Your Preschooler Might Be Gifted: A Special Guide for Parents (page 2)
Is your preschooler gifted? According to the American Association of Gifted Children, here's a list of some common signs to look for, as well as advice on how to help her reach her potential.
Does Your Preschooler:
- learn quickly and remember easily?
- seem mature for his or her age?
- use a large vocabulary and read and display an unusual interest in words or already reads independently?
- experiment to solve problems?
- prefer older playmates?
- seem sensitive?
- exhibit intellectual curiosity?
- show compassion for people or animals?
- enjoy puzzles, mazes, numbers?
- question authority?
- seem to get bored easily?
- have a high energy level?
- show talent in music, art, dance, or drama?
- display a sense of humor?
- collect and organize rocks, insects, and other things?
If some of these signs of giftedness describe your preschooler, then your child may be gifted!
What Is Giftedness?
Although we probably all have ideas about what a "gifted" child is like, sometimes we don't realize that even preschoolers can be very talented. It's easy to miss the characteristics of academic talent in young children, even as parents. Sometimes things that our preschoolers do that might signal talent are the very behaviors that can be the most challenging to parents. Look back at the list on the left side of this page. A child who is curious with a high energy level can frustrate busy parents with constant questions and "jumping around." If we can remind ourselves that this child might actually be showing signs of intellectual talent, it might be easier to keep on answering those questions, and to provide the kind of stimulation that might hold that child's interest. Parenting offers challenge after challenge, and sometimes we need ideas and resources, even for very intelligent preschoolers. This pagebrochure provides some examples of things you can do as a parent or caregiver, and places you can go for ideas. Even very young children love to learn about the way things work in the world around them. Involve them in your world!
How Can I Help?
- Read With Your Preschooler!
Reading with young children is a major factor in the child's later reading and academic performance. Read stories and talk about the pictures. Children know what they want to read at a very early age and often ask to have the same books read over and over. Television, toys, and computer programs help a child learn to read, but should not take the place of spending time with your child.
- Talk With Your Preschooler!
Tell stories with your child. Use past and future experiences to help him/her learn that telling stories is different from ordinary conversation. Learning to tell stories may help your child learn the forms and purpose of reading and writing.
- Write With Your Preschooler!
Involve your child in reading and writing notes and letters to family and friends. Make lists of household objects and label them. Help your child to think like a writer.
- Talk About The World!
Tell your child about the world as you go through it together. Look at maps or a globe before a trip, or when you talk about an out-of-town relative or friend. Explain why leaves change color as you are raking together. Talk about steam as you blow a frosty breath or look at the cloud above a pot of boiling water.
Where Can I Go For Help?
Every community has resources for parents of preschoolers; sometimes you just have to know where to look. Museums, zoos, and aquariums often offer special education programs for young children. Some communities offer groups especially for gifted preschoolers. Or try some of these ideas:
- Look for free local newspapers and other parenting magazines which are full of ideas for talented children and their parents.
- Check community bulletin boards and newspapers for children's classes and programs offered by cultural groups and arts councils.
- Look in bookstores or ask children's librarians for reading lists for children.
- Check out the toy stores.You can find a variety of puzzles, games, and equipment (like magnifying glasses) that work well with gifted preschoolers.
- Ask your pediatrician, family doctor or other health professionals about early identification of talent, advice and support, and continuing care.
- Check with daycare providers, preschool teachers, and local agencies that focus on young children for information.
- Look for parenting classes that are offered through school districts, hospitals, or community organizations.
- Ask elementary school teachers about projects or games that talented younger children love.
- Check with school counselors and psychologists who can help in the formal identification of academic talent and offer other useful advice.
- Take your preschooler on field trips that provide exposure to the arts, sciences, and natural history.
- Collect art work, writings, and other projects that show off your childs talent. These can be useful for teachers or others who want to understand your preschooler's abilities.
- Contact PAGE, Parents for the Advancement of Gifted Education.
What Should I Know About Preschool Programs?
- Is the teacher experienced in working with gifted children?
- Is the teacher open to the idea that some children might need extra stimulation to keep them interested?
- Does the program have activities that promote social interaction, problem solving, and creative thinking?
- Are resources available that would challenge your child's special interests or talents?
- Is the facility bright and inviting for your preschooler?
Reprinted with the permission of the American Association for Gifted Children. © 1999 AAGC
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