Advise for Dealing with a Potentially Gifted Child

Updated on December 12, 2005
M.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
5 answers

I have my 5 year old enrolled in a Montessori program where he is doing very well. Hhe - technically - did not qualify to enter Kindergarden this year as his birthday is in October and he, therefore, missed the deadline, but is already doing Kindergarden and 1st grade work. Yesterday, my child's teacher told me that she believes that he is gifted and should be tested as she views him to be a prime candidate to skip over kindergarden and move right to first grade. As proud as this makes me, I now find myself overwhelmed with the task at hand. Can anyone provide me with information on how best to go about determining where/when to get him tested? How best to go about finding a school/school system that can most effectively handle such a child, etc. ANY advise would be most welcome. Thank you.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I am sure the remarks have made you very proud, and am sure your child is very smart. I have been a school teacher for the past 12 years; 6 years in second grade and 6 as a reading specialist. I would strongly advise against pushing any child through the grades. Even if he/she has the intelligence, they will not have the same social skills as a six/seven year old. I also have been a witness to kids with learning problems and socialization problems both in the classroom and as a specialist. In the majority of the cases the child is a summer birthday or one of the youngest in the class. I tell all my friends as a teacher if your child is on a deadline -- wait one year. It is so much easier for a child to experience success if they are older and more experienced. You also want to consider your source of advice to push ahead -- how long have they taught; what is their expertise; what kind of degrees do they have? You can take this advice with a grain of salt, I don't actually know your child. But as a parent and educator I recommend not pushing them too hard. Best of luck to you, and I hope I did not offend you. (: C.



answers from Duluth on

Congrats! You must be so proud :-) I don't have any 1st hand experience for you... but shouldn't your teacher be the one to give you info on how and when to test your child? Wouldn't that testing be something they should do as part of his education? Also, since he is already Montessori, wouldn't a logical choice be to continue with him in grade-school Montessori? I know private school can be expensive, esp for a single parent...maybe they could give a scholarship/grant, or isn't there one public school Montessori in Mpls? I was doing net searches and thought I came across one. Good luck to you!



answers from Minneapolis on

I am a kindergarten teacher in Minneapolis. You have a tough decision. I think more importantly than your son's academic ability is his social maturity. If he is socially advanced as well as academically advanced I would consider having him go right to first grade if he were my son. If he isn't, I wouldn't even think of doing that to him. Kindergarten is full of unique social opportunities - first grade is MUCH different. Kindergartners spend much of their day cooperatively learning, playing (which is very important at 5), and learning to be part of a 'learning community'. I think you should go and observe a first grade classroom and a kindergarten classroom at a school that you may choose for him and decide based on that. Or, send him to kindergarten with other kids his age and then if he is ready, have him skip first grade instead. I have not yet met a kid who gets bored in kindergarten because he/she is advanced. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Check with the school district that you are in. My son was tested in school for gifted & talented as a 2nd grader. Even though your child is not in school they should be able to direct you the the necessary resources available. Look in the phone book under your school district's office. Good luck with your Child.



answers from Raleigh on

If your child was screened in Minneapolis public schools, you can ask them to do the placement. A friend of mine had this same thing happen this fall, but she just asked at the Kindergarten screening if her daughter (bday in October) could just start in 1st grade. It wasn't a problem. Otherwise, good school systems are St Louis Park, Hopkins, Edina, Mendota Heights. Good schools in Minneapolis are Kenwood, Marcy, Lake Harriet.

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