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How do you know if your child is 'gifted' or just 'clever'?

I am not trying to snarky or braggish but I have various concerns regarding my DD's education as far as her ability verses the current County Kindergarten curriculum. I mena, I have had these concerns for a while but it is getting more and more worrisome as the year goes on! I was trying to find more information on how they would handle the discrepancy and was not able to find out a whole lot during my search.

She is currently enrolled at a Montessori School Pre-K program. She entered the program able to read very simple books and with their support she is now reading beginner chapter books ( Such as 'Junie B. Jones) . She has 'Mastered' the Pre-K program and is ahead of their private kindergartner Students in most areas. Math is her weakest subject and she is adding and subtracting, including double digits with out 'carrying' numbers, quite well as wall as learning to tell time. I don't know if any of this is considered 'gifted' but it is enough to cause some concerns for me. I worry she is going to be bored in a public school Kindergarten. I worry she is not going to be challenged. I feel she is academically ready for first grade but emotionally I know she is still five. As much as we would love to keep her at the Montessori it just isn't possible from a cost stand point.

all that aside... How do you know if your child is gifted?
How can I advocate for her next year as she enters public school? What should I expect? Besides me having to supplement at home...

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Asked by But_Mommie at 6:00 PM on Feb. 21, 2013 in

Level 44 (181,645 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • She has a lot more years of education to go to worry if she is overly smart for her age. IMO. Try not to push her to hard to soon. Because that can back fire on you in preteen/teen years.
    My oldest was great in Elementry school. Then she went to middle school and started failing. She told me she was doing it on purpose. Because being smart was not popular. I tried to tell her being smart will help you in your adult life. she would not listen to me. She wasn't worried about adult life. She was worried about the kids liking her at school.

    Answer by louise2 at 6:12 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • I think this is a tricky one. From what I've heard and read, there should be state or district guidelines for what counts as "gifted" but the schools often have a lot of discretion during the evaluation process. The key is to make sure she's learning new stuff regardless of whether she's "gifted" or not, and there are lots of ways they can do this. They may just put her with an advance/gifted group of kindergarteners or might just pull her out into older classes during subjects she's advanced in or something. They may suggest skipping a grade.. who knows!

    I'd start by researching the gifted programs at the state and local levels (the policies and evaluations procedures should be published online or otherwise easily accessible), talking to the school where you'd like to send her, and also talking to her current teachers at the Montessori school since they might have some good insight. Good luck!

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 6:21 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • Testing - see what programs your school offers. It varies by state and district -here it's a 2 tiered district wide magnet program full time 2nd to 6th grade. Some places it's 2 hours a week (in other words, absolutely useless). They typically don't worry about it in kindergarten. DS had an awesome teacher who basically made up a curriculum for him because he could already do the things that were the end of year skills. She wasn't required to do that, though. At the same time, 3 other kids in his class were in the same kindergarten class and not that far along yet, but they also tested into the program in 1st grade.

    There's a parents of gifted children group here that has a lot of online resources, but the group itself is overrun with people who think their 2 year old is a genius because they can recite by rote. Check it for the group owner's links.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 6:23 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • Talk to the school and find out about their policies concerning advanced learners. Many schools will allow children to do say "2nd grade reading" but "kindergarten math." I've also learned from having a highly gifted learner that gifted children aren't always gifted in every subject and often have some form of learning disability. Some seem like extreme ADHD because their minds are going way too fast for everything around them.

    My kids all went to private school at that age. DD was 4.5 when she started and it's been more of a challenge for her socially than academically (and I've found for girls, especially her it's hard to be a smart girl.) She is up there with the rest of her class, but is a year younger. It's quite the ride right now - she is 13 in the 8th grade.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 6:36 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • D was like this last year in K. He already knew everything they were going over and got bored as hell in class. His teacher kept trying to say he was ADD, but he was just bored. She finally started giving him other work to do and letting him read while the rest of the class was working. It helped a lot. He has been a lot better this year and has a teacher that is willing to work with him. Down here they don't test for gifted until 3rd grade. Talk with her teacher next year before school starts and let her know your concerns. Hopefully you will get one that will work with you.

    Answer by kmath at 6:46 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • I do not push her. She pushes herself and she learns at her own pace on her own terms.


    These are the principles of the school she goes to, what I have always found wrong with this type of curriculum is that at the college level, there is competition and taking standarized testing and grading andf you can't go at your own pace...there is a need to keep up and be competitive......thus having to change everything she has learned in this Montessori method.


    She sounds like a very smart little girl but let her be along the rest of others her age unless she feels she doesn't fit, let her someone else said fowarding her ahead of others might back fire....


    Answer by older at 7:05 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • A Bright Child: A Gifted Child:
    Knows the answers Asks the questions
    Is interested  Is very curious
    Pays attention Gets involved mentally and physically
    Works hard Can be inattentive and still get good grades and test scores
    Answers the questions Questions the answers
    Enjoys same-age peers Prefers adults or older children
    Learns easily Often already knows the answers
    Is self-satisfied (when gets right answer) Is highly self-critical

    Answer by JeremysMom at 7:46 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • That so did not come out as it was suppose to. But_Mommie, here is the website- This is what my son's school gave us at the start of his Kindergarten year.


    Answer by JeremysMom at 7:47 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • I do not push her. She pushes herself and she learns at her own pace on her own terms.

    Comment by But_Mommie (original poster) at 6:13 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

  • I am not saying she is not smart. Just she is still young. Pushing the school to put her in a higher grade might not be the best thing.

    Answer by louise2 at 6:19 PM on Feb. 21, 2013

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