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Education for gifted children:
what are my options?
Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same material is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing. –Madeline Hunter
Finding a good educational fit for your gifted child is for the most part a challenging task. The more you understand about your gifted child, the better you will be able to plan for his education. A key element in this process is to understand the level of giftedness that your child has. Is your child intellectually or creatively gifted? What is his learning style? Is he an independent learner or does he need redirection? Is he selectively attentive or over focused?
Only a parent can answer these questions and parent involvement in education is essential. Can you simply trust the schools? Although some schools have programs for advanced learners, many do not. It is our job as parents to determine if the school is providing the learning opportunities to help our children to reach their potential.
Just because a school claims to have a curriculum for gifted student doesn’t mean that it is the right program for your child. While the majority of gifted children go to public school, more parents are contemplating the idea, if they can afford it, of sending their children to private schools, Either way, it is important that parents educate themselves on the different options available to choose the best fit for their child
- Grouping by ability: Ability grouping is the placement of children in one classroom into groups based on their ability. They can move up or down in areas of strength or weakness.
- Cluster grouping: In some schools this system works pretty well for globally gifted (evenly gifted in different areas) students. Gifted children in one grade level are grouped together in one classroom. Cluster grouping is an inexpensive way for schools to meet the academic needs of gifted children. This requires that the teacher make some instructional differentiation.
- Differentiation: The practice of providing different lessons to accommodate each child individually in the same classroom.
- Grade skipping: while grade skipping may be an option for some, the level of maturity and social adjustment of each child should be taken in consideration.
- Pull-out program: Gifted children are pulled out from the regular class once or twice a week for an enrichment program.
- Self-contained class: A self-contained classroom is one in which the students share similar academic requirements.
There are different ways that you can get involved in your child’s education. Join advocacy groups in your area, if there aren’t any then start a new one. You will be surprise the number of parents who wish to connect to get answer to their questions or simply share their struggles with others. Also you can contact organizations such as the Gifted child Society in NJ or The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Please, visit our resource page for an extended list of groups and organization that provide support in your area.