Is My Preschooler Gifted?

Do you think that your bright, curious, highly verbal, and capable pre-schooler could be gifted?

Many parents wait until their gifted child goes to school to start catering to their unique needs, but in doing this, they can run into problems.

Kids First psychology team has years of experience identifying children who are gifted and tells us that many parents what to know about their 4 or 5 year old’s talents so that they can make appropriate school decisions.

Below, they share how to find out if your preschooler is gifted.

Is your preschooler gifted

Characteristics of gifted pre-schoolers

Every gifted child is unique, however gifted children tend to:

  • Appear very keen to learn
  • Be interested in the way things work
  • Be able to focus their attention on tasks that they’re interested in
  • Develop good language skills early on
  • Be able to think in abstract terms (not just concrete terms)
  • Have a good memory
  • Create very detailed, intricate drawings from a young age
  • Sleep less than other children of the same age
  • Need less repetition than other kids and pick new information up quickly
  • Be able to tell you about their drawings, experiences, or ideas in great detail
  • Prefer the company of older children or adults
  • Be a bit of a perfectionist
  • Have a quirky or surprisingly mature sense of humour
  • Have an almost insatiable curiosity and start asking ‘why?’ at a young age

Gifted children may demonstrate some but not all of these traits; every child is different and each gifted child will show different strengths.

Gifted children need to be immersed in a challenging environment

Gifted pre-schoolers can be easily misunderstood

Sometimes what looks like misbehaviour may actually be a gifted child showing that they are not stimulated by their environment. Gifted and talented children can behave in challenging ways if they are bored and trying to find ways to entertain themselves. They may question the rules, feel frustrated with the pace at which they are being taught, or simply ‘zone out’ if they have had enough.

A gifted child who remains in an unchallenging environment may not be motivated to reach their potential and could feel negative about preschool or school. This can lead to them being misunderstood by teachers.

If you have a gifted pre-schooler, this is something that is best prevented as early as possible.

By ensuring that your child’s advanced skills are identified before they go to school, you get the chance to immerse them in enriching environments where your son or daughter can thrive.

Gifted children can sometimes struggles to make friends

Friendships and pre-schoolers who are gifted

Sometimes gifted children find it difficult to connect with peers of the same age.  You might find that your gifted pre-schooler is not interested in the things that same-aged peers find fascinating, and therefore doesn’t have as many shared activities or common things to talk.

As this can lead to social isolation, it is important to find other ways for your gifted child to feel socially included.  This might mean getting them together with like-minded kids (e.g. at a tech group), or by including them in your conversations.

Gifted preschoolers often have skills that are well beyond their age

Testing to confirm if your child is gifted

It can be beneficial to determine whether your child is gifted because this information can help you, your child’s preschool, and prospective school teachers to plan a challenging and interesting curriculum.

It can also assist you to make choices about the kind of school that would best meet your child’s unique learning needs.

Confirmation of giftedness comes from psychometric testing, conducted by a psychologist. Psychometric testing will assess your child’s cognitive capacity and aptitude for tasks and determine how your child’s skills compare with other children of the same age and stage of development.

A typical testing session lasts up to 2 hours.  Usually, your child will complete a standardised intelligence test, such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.  This will give the psychologist information about your child’s capacity to learn as well as their problem-solving and working memory skills.

Gifted preschooler case study

Case Study: Jules

Let’s look at a made-up example.

Jules is a 5-year-old child who will be starting school next year.  Her parents think she is gifted as she shows interest in ideas that are way beyond her chronological age (such as the way that engines work, and deep space).  Jules also has an excellent vocabulary for her age.

Jules meets with a psychologist and completes a psychometric (also known as an IQ) assessment to identify her learning style and skills.  Her results show that she has performed excellently across each of the sub-tests in the intelligence test.  This means she is in fact gifted.

This provides Jules’ parents with important information that they can use to make informed choices for her schooling and academic future.

It suggests that Jules should be enrolled in a school that offers a variety of extension opportunities so that she can be challenged academically.  This will help Jules stay engaged in her learning, and will give her the best chance possible to meet her potential.

Is my child gifted?

Bright or Gifted?

Lots of little kids are bright, but truly gifted children benefit most when their learning needs are identified and met early. Testing is available for children from as young as three and a half, and if you think that your child is gifted, it may be helpful to have this confirmed before formal schooling begins.

Testing for giftedness at Kids First

If you feel that your pre-schooler may be gifted, please feel welcome to contact Kids First Children’s Services to chat about how psychometric testing might help in developing an appropriate education plan for your child.

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