Most elementary schools offer a program geared especially toward “gifted and talented” students. These programs might have different names, but the overall criteria for these programs are virtually the same. Most parents do not realize that there is a big difference between a student being gifted and really intelligent.
If you think your child is gifted, here are some characteristics they might possess.
• Extremely curious
• Intense interests
• Excellent memory
• Long attention span
• Excellent reasoning skills
• Well-developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization and synthesis
• Quickly and easily sees relationships in ideas, objects or facts
• Fluent and flexible thinking
• Elaborate and original thinking
• Excellent problem solving skills
• Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
• Unusual and/or vivid imagination
Other academic measures are also used to validate placement in a gifted and talented program. Oftentimes, an IQ test of some sort is administered. If this is the case, please be vigilant and make sure that the IQ tests that are being administered are being given on an individual basis. This is a much more accurate assessment and should be one of the considerations upon entrance to the program.
If your child is exceeding in school and the schoolwork comes easily, he/she might just need to be challenged by his/her teacher with enrichment activities. Enrichment activities will use the same concepts and skills that all the students are learning and push it to the next level. These activities are not meant to be “busy work.” These activities should challenge an above average student, not keep them “busy” until the other students have finished their work.
Also, most gifted and talented programs are pull-out programs. This means that the students will be pulled out of their regular classrooms during instructional time. These students will be expected to complete work from both classrooms with little support from their classroom teachers. This translates into much of the missed work being completed at home. While this is handled well by some of the selected students, in my experience, oftentimes, students become frustrated with the “extra” work, and feelings of resentment can build.
If your child is recommended for a gifted and talented program, or you feel they would benefit from one, please take the time to review the components of the program and make sure it fits your child’s learning style and personality.