When you're searching for a preschool for your child, you want to make sure that you find a school that meets your child's needs. That can be difficult if your child is gifted. Gifted children often do not learn or experience the classroom in the same way that other children do, and may have special educational needs. Although many schools don't attempt to identify gifted children until several years into their school career, early identification can help you find the preschool program that really works for your child and gives them a good start on their educational path. Testing is the best way to be certain whether your child is gifted, but there are some traits you can be on the lookout for that will help you decide if you should be considering testing and looking for preschool programs that cater to gifted children.
In the early years, gifted children often display greater than average language skills. They may have unusually large vocabularies and speak in complex sentences using correct grammar while their peers are still using simple sentences. A gifted child may be capable of participating in an adult conversation and even picking up on nuances and double meanings that would fly over the heads of most children.
Another tell is if your child varies their speech depending on who they're speaking with. A gifted preschooler might use long words and complex sentences when speaking to you, then shift to using shorter words and simpler sentences when speaking to a playmate or sibling. Some gifted children are even reading by preschool age.
The stereotype of gifted children as quiet, studious bookworms is just that – a stereotype. In reality, the parents of gifted children often find that their child is far more intense than other children their age. That means that your child may throw epic temper tantrums when they're upset or frustrated – and they may get upset or frustrated easily. However, it also often means that they have boundless energy to learn and explore something they're interested in.
They may also be more sensitive and empathetic to the needs and feelings of others than other children their age. Your gifted child may be the one who is always trying to rescue stray animals or cheer someone up, even without being told to.
Memory and Observation
Gifted children often have excellent memories – if they see where you hide the cookies once, they'll always be able to find them again. And don't assume that they're not paying attention, either, because chances are that they're picking up on everything that's going on around them. Gifted children are often deeply curious, and they'll ask questions or investigate until they learn what they want to know.
Because of these skills, gifted children tend to learn quickly, and may be frustrated when they're held back, forced to repeat the same lessons, or made to slow down, which is one of the reasons that school may be frustrating for them if they aren't in a program tailored to allow them to move at a faster pace.
Any child may display some of these traits at different times, but parents of gifted children can expect to see more than just one or two of them, and to see them consistently over time. If you suspect your child may be gifted, finding a preschool program that uses early education teachers who are experienced with gifted children and that offers programs tailored for gifted children is one of the best things you can do to get your child's education off to the best possible start.