Nurturing an Above Average Child
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Our daughter is 19 months old now. From the information I
gathered browsing the internet, I feel she is little ahead
of her age. Below is the list of skills she accomplished at
different stages. Since she is still 19 months, I guess it
is too early for any kind of formal assessment. Correct me
if I'm wrong. I'm looking for ways to develop her potential.
Can you please let me know what my options are?
Another thing I'm concerned about is, she doesn't speak or
understand much English since we do not speak English at
home. Can we have her enrolled into a Montessori school?
We would appreciate if you can take some time & help us out.
16 months Identify and say all upper case letters
Say words beginning with all these letters (A for Apple, B
for Ball ... till Z)
18 months Recognize and say numbers 1 10
19 months says 11 20 with some assistance
9 months identify and say her first 2 colors (blue &
green) as early as 9 months. 17 months identify and say
many colors (red, blue, green, pink, purple, yellow, orange,
white, black, brown, gray)
14 months identify and say her first 2 shapes (circle &
triangle) as early as 14 months. 18 months identify and
say many shapes (square, rectangle, triangle, circle, oval,
spiral, diamond, heart, crescent, flower, and hexagon) 19
months learnt cone' recently
12 months Identify many body parts and say some of them
(from head to toe including eye brow, eye lash, palm and
elbow) 15 months Say all the above body parts.
11 months understand instructions well as early as 11
months 14 months say and understand many words 16 months
Ability to form at least 23 word sentences
18 months Ability to form at least 56 word sentences
18 months Complete twinkle twinkle little star, and a
couple of multiline nonEnglish rhymes with little
assistance. 19 months Complete the above with no help
19 months Complete alphabet rhyme (ABCDEFG), row row row
your boat' with no help
12 months identify and say at least 10 animals/birds
18 months identify and say 25 animals/birds
18 months name at least 10 baby animals.
12 months recognize and make sounds of at least 5 animals.
19 months recognize and make sounds of at least 15
18 months Identify & say at least 8 fruits & 8 vegetables
interest in books. She makes me read the books all the time.
memorize and recall fact - It just takes 34 readings for
her to remember words/sentences from a book. when I read to
her again, she completes the sentences. Same is the case
with stories stack & nest a set of different-sized blocks in
the correct order.
love music - likes to play in-built rhymes in her piano.
solve wooden blocks' puzzle (shape sorter), 3-piece card
puzzle has her favorite colors, TV shows & stories
A: From your description, she
does appear to be ahead of her peers. As for formal
assessment, you are right about holding on a little until
she is older (about five to six years of age). However, as
parents, you are in the best position to determine if she
has advanced abilities so if you feel that she is above
average, she probably is and your description confirms it.
There are many ways to help her develop her potential and
keep her stimulated. It's good that she is interested in
books. This is a great way to develop her learning. Expose
her to a variety of books; make sure you gradually increase
the level of difficulty. Younger children tend to enjoy
colors, big bright pictures, pop ups, glitter and thicker
pages (as their fine motor skills are still not fully
developed). You can also expose her to educational VCD/DVDs
that portray her favorite characters. The internet a great
source of information as well an interesting way to learn.
Remember that as long as there are a variety of activities,
she would be stimulated.
She also enjoys music so expose her to more music. You can
even coordinate this with dancing for some physical
activity. Take note that at her age, she would need to be
physically active as well, which I am sure she is. Traveling
is a good way to expose her as well it's amazing how much
they remember about their travels! Occasionally, change her
environment; take her to the museum, market, beach,
Her English should not be a concern at this stage. Children
learn languages very fast if they are exposed to it. Watch
more programs where English is spoken, sing English songs
and perhaps read her stories in English, then translate it
when explaining. It's a great way to expose her to the
For now, you may want to send her to a playschool, not
necessarily a Montessori based one. Most reputed playschools
these days allow a lot of free play with guidance and this
is important for above average children. Creativity is also
unleashed. It would be good to enroll her at this stage as
the change would help her learn better and improve her
social skills. Even three days a week would be sufficient.
However, it is also important for parents to have a good
relationship with the school to enable them to monitor the
child's progress and take necessary steps to further enhance
Please read the previous newsletters for a variety of other
ways to help your child. At he same time, do not over whelm
her with too much learning. Allow her to grow at her pace
with some guidance from you. Here's wishing you all the