just have them memorize facts. Make sure your child understands math conceptually. Encourage division through separating things into fair shares. Just because most children learn multiplication in 3rd grade, there is not reason to make your child wait if ready. My kindergarten student wrote me a sweet thank you note this year thanking me for helping her become a mathematician.
If you have a state that served gifted children under special education, it won’t be a problem to get your child’s advanced academics exactly right. Your child will have an individual educational plan that specifies exactly what subjects your child will receive service, a specific goal in each subject, and when, when, and how your child will be served. Sadly, only a handful of states serves gifted children in this way. Most states have programs. They may serve in one academic area, in creativity, or leadership or a combination. If it is not enough, feel free to serve and supplement at home. I had a first grader last year that had the prerequisite skills to learn circumference and area of a circle. I taught it to him, at his request. This level of advancement is unusual but not impossible with the right opportunities. I had a kindergarten student that wanted to study the United States Presidents. I provided the materials and activities he needed to learn what he was most passionate. Many of my gifted students love STEM activity and competition. I make sure they get those opportunities. If your child is not getting what he/she needs, talk to your child’s teacher. Don’t go in with angry steam coming from your ears. Go in an be willing to listen and share your concerns and ideas. Be kind!
How You can help as a parent
Using simple pattern blocks your child can explore mathematical ideas, including: congruence, similarities, symmetry, perimeter, area, patterns, functions, ratios, and fractions!