Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Gifted Education > Few Preschool Choices for Gifted
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Few Preschool Choices for Gifted

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Felice Kaufmann, Ph.D.

Q: My three-year-old has been ahead of the game for quite some time. We recently moved and I can't find an adequate Montessori school in our area. I have contacted a number of preschools; however, when they describe the curriculum for their three-year-olds, I cringe, because my son has been doing these things since he was one or two.

I liked the Montessori program because he could grow and learn at his own pace. Either way, he could use the social interaction of his age group and older. Do you have any advice? I want to make sure I am helping to grow his gifts -- whatever they may be -- and I know this is a critical age.

A: It's unfortunate that you can't find a school that matches the one your son previously attended, but the situation is not hopeless! For one thing, your son's giftedness is not going to go away. Giftedness is an extremely robust trait and can survive in all kinds of circumstances. This means that school is not the only place in which his abilities will grow and thrive. Also, with regard to your concerns about his age, you might want to know that the notion of "the critical first three years" is being challenged in some circles -- check out the controversial book by John Bruer called The Myth of the First Three Years. Brain development is critical throughout childhood, so you should not allow yourself to become too worried over the timing of this development.

You are clearly an observant mom, one who has a keen eye for what your son does and does not need, and what he can and cannot do. If you really believe that the available preschools will not match your son's abilities, see if you can organize other activities for him, especially if they involve older children. Gifted children often benefit from multi-age groups because they can get some of their intellectual needs met by older children and their social needs met by their age peers. By his activities and choices, your son will self-select children of similar abilities.

Perhaps you can post notices in a community center or in houses of worship in your neighborhood to invite families to join playgroups based on common interests. I have even seen such signs in our local grocery store! The kind of situation you describe is actually quite common. There might be more people like yourself in the community than you think.

You also might want to contact the local chapter of an organization for gifted and talented students to see if they have had similar requests. You can find information about these groups either by contacting the person in charge of gifted programs at your state department of education or The National Association for Gifted Children (nagc.org). Also, college and universities often have special programs for gifted children, including preschoolers. These frequently take place on weekends, after school, or in the summer. You might want to contact the education or child development departments of the university closest to you to see if such a program exists or whether you can help start one. Good luck!

More on: Expert Advice

Felice Kaufmann is an independent consultant in gifted child education. Kaufman has been a classroom teacher and counselor of gifted children, grades K-12, and a professor at Auburn University and the Universities of New Orleans and Kentucky, where she created teacher training programs in gifted child education. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and the Executive Board of the Association of the Gifted.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!