How to educate a gifted child
The term gifted child is often seen as describing a child who is seen as academically able. Their cognitive development will happen at a much faster rate than others, and this development will often be much quicker than their physical, emotional and social development.
If you are a parent of a child that is known as a gifted child, then not only are you likely to feel incredibly proud, but you are also going to wonder how you can make sure that their academic abilities are worked on, challenged and improved as much as they can be.
This may seem like it should be straightforward, but in actual honesty, having a gifted child isn’t always as easy as it may seem. So, to help you to be able to help them to achieve the best that they can, we have put together our guide on how to educate a gifted child.
How to tell if your child is gifted
Every single child is different, and the idea of a gifted child can vary from child to child. However, there are certain things that you, as a parent, or a school, can look out for as a sign that a child may be gifted.
- They may have been a toddler who was easily bored and frustrated at their early years setting
- They will have talked early and had a much broader vocabulary than their peers
- They will have a tendency to ask insightful and perceptive questions
- Their memory is of a high standard
- They are curious about the world around them
- They can concentrate for long periods on certain subjects that interest them
- They have a vast amount of general knowledge
- They will enjoy problem-solving
- Their imagination will be rich and varied
- They will be able to read from an early age
- They will be likely to have an odd sense of humour
- They will express strong opinions and feelings
- They may be seen as a perfectionist
Being seen to be a gifted child is so much more than simply having a high IQ or doing well on a set test. It can be shown by a portfolio of evidence, which together points to a child being gifted. This should be taken not only from their parents but also their teachers or early caregivers too.
The issues that can arise with a gifted child
It is always hoped that gifted children can be recognised from an early age and receive the help and encouragement they need to flourish and use their skills. Whilst this does happen, for the most part, there is always a chance that a gifted child will encounter some problems along the way.
One issue that can arise is that other children and other parents can find it hard to celebrate the merits and successes of a gifted child. This is because we, as people, live in a culture that can often find it hard to celebrate success. This can mean that if a gifted child is seen to be achieving more than others, this can cause resentment and may even be bullied.
Another issue that can arise is that a gifted child can find it harder to make friends than other children. They will not always be able to connect with those who are not academically the same as them, leaving them feeling isolated.
Schoolwork can be another problem. As gifted children are likely to finish their work quickly, they are most likely to get bored whilst they are waiting. More often than not, they will be advised to do more of the same. However, this can leave them switching off rather than focusing.
How can you effectively educate a gifted child?
So, the question is, how do you make sure that a gifted child is adequately educated to their level? This can be hard to do, and without the right encouragement, the talent that a gifted child has might be wasted.
The main thing to always consider when it comes to educating gifted children is that they need to have challenges in their learning. This is not only important at school, but also at home. They should be able to access learning within the classroom, with the support of their classmates, at home for weekends and during the school holidays.
Of course, it can be challenging for a gifted child to be taught in a class of mixed abilities within a school setting. However, a teacher should ensure that they have the enrichment that they need for their level. A gifted child may even be able to work with those in older classes or alone with staff members, should their ability allow them to. This can then be taken further in secondary school, although this will depend on the school’s resources.
Parents can do additional things to help their gifted children to succeed too. They can decide to work with them at home, planning activities that will challenge them. Of course, this may not always be easy for every parent to do, which means that they need to ask for help from a professional.
A tutor may be the ideal option as this allows the gifted child to work on their main ability areas, offer them challenges and keep their minds as active as possible.
If you have a gifted child, the main thing to remember is that you should feel proud of what they can achieve. Sure, there will be some bumps along the way, but this is true for any child and any parent. However, you will know they are destined for great things despite this, and with your help and support, they are much more likely to get there.