Friday, 10 February 2012

Gift (ed)


Today was the last day of term and took the form of an INSET (staff training day). It took place with three other schools at a different school to mine, so the husband took the day off to look after the boy as the nursery run just wasn't practical.

One of the training sessions I attended was on 'Challenging Gifted and Talented Students'. It was thought-provoking and useful, and I was given a booklet to accompany the training. Below is an extract that my 'parent head' (that makes me sound a little like Worzel Gummidge), found rather interesting.

Highly Gifted Children: What are we dealing with?

  • All were alert at birth or soon thereafter.
  • Books were a favourite interest of most before three or four months.
  • All appeared to understand parental directives between birth and four months.
  • The majority independently looked at and turned pages of books before 6 months.
  • Most knew and said some words by 5-9 months.
  • Half spoke well before age one.
  • All spoke at near-adult level complexity by age 2.
  • Most played with shape sorters before 11 months.
  • Many recognised and picked out specific numbers and letters by 10-14 months.
  • All knew colours, numbers, the alphabet and shapes by 15 months.
  • Most were good at puzzles before 12 months, 35+ piece puzzles by 15 months.
  • All showed musical aptitude before 18 months.
  • All 'read' words on signs and simple books and labels before two years.
  • All memorized books read to them before 20 months.
  • Many could rote count to 10, many higher, by 13 to 20 months.
  • Most could print letters, numbers, words, and their names between 16 and 24 months.
  • High interest in factual information, how things work, science, by two years.
  • Most read simple books, 'board' books, by age 18-24 months.
  • Most grasp skip counting, backwards, addition, subtraction, more or less, by two years.
  • All were independent on computer by age two years, all keyboarding before three.
  • All read children's chapter books by age 3 to 4 years.
  • All showed interest in pure facts, dictionaries, etc. by age 3.
  • All question the reality of Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy by 3 or 4 years.
  • All understand abstract math concepts and basic math functions before age four.
  • All read six or more years beyond age from 6 years old.
I am quoting verbatim here. To be honest, the list made me feel a little sick, but I started to think about how Dexter would compare...

Dexter was alert at birth, as he was very fortunate in not having a traumatic entry into the world, but then he slept - a lot. He really likes books, but in a slightly more visceral way: he likes to chew them; he loves trying to turn the pages of big books whilst sitting on them; he is becoming very good at removing the pop-up bits from slightly more interactive books and the pages and spines from less hardy tomes. He does not understand/chooses to ignore parental directives, and will continue to remove all of the DVDs from the shelf, despite being told a very firm 'No!' Dexter likes to say 'Mama' and 'Dada', but mainly, just to blow raspberries. He has several shape sorters; he likes to put the shapes in his mouth and then on the floor. Likewise, he has a number of lovely wooden jigsaw puzzles; see comments on shape sorters. He shows his 'musical aptitude' by furiously spinning the mental 'Macarena drum' round and chewing on a xylophone beater. I have tried doing drawing with him; he eats the crayons and chalk. As mentioned in previous posts, he types in fluent Swedish on Daddy's laptop and likes the Ladybird Books app on my i phone. Finally, Dexter had his own video message from Santa Claus for his first Christmas last year, telling him he'd been a good boy and would get a visit: he believes.

I am not a pushy parent (I hope), nor do I want to label my child as a chronic underachiever from an early age. I'm not sure if he's displaying any early signs of being 'highly gifted'. He is however, displaying many signs of being a happy, curious, giggly, gurgly, teething baby, and that's fine by me.

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