Challenging Education for the Gifted Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: My daughter is 7 years old and she is in the 1st grade. She is held
back a grade because of the cut-off date required in her school. In Pre-K, she
scored a 99 on her Terra Nova Test. Since then she has been doing excellent
I just moved and the new school hasn't shown much interest in her abilities.
What steps should I take in order to guide her to a more
challenging education? She finishes her homework in about 3 minutes. She
is almost done with the 5th Harry Potter book and she also reads Nancy Drew
books and does book reports. Besides these books, she reads many others.
Her teachers and principal from her old school told me that she belongs in
the Gifted and Talented Programs, but that doesn't start until 2nd grade.
A: From your description, your daughter has shown
signs of higher ability based on her chronological age. It is rather unfortunate
that she has to be held back when an advanced class would suit her best. In regular
schools, it is rather hard to keep track or give individual attention to any one
child mainly due to the student-teacher ratio.
You may want to speak to her teachers about your concerns and I'm sure you can
both work something out. It may not be possible to give individualized attention
but you can suggest that the teachers increase the level of difficulty in your
daughter's work. At home, you are already doing the right thing by providing her
the necessary reading materials. What you can do further is to provide her with
more reading materials of her choice with higher levels of difficulty each time,
take her to the local library often, allow her to watch some educational documentaries,
etc. (Discovery Channel is very good but you need to choose what may be suitable
for her). Having said that, she also needs time with people, so make sure she has
a good social circle to develop her social skills. Sometimes, parents can get very
enthusiastic of their children's cognitive ability and fail to help develop other
areas (affective, psychomotor) which may pose a problem in later years.
You can continue to do all these even when she is in the Gifted Program. Best wishes!