At The Goddard School, we hear this question a lot. All children are unique and develop different skills at different rates, and they all possess the natural ability to absorb information. Children develop the most rapidly in these precious early learning years. With the right environment and early learning experiences, young children are capable of much more than we realize, and what might be normal development can look like above-average intelligence.
One of the difficulties in determining whether a child is gifted is the broad definition of giftedness. Not everyone who uses the term is referring to the same set of qualities. Most public schools consider the gifted students to be those who perform in the top 1-2% of their class, and these students may be provided with a more challenging curriculum. At The Goddard School, we consider each individual child and focus on individualizing our lessons for that child.
You can continue enriching your child’s learning at home as well.
- Provide a variety of toys that are changed often to provide your child with cognitive stimulation and promote curiosity and exploration;
- Use materials you have around the house. Cardboard boxes for building and old clothes for dressing up and role playing can provide hours of entertainment;
- Make sure your children have access to books and vary the selection. Let your children choose a new book every night. As children get older, they can take turns reading to you;
- Provide opportunities for social interactions. Engaging with other family members and visiting friends increases cognitive stimulation and helps build language and social skills;
- Follow your child’s interests. Provide opportunities for your child to explore his or her interests;
- Get out and about. Trips to the zoo, different local parks, museums and, if possible, other states or countries will add variety to your child’s life;
- Make sure you turn electronics off, limit all screen time and get out and play games together.
If you still wonder if your child is gifted, we suggest contacting your state gifted association. They have many resources for parents, including contact information for assessment providers, tips for families, educational resources and more.