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Can Kindergarten Be Too Easy? (page 2)

Can Kindergarten Be Too Easy?

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Updated on Sep 23, 2008

Not all kindergartens are alike, and both Webb and Ruf agree that there are some key indicators of a good environment, not only for gifted children, but all children. In the best kindergarten classrooms, children are allowed and encouraged to learn at their own pace. Teachers often refer to this as "differentiated learning", or "differentiated instruction". What it means is that teachers respond to each individual student’s needs and strengths, whether they’re gifted, dyslexic, or have other special requirements. Instruction is tailored so that students are never expected to fit like square pegs into a round-hole curriculum. Instead, if a teacher has a bunch of square pegs and a bunch of round pegs, she teaches to each type’s needs.

Ruf and Webb also point to flexible staff, multi-age classrooms, and schools that foster the building of social and emotional relationships (in addition to intellectual growth), as being particularly good for gifted children. As you evaluate your child’s kindergarten, be sure to pay attention to your gut, too. If you see kids eager to be in school, excited about learning, and happy with their peers, it’s an indication of a rich learning environment. 

Still anxious to test despite the caveats? You can always foot the bill yourself. It can be quite expensive, but Dr. Webb ask his clients to, “Consider how much it costs to have a child's teeth straightened by an orthodontist, and then to consider which is more important - straight teeth or good educational opportunities.”

Whether you’re bent on knowing just where your child sits on the gifted scale, or willing to wait until first grade assessments kick in, don’t forget to celebrate the sweet joys of kindergarten. It goes by fast, so there’s no need to rush into any thing too ‘academic’. At least not this year.

For more information about gifted children, see our Gifted Information Portal.

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