How do I know if my young child is gifted? What are the signs of a gifted child? We often hear these questions at SIG, particularly for students ages 5-8. It’s a logical question, especially if you have an only child, or a family of very bright children where no one stands out as being different, or if you have not had occasion to be around large groups of children in which differences would be obvious, or if your child has not yet been tested in school.
What Are the Characteristics of a Young Gifted Child?
Parents are actually very good judges of the abilities of their children as they are around them so much and see them in all kinds of situations that would require thinking, knowledge, and problem solving. All young children demonstrate characteristics of inquisitiveness and creativity as these are among the methods they use to discover their world. We also know that as children move through traditional school experiences, their measurable creativity decreases, due likely to the increasing structure of school as they progress through the grades. Capitalizing on the natural curiosity of young children as well as the need to ensure that they maintain their excitement for learning are two of the reasons that we at SIG provide programs for children as young as 5 and 6 years of age.
It’s important to us that we engage children at a young age in learning that is exciting to them, that we expose them to topics they are interested in and need to know about, and that we identify skills and abilities they possess that can be developed for future success. Let’s look at a few of the characteristics that young children of high ability (ages 5-8) manifest and then sample some of our courses that help us direct their learning. This is only a sample list, and, remember, all children are different so some gifted/ talented/creative children may demonstrate all or most of these characteristics and some may demonstrate far fewer characteristics.
6 Common Characteristics of Young Gifted Children
Highly capable young children ages 5-8 often show advanced abilities in:
- Language development: These characteristics include abilities in the areas of advanced vocabulary, using full sentences and rich language, and having an early interest in books and reading.
- Inquisitiveness: These children will be highly observant, ask probing questions, and suggest explanations for things they observe.
- Complex thinking abilities: Some children will demonstrate logical thinking, an understanding of abstract concepts, and an ability to sense discrepancies in things around them.
- Advanced thinking abilities: These children will have a long attention span, solve problems creatively or differently, have great retention, quick mastery, and memory of information, and can focus on tasks in the presence of distractions. And, my personal favorite, they may demonstrate an advanced sense of humor.
- Asynchronicity: These children may be bored with agemates, may seek to play with older children or engage comfortably with adults, be interested in advanced ideas and topics, and demonstrate leadership skills normally found in older students.
- Intensities: Gifted young children may become frustrated easily and be highly critical of their own work, may have strong feelings of justice and right and wrong, and be highly competitive.
SIG Courses for Young Gifted Children
Obviously, advanced skills and abilities show up in a wide range of areas. Therefore, at SIG, we offer these young children courses that are broad in concept, advanced in information, and open-ended for flexibility, according to their readiness and interests.
Earlier this month, we took a closer look at the B level course Magical Science. A couple of other new 5-6 year old courses include Pop into Balloon Science and Factory Fun.
Balloon Science capitalizes on young children’s love of science as well as their delight with playing around with materials and experiments. While students are learning about the forces of air pressure, electricity, gases and much more, they also are having fun with rocket balloon races, light bulb balloons, and buoyancy experiments. After learning new information, they will use their creativity to determine how they might apply what they are learning to other areas, such as medicine, meteorology, and engineering, to name just a few.
The course Factory Fun capitalizes on young children’s creative and inventive natures as well as their fascination with how things are made. After learning about modern manufacturing practices, they will have the opportunity to engineer a production process for a product of their choice. Along the way they will participate in such activities as making a pull toy, simulating a factory assembly line, and assembling a grab arm product.
Explore Your Summer. Expand Your Mind.
In all our 5-6 year old and 7-8 year old classes, there is great flexibility in content and products as children of this age enter our programs with wide-ranging experiences and abilities. By capturing their natural curiosity and information absorption abilities, we are helping to ensure that they stay stimulated, engaged, and excited about the promises that lie ahead on their journeys of lifelong learning. We look forward to continuing to share those journeys with them.