Nurturing Gifted Toddler
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son now is 3 years old, he could speak 3 languages. When
he is 1 years 9 months, he could speak phonics perfectly. At
the age of 2 he could recite and write from A-Z. He is able
to count to 0-100 and also counting backward. When he is 2
years 4 months he could speak One to Ten and type using a
computer. Now he's using internet to search his ABC learning
tool without and help from adult. And he got excellent
memory by remember at which level of my relative and friends
are staying. When we had vacation in Hong Kong for 1 week.
He could tell you the color of the train station before
arriving without making a mistake. He is now reading those
little story book on his own. Presently my estimation is
that he could read at least 250 words in 3 languages and
spell 100 of them in English.
I not sure if he's a genius but I'm quite sure he's ahead of
I struggling in making decision if I should continue sending
my son to
Nursery. because I just discover that the curriculum of the
Nursery 2 seems too simple for my son. Now his peers are
trying to learn to identify numbers and shape. My son is now
able to do addition up to 20 and subtraction with 10. In
fact he is starting to learn simpler multiplication now. We
did not force him to learn those stuff, I just open his
creativity box and he learn most of the stuff by himself.
Sometime we also puzzle where he learn from.
The reason I sent him to school is to let him learn how to
communicate with people and his leadership skill. But I so
worry that the curriculum will kill his interest in
learning. But the biggest worry I have is that he will be
too proud of himself because he knows everything in class.
That is why I been teaching him to humble himself down and
to help others.
Please advise me if there are gifted child school of his
age. I do not want him to join his senior because I want him
to enjoy his childhood. Thank you!
A: Your son certainly
demonstrates exceptional abilities for his age. Yes, he is
an exceptional child and there is quite a bit to do to help
him develop his full potential. It appears that so far you
are on the right track in nurturing him, so carry on with
the good work.
It is good for him to be at school to mingle with other kids
which is also a form of learning (social skills). I am not
sure which country you are referring to; most have gifted
association which provide resources for parents of gifted
children. This is an avenue for you to speak to other
like-minded parents on good programs for your child. I can
understand your concerns on academic curriculum these days.
However, I find that at preschool level these days, the
curriculum is not very academic and there is a lot of free
play involved, which is crucial for development at this
If you are not able to find a school that caters to his
needs (this may happen once he is in primary school), there
is an option of homeschooling him. Try to look for other
parents where you live on homeschooling. This is indeed
becoming an option for parents of gifted individuals in a
number of developed countries. There are also various
websites that provide guide on homeschooling.
If this is not an option, there are a few things that can be
done to help nurture his potential. The best would be if
there is a pre-school for children of higher intellectual
abilities. If this is not available where you live, you may
want to look for a reputed pre-school and make sure you meet
with the principal to address your concerns. Explain his
abilities and your concerns so that they are aware. They may
be able to help with perhaps some extra or more challenging
work based on his pace and time for creative play. They may
charge you a little more for the extra work, but it may be
well worth it. Preschool teachers have a way with children,
so you son may be able to learn better and perhaps even
socialise with his peers. In this way, most of his needs can
be catered to.
Again, if this is not an option for him, as long as you keep
challenging him at home with learning activities that is fun
and exploratory by nature, it is fine. Make sure that you
maintain a friendly working relationship with his school.
Additionally, there are various enrichment programs that he
can join based on his interest areas after school which you
may want to consider to feed his intellectual needs.
I can understand the reason you may not want him to join his
seniors – grade skipping. For this, it is important that
your son has the advanced social skills as well and not only
in the cognitive area. It is also essential to consider his
fine and gross motor skills. This may not be the case for
younger children. You are right to want him to enjoy his
childhood and not be bogged down with academic stuff.
Childhood is for such a short period and it shapes a child
through his lifespan. While not holding him back, there has
to be a right balance for his development.
I hope you will be able to find a good school/teacher to
help with his learning. At the same time continue with what
you have been doing at home to enrich him as much as
possible. Happy parenting!