Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Gifted children

We have thought for a while our lovely little Jessica is a gifted child. She has spoken well from a very young age, speaking in full sentences since she was 18 months old and singing nursery rhymes from an even earlier age. Last term we attended Jessica's prep interview.  We have been tossing up the idea of early entry to year 1 for a while now but the cost of the tests and the process seemed a little too much for us considering it isn't up to the school to approve the early entry but the district director who will never actually meet her. I took a school library book of Hollie's the interview and Jessica read it while we waited. Hollie, year 1, borrows from the year 3 section of the library at her teacher's request. The deputy principal doing the interview wasn't so impressed with a nearly 5 year old reading at an 8 year old level as it is quite common for girls especially to read early but she was impressed when we showed her Jessica's writing and spelling. She sat up and was visibly shocked by what she saw. Couple her literacy level with her numeracy levels there is no way she will cope with prep. She will be bored out of her brains. The deputy was the one who suggested we do an early entry. We didn't have to say anything. I didn't want to be one of those parents marching in there and telling the school how amazing my kid was.

This is Jessica's story about going to the football in May. At the time she was 3& 1/2 months shy of 5. I had to help her spell Giants and fence. She did the rest herself. She even remembers the colours of the seats we sat in.

I know almost every parent thinks their kid is very bright or skilled with a particular thing. I have many friends who insist their kids are very bright, above average, gifted even. When I look at Jessica who was reading Hollie's prep readers when she was 3 and reading them with the top readers in prep I know Jessica is gifted. This was confirmed last week when the school's Guidance Officer did an intelligence test on Jessica to support our application to early entry to year 1. Jessica was tested and came out as having "Superior intelligence" as her results were in the 95 percentile which means only 5% of children her age are smarter than her. 

Then I think about Hannah who is 3.5 years old and created her own perfectly stamped and punched birthday card for her cousin and wrote the entire card by herself and I wonder about Hannah too. Hannah's card to Gemma read, "To Gemma love and hugs Hannah" which she needed help spelling "love" and "hugs" but was able to work out the letters when I sounded them out except the e on love. She was most proud that she could now write a G all by herself. I have not taught her to write. I have written a lot with her, labelling pictures, writing on the fridge, just general mum stuff. We have read a lot and she picks up words all the time. Tonight we had a book that had "we" on every page and by the end she knew which word was we. I'll see if she remembers it tomorrow. She is so curious about writing and reading and spelling at the moment that we just explore together. I don't teach her. I don't think I do anything special with them. I give them my time. We share and have fun together (most of the time, I'm not a perfect Mum- far from it. Yes, I yell at my kids, I'm not angel.) The children have learnt through example, time and exposure. Maybe this is what mums did in a previous era. Is it possible that the time I spend with them and not the money I spend on gadgets or educational toys that has made the difference? I really don't know. What I do know though is they have a love of learning. Hopefully I can continue to foster that in them and they carry that into their adult lives.

This story is amazing to me because at 5 she knew the difference between slid and slide all by herself. 

Hopefully we'll find out at the end of this week whether the district director has approved the application. I know that if he doesn't she is going to be a huge strain on the teachers next year. I think even if she is advanced her teachers will have to modify their work to be able to cater for her ability. It will be just the same as having a child with a disability in the classroom. Let's hope there is someone else of similar ability to be able to work with her.