At what age do you know if a child is gifted or just learning faster than others right now?
This raises a lot of questions for me. Our five year old is very smart, the school is putting her in first grade reading and they just begun kindergarden reading. She would rather be with adults and older children vs other children her own age, but that doesn't mean she's gifted..... So I guess my question is, at what age do you know if you child is gifted or just learning faster than others right now? If she was to slow down and learn at the same pace as her classmates at what age would this show? Do the schools decide to have the child tested or do the parents?
What a great question! There is a great deal of variability state by state as to, when and how, schools approach the gifted and talented testing. Thus, your first step is to request/research the gifted education policy within your school district. You can touch base with your daughter's teacher or principal and/or check the district website for this information.
The district's gifted education policy will provide you with information about the age at which the district schools begin testing children for gifted status. The policy will also explain the ways in which children are assessed for the gifted program. Typically, children determined to be "gifted" have the intellectual capacity for high achievement in the traditional school environment, and with proper enrichment and support, there is no reason their pace of learning should slow. Thus, many of your questions will be answered with the results of assessment, but at the minimum, it sounds like you have a bright child on your hands. Thus, whether your daughter officially meets the criteria for "gifted status" or not, she certainly has great potential and it is worthwhile to consider strategies for providing enrichment in the home when available.
I have recently done a presentation on Gifted and Talented children for my class. Some early signs are children who self taught themselves to read as early from the age of 2, achieving milestones at an early age, using large vocabulary, lots of energy, grasp concepts quickly, just to name a few. Does the school have a Gifted and Talented program? If not, you may want to seek testing. If she is gifted, you DO NOT want her to slow down and learn at the same pace as her classmates because this will do nothing for her. Also, you mentioned she enjoys being around older people and that is another charteristic for gifted individuals because older people can relate to her and in turn other people can too.
In my experience as a reading specialist, I've noticed that children who learn to read early are often thought of as gifted.
You mentioned that your school has moved your daughter to first grade reading. Is she taking reading instruction in a first grade classroom or is she doing first grade reading in her kindergarten class? You might want to think carefully about this because if she's with first graders, most of them will be older than she is. You say that she likes to be with older people, but, at the same time, she needs lots of time to associate with her age peers to form friendships and social contacts. If she goes out of her kindergarten classroom for part of each day, make certain that this is a positive experience for her. Also, does it make sense to leave the kindergarten classroom for only part of each day? Would she be able to handle all of the requirements of a grade one classroom right now? Or, can her kindergarten classroom provide the reading enrichment she needs right now? These are issues for you to sort out with her school.
Getting an assessment of your daughter's thinking and problem solving abilities is crucial. Learning to read early is associated with overall language abilities but giftedness is more than being advanced with reading development. Only a full psychological assessment will be able to determine her giftedness. And giftedness is only a definition, that varies from place to place. It's a complex issue for you and for her school.
All kids are gifted, but in different ways. Aside from that, all kids can get a BIG head start on learning before they start school. It doesn't matter if the school thinks they are 'gifted or not'. But, advancing them a grade in school is not always in their best interest just because they, for instance, read well.
My kids all learned to read early with phonics. One started at 20 months, but he was exceptional. The others were plenty interested in my reading games by age 3.
I could not afford preschool for my kids. But I found some programs that helped me give them a head start before kindergarten.
I got my kids started early to read…before they ever entered kindergarten. I can’t overstate how much it helped their overall confidence level in all subjects. My boy started reading at age 3. As he entered first grade and they told me he was reading on the 5th grade level. Kids love reading when they can learn with no pressure.
They wanted to start my boy in 2nd or 3rd grade. I believe that my kid's social abilities, comfort, etc. is at least as important as his scholastic achievements. We kept him in 1st grade and I'm glad we did.