The topic of "gifted children" sure hit a cord with many of you. My email box is loaded with questions. I'll try to answer as many of your questions as possible here on my blog. Read through some of these questions, and feel free to leave one of your own for the future.
My child attends a Montessori school (3yrs old) and I know that she is gifted. They just started a primary school and asked that I keep her in the program instead of going to public school and I am wondering which do you think would help her. Socially she is doing great, but she is a little sensitive. I just want her to be in the best place to encourage her to learn. --Dana
Unfortunately there is no easy answer in how to choose the best school for a gifted child. Should you do private vs public? Gifted class vs self contained? Accelerate her grade level vs keep with same age peers?
Here are four key factors to watch for in a school choice for a younger gifted child:
1. Happy factor. Always the most important! Does your child come home excited about learning or at least content about being in that classroom?
2. Challenge factor. Gifted kids need a bit of a challenge. Does the program stretch her? Don't just think academics. Are there enrichment opportunities? Is there any flexibility or acceleration opportunities if needed?
3. Friend factor. Are the other kids helping her gain a sense of social competence so she can learn friendship making skills?
4 Teacher factor. The human factor is the teacher. Nothing is more important. Does the teacher understand your child and the needs of gifted kids?
At three years of age those are really your key concerns. IQ tests aren't valid for children younger than four or five. At this stage your prime goals for your child's education is making sure she feels emotionally safe and picks up a love for learning. So just tune into those factors and use your instincts.
Also, realize it's rare to find the perfect school or classroom for any child. You'll always have to make some compromises.
More Q&As about gifted children:
- Are we pushing too hard?
- Should she go to public or private school?
- Should I even bother labeling my child as gifted?
- Why are parents embarrassed of having smart kids?
- How can I boost my child's academic confidence?