Preschool is not an area in which I am most familiar with so I have to refer to my wife who is an Early Childhood Education Instructor at our high school. She has taught me a lot about what is importance of early education instruction in toddlers and preschoolers, and why it is important to constantly observe children. They show you what they know.
One aspect that is important when it comes to preschool is to communicate with parents about how their child is at home, and letting parents know how their child is at school. By having that open communication teachers and parents can get a whole picture of the child.
Early Childhood Educators know what the average toddler and preschooler should be doing by every age. Some times a few children will stick out because of their talents. Here are a few characteristics that preschool teachers and parents should notice because these aspects are possible indicators of giftedness.
- has an advanced vocabulary at an early age
- can read words beyond the expected age
- has rational thoughts on adult topics, or topics not normally associated with young children (examples like the meaning of life, and death)
- can think and explain abstract concepts
- passes developmental milestones quickly
- has a rapid language and concept development acquisition
- can understand family relationships at an early age, (mommy’s mommy is grandmother; daddy’s daddy is grandfather)
- can be very impulsive and over reactive
- has a high level of curiosity
When parents and early childhood educators notice multiple aspects listed above there needs to be an intervention to make sure the child is put into gifted services. The best form for this is acceleration. In our schools we will quickly accelerate students who accelerate in music, the arts, and even sports. We need to be more fluid with our academic classes as well. I believe this also applies for preschool students as well as the elementary, middle, and high school students.
Research shows that the earlier children start school the better chances of these children to have an increased academic success in elementary school and it widens further in middle and high school. It also shows that if high ability students aren’t able to accelerate at the level they need to they can begin to show behavior problems. Finally, research also shows that if parents create a learning environment that is fun can make a huge difference to learning throughout the child’s life.
There are 6 things that teachers and parents can do to help find or develop high ability children.
- Actively look for areas of talent strength
- Encourage toddlers to play, invent, and pretend / Expose young children to enrichment activities like going to museums, and zoos
- Teach responsibility to young children.
- Parents and teachers should model the desired behaviors they want to see in young children
- Read to children often, and everyday using a variety of books and topics
- Expose children to skill related skills early by doing activities that are fun and exciting
Young children need to be exposed to new and exciting learning opportunities often. The more parents and teachers do this they are making an investment for a better life for their children.
What does your school do to help find and nurture high ability preschoolers?