IS She Gifted?

Updated on November 12, 2010
S.P. asks from Minneapolis, MN
11 answers

Okay everyone keeps telling me my daughter is gifted and I need to find the "best school" for her! Well long story short we live in Mpls a good district and there is also a private school close by.

She is 4 and can read, add, subtract, colors, shapes, remembers everything, is starting to tell time, count by 2,5,10, count up to at least 500 and also math problems.

To me this is things every kid can do... am I wrong is she really gifted? I don't want her to be bored next year she has been waiting for ever to go to school and I just want it to go well. She loves to learn and is always doing something educational. We have fun with it what do I do and how do I talk to the school about this. When I look on-line they are going to be learning the letters, shapes, numbers to 100 and simple other things. Well she can already do this. I know many of you have been there and have a lot of great advice to share. thanks

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answers from Minneapolis on


My oldest (11 1/2yr old girl), was the same way. She was reading at 2 1/2. She didn't go to preschool and since her birthday is in October, she was almost 6ys old when she started Kindergarten. I too was worried she would be bored, but they told me that Kindergarten was also for socialization, which she also needed. She was always helping the other kid and still does and really enjoys it!

My daughter is now in 5th grade and is still doing great. Conferences are very boring, because there isn't anything to talk about or have her work on. She has been in the gifted and talented programs at her schools. They work on work 2-3 grades above what they do. I think things may change next year in Middle School, but we will see.

My son is 5 1/2yrs old and is totally different. I am afraid to send him to school, because I don't think he is ready for it....

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answers from Minneapolis on

I think so, but it is always good to see what the professionals have to say. Here are some good links that helped me determine that my toddler was gifted. Also, there is a group of parents of gifted children that gathered together (most are in the Twin Cities) to advocate for their youngsters. I know that there is a Minneapolis chapter, though most chapters intermingle. - Minnesota Council on Gifted and Talented - Educational Options (the resource section has tons of helpful articles)

Preschool Behaviors in Gifted Children

Ruf Estimates of Levels of Giftedness

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

HI! I lived in Minneapolis, too, when my son was evaluated (persuaded by preschool) to be highly gifted. We had him tested at 4, 6, and then when we moved to CA the school district tested again when he was 7. All results the same. BUT I'm so happy we had him tested... I had no idea what was coming my way... fun, but super challenging! We had full testing done (usual testing is about $300 plus extra for report results and consulting), but I just found out the gifted specialist (Dr. Deborah Ruf) started an online IQ finder and help beyond. It's not just the IQ, but which level because kids are so different. The website is
There are two great things: the fee is $60 (may go up to $100 after New Year) for parent to fill out form (like the background history I formally filled out for her during formal testing) and then you get general IQ brackets... it's not a huge investment to start BUT what I really like is that once you do that assessment, you become part of her circle where you get a free monthly newsletter which has so many things I would have never thought about... recommended reading links, current gifted article links, advice, topics like starting kids in school early or home school, things to do, places to plug in. For me, this has been invaluable as I'm finding it difficult to navigate the school years... there is always something new and there aren't many people around to really talk to about this. What I know is that I knew her for three years while I was in Minnesota and she is well known in the gifted community, an author of a great book (I think "5 Levels of Giftedness", and most importantly, really cares about the kid as a whole ... not just right now, but looking ahead what will have the best impact. Now that I'm in CA, I've done this $60 for my younger daughter (who is definitely different from my first) and it gives me so much perspective and help for her. Anyway, I just wanted to pass that on because I know how you feel, there's just not enough support out there! I hope to hear how things go for you!



answers from Minneapolis on

My suggestion to you is to enroll her in a Montessori program that allows kids such as your daughter to thrive. The reason they can thrive so much is because they are only limited my what they choose to be limited by, not by an adults preset notions of what a child can or can not do. If you choose to look at this route, look for schools that are AMI or AMS accredited. The AMS is a more christian base school if that is something you might also be considering. This time of year is when the schools are having their open house, so it is a really good time to see what they are all about.
Having a 3.5 year old girl myself - i would say your little one is gifted with the love of learning and it should be nurtured in a place that will let her thrive.



answers from Minneapolis on

My now 11 year old was the same way. He still is. I had the same feelings with entering him into kindergarten and wondered if he shouldn't skip into first grade. The thing is that the social aspect and learning how school routine works is the hardest part for incoming kindergarteners, and if they all ready can do alot of the material that the teacher is going to be teaching it is extremely helpful in adjusting to being in the school environment. Aaron got to help other kids in his classroom understand things he allready knew, and that really really helped his self esteem. He thinks he is brilliant! He is part of the Math Masters program at his school, and he loves to read and do math problems. We opted to keep him in the local public schools and I am very glad we did.
I don't know where in MPls you are, but my kids go to Loring Elementary off 45th in North Mpls. and will be going to NE Middle school. My husband is a Mpls school teacher at the high school level. If you need advice about which school in your area is best my husband knows alot of the staffs at different schools, especially TAP schools, and could help with that. I also want to comment on LD advice. It is not true that teachers spend all their time with kids who are behind. Both excellerated kids and kids who are behind have extra help. They are seperated from the main class during reading and math. The reading groups and math groups are broken up by levels and each taught at the level they are at. My son was being taught at a 6.9 grade level for Math and was reading at a 7th grade level at last conference with his teacher. Maybe not all public schools are perfect, but I have every confidence in the one I have chosen for my kids.



answers from Minneapolis on

I know St. Paul has a gifted magnet school but I am not familiar with Mpls. My son attends a school that does not have a gifted program but there are lot of very mathematical kids in his class so the teacher has split the class into groups and is teaching the regular curriculum to the kids that need that and doing place value and double digit addition with another group. But you will want to research the school you choose very carefully. If can afford private school or qualify for financial aid then I would seriously consider that. My son's public school tries to help kids at all levels but the truth is that we underfund our public schools and with No Child Left Behind most school's limited resources are going toward getting kids caught up while ignoring the kids that are ready to fly forward. The school's do their best but that isn't always enough for a given kid.

We can't afford a different option for our son right now but we provide a lot of additional experiences at home. For example, he is one of the only K kids doing a science project this year. It is fun to see how excited and invested in it he is.

K is a big social adjustment so you might not see the boredom come into play until later in the year or in 1st grade, but it is definitely a situation you will need to monitor.



answers from Minneapolis on

Dear S.,

How wonderful to have such a bright child. Most schools will have a "ready" assessment for kindergarten before she goes. I would check with your elementary school and find out when this is scheduled and see what type of "gifted/talented" progams are offered.

Having a bright child should not be something you are embarrassed about or perhaps seeming boastful. You are the best advocate for your child and you want to offer the best environment to help her contine with her desire to learn.

Start checking out the schools now (while still in session) so you can actually visit the classrooms to see more of the structure, activites, environment, etc.

Here in Bloomington we have a gifted/talented program and draw from a number of suburbs (Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Richfield, Savage, etc..). Ridgeview Elementary has a gift/talented specialist on staff, Barb (forgot last name) so I would recommend calling her and tap into her as a great resource for figuring out what might be the best educational program for your daughter to enter. (Ridgeview main line ###-###-####)

Good luck



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is in all day kindergarten this year at our public school, and her teacher is doing accelerated learning activities with about 4 kids in her class including her. She has spelling tests, word of the week, where she has to look up the definition and explain it to the class, doing interviews and writing a report. She has been very excited about doing theses "extra" projects. However, I think she has a REALLY good teacher who can accomodate all levels and help them all to succeed, which is not an easy job :) My suggestion would be tha if you can't afford private school to ask at her school for a teacher that can accomodate your daughter's level.


Mother to 4 beautiful daughters ages 8,6,4 1/2, and 2 months.



answers from Minneapolis on

She is clearly ahead of the curve at this point. My daughter was the same way, and I would just advise you to ask some questions before deciding. We have had a great experience in our public school in grades 1-3, but Kindergarten was a tough year. She was the only kid in her class at that academic level, which I think was the biggest problem because she really was working alone a lot of the time. We ended up open enrolling to a different school in our same district and everything has been great.

Ask if they "cluster" the more advanced students at this age. I really think this is the most important piece - that they have other kids in class learning at the same level and pace. Also make sure they have a Gifted and Talented program in place at the school.



answers from Minneapolis on

Look into Montessori schools, where they meet every child where she is, rather than where some curriculum says she should be.

My suggestion is Oak Hill Montessori in Shoreview. However, there is also a wonderful school (though generally with a long waiting list) in Minneapolis: Lake Country School.

My daughter has attended Montessori schools since she was 2, and it has been an incredible experience for both of us. (She's now 7 1/2)

In Montessori, it is expected that most children will read by the end of Kindergarten, and their elementary programs are set up for students to be independent readers. What's more, they are multi-age classrooms, so that each child has someone to look up to at one point in their career, but also has the opportunity to lead later in the cycle. Because of this, your daughter could be not only working at her own pace with her own peers, but she would also have older children that she could work with on more challenging academic tasks.

If you have any questions about Oak Hill specifically, or Montessori generally, I would be more than happy to answer them.
Otherwise, feel free to check out their website:
or call, ###-###-####

Also, I want to clarify the difference between AMS accreditation and AMI accreditation, since I know that was posted in another response to your request. AMI stands for Association Montessori Internationale. Schools that are AMI accredited have to meet international standards that hold schools to very strict guidelines in which Maria Montessori's original vision and materials are used. Any school that is AMI accredited will look very similar, though there may be some small differences, particularly in environment. AMS stands for American Montessori Society. The idea behind AMS is that Maria Montessori's ideas have been "adapted" to American life. I am much less familiar with AMS than I am with AMI. However, I can tell you that in my experience, AMS schools tend to vary widely. Some are really good, but many are not. Finally, note that there is no trademark on the name "Montessori" and any program can slap it on their name, even if they have nothing to do with Montessori. You should be sure that the school you choose, should you decide on a Montessori education, is accredited.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

S., I would set up an appointment - before the school year is over - with someone at your neighborhood school. A kindergarten teacher, if you can. You could bring your daughter in and ask what she thinks - you'd also find out what the schools accelerated programs are if you need them.

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