Educational Resources for Gifted Toddler
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son is about 2 years and 3 months. I started to teach him
Maths when he was 3 weeks old and reading about 8 months old. Now he has
done simple Arithmetic, fraction, decimal, geometric series, minus
numbers, algebra,Pascal's triangle, square numbers, square numbers and etc.
He is now way above second-grade reading skill.
He was in playschool (Montessori) for 3 months when he was
1.5 years old. He wasn't happy and finding it very boring because the
school tough him 10 words in 3 months, but he learned it in 2 lessons.
And now I'm very lost and I don't know what to do with him. With
so much of work and uncertainty, especially he is very young. Everyday he
reads not more than 10 books and work approximately 10 Maths questions. He is very
very playful (like to do naughty tricks), and sometime can make me very angry.
I need to plan for his next steps, but Malaysia resources is
limited. I have emailed to National Association for Gifted Children Malaysia
and is waiting for their reply. Could you advice me. Thank you for your attention.
A: Your son has amazing gifts
and you have worked very hard to ensure that his strength
does not go to waste. He is definitely above average and
need a lot of stimulation to keep growing to his fullest
I am familiar with the education system in Malaysia; and I
can understand your concerns. As in most Asian countries,
emphasis is placed on academia rather than exploring and
thinking. Montessori playschools would actually be a good
place for free play as there is very much less emphasis on
academia but it is possible that the centers may differ by
countries based on the needs of the country. Parents may be
more comfortable with academic value rather than free play,
so perhaps play schools may have to cater for those needs –
its demand and supply.
You may want to consider changing his school. In fact, any
play school should be alright for gifted children. Your son
is young and will best learn through play. At school,
children are also learning to be social. The very fact is
that the idea of playing together for children is actually
to play independently, but next to another child, which a
school environment can provide. You may want to talk to the
school to make some different arrangements for your child,
or allow him to be in a group with one level higher (Nursery
On the level of his happiness, what makes you think that he
is unhappy? Is it truly the learning or is it a teacher or
maybe he does not like to be out of his comfort zone (his
home)? You really need to find out. Sometimes, giving too
much attention to their needs may make parents over indulge.
They need to learn that they can't get their way all the
time – this is a skill quite a few gifted children fail to
learn and can become very demanding.
Another option - have you thought of home schooling him at
least up to kindergarten? It may be a good idea but this
requires a lot of time, energy, effort and sacrifices on
your side. It would be good if there are other children of
similar abilities that can grouped together. Then, maybe
twice or thrice a week, you can send him to a centre for
enrichment. Since he is very interested in book, introduce
him to the local library.
Having said that, make sure he has a balanced life. Let him
enjoy his childhood to the fullest. Allow him to explore on
his own sometimes – give him space and try not to over
indulge yourself in everything he does but monitor him all
the time. To be creative, he needs to be independent.
Observe his likes and dislikes in learning and try to cater
to his needs.
NAGC Malaysia is a good place to get hooked with other
parents of gifted children – some who have gone though a lot
of ups and downs bring up gifted children, so sharing
experiences may help. It would also be a good idea to
constantly look up the internet for the latest on gifted
education. There are many good articles on enrichment for
gifted children that you may use for your son. Having a
gifted child is a lot of hard work and takes up a lot of
energy of the carer, but perseverance will pay off!
Here's wishing you all the best in your parenting journey.