#076 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #2 Part 1 w/ Stephanie Higgs

#076 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #2 Part 1 w Stephanie Higgs Website Podcast Featured Image

In episode 2 of Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Year of School Series, we’re talking to gifted educator and differentiation coach from Nashville, Tennessee, Stephanie Higgs.

We talk about… where is the best place to send my gifted child to school and what kinds of qualifications educators might have, when is the best time to start school for gifted kids? What are the misconceptions about gifted learners?

Memorable quote… “

 ”One of the norms that we’ve established in my class is to lean into struggle. 

And again, if we wait until these kids are older to identify them or to serve them, it’s really uncomfortable for them to lean into struggle because they have been set on cruise control for all this time in class.

And so, it’s really nice and powerful and we can start that at a young age because not only can we challenge them academically, but we can really pair that with some social-emotional support for how to handle challenges, how to lean into struggle, how to develop that stamina and that perseverance what that says about us as learners.

Because I think sometimes it becomes almost an affront on who we are as a person when so much of our identity is in our intellect and in schooling, and all of a sudden it’s challenging. What does that say about me if I can’t do this? What if someone finds out that I don’t know how to solve this problem?

If we normalise that from the very beginning, we can teach those in tandem all the way.” – Stephanie Higgs


Stephanie Higgs is a passionate, energetic, and engaging educator whose colleagues describe as radiating contagious joy. She has devoted her entire professional life to education, teaching in two of Tennessee’s three grand divisions.

Stephanie earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she then taught for six years at a museum magnet school and helped students achieve up to three years’ growth in reading in a single year.

After relocating to Middle Tennessee, Stephanie became a fourth-grade teacher, which had been her dream since she was a fourth grader herself! In 2019, Stephanie became a gifted educator and differentiation coach, where the staff quickly named her their Teacher of the Year before being named a region-level semi-finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Soon after, Stephanie was honored with the TAG (Tennessee Association for the Gifted) Horizon Award, which is given to a gifted educator demonstrating promise and leadership in the field.

Later, Stephanie was named the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Teacher of the Year. Stephanie recently graduated with an additional graduate degree from Tennessee State University in Instructional Leadership and now serves on the executive board as secretary for the Tennessee Association for the Gifted.

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Sophia Elliott: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to episode two. In our little series here about parent’s guide to a gifted kids. First years of school. Last week we had the lovely Emily join us. And this week we have the divine Stephanie Higgs. Stephanie is a passionate, energetic and engaging educator whose colleagues describe her as radiating contagious joy.

I’ve had the privilege of recording two episodes with Stephanie. We have one on creativity coming up in the next couple of months. And I can confirm that. She does a radio contagious joy. She’s an absolute delight and is obviously very passionate about gifted education. She has devoted her entire professional life to education teaching in two of Tennessee’s three grand divisions.

Stephanie earned her undergrad and graduate degrees in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I feel like I’ve not [00:01:00] pronounced that properly. Chattanooga. Um, when she then taught for six years at a museum magnet school and helped students achieve up to. The three years growth reading in a single year. After relocating to middle Tennessee, Stephanie became a fourth grade teacher, which had been her dream since she was a fourth grade herself.

In 2019, Stephanie became a gifted educator and differentiation coach. Where the staff quickly named her, their teacher of the year before being named a region level semifinalist for Tennessee teacher of the year. Soon after Stephanie was honored with the tag Tennessee association for the gifted horizon award, which is given to a gifted educator, demonstrating promise and leadership in the field.

And I feel like we need to have these awards everywhere. Every state should have one so that we can really honor those educators, like Stephanie, who are committed to gifted ed and doing so much because we really do have many wonderful. [00:02:00] Passionate educators out there in gifted education.

 Latest Stephanie was named the Tennessee performing arts center teacher of the year. And recently graduated with an additional graduate degree from Tennessee state university in instructional leadership. And now it says on the executive board as secretary for the Tennessee association, with the gifted.

Stephanie’s an absolute delight. It was wonderful to talk to her about those early years of education. And what is some of the things that we need consider as parents of gifted kids? We talked about where is the best place to send gifted children to school? And this led to what kinds of qualifications

educators might have. When is the best time to start school for gifted kids. And what are some of the misconceptions about gifted learners? Now this conversation with Stephanie is also put into two parts. So we’ve got part one here today. And part two will be released over the next couple of days. Please enjoy let us know what you think you can find us on Facebook, Instagram. [00:03:00] We’ve got a free Facebook group that you can join.

Let us know. Uh, do you have more questions about those first years of school? What have we missed out on tune in there? Let us know.

And if they love the podcast, you can leave a review, share us with friends, get more involved in our, as a podcast, patron, subscribe to our new letters. There’s a ton of links in the show notes, as well as a ton of links from these conversations that we’re having with our guests. So check them out.

 I will see you again soon with part to stay quirky. Let’s get into it. [00:04:00]

Hello and welcome to the podcast. I am delighted to be here this morning with Stephanie Higgs, all the way from the usa, and we are talking about those early years of schooling in this podcast and, and at the moment in this series of podcasts. So it’s all about that first year of school. What do we need to know as parents?

What are we thinking about? And so, first of all, Stephanie, please tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into what you’re doing now as an educator in gifted

Stephanie Higgs: ed? Yeah, that’s a great question. So I’m Stephanie Higgs. I am in my 13th year of education. I served as a pre-K teaching assistant while I was getting my first master’s degree in education.

And then I served as a [00:05:00] second grade teacher for seven year olds, a fourth grade teacher for nine year olds. And then I moved into my current role which is. Split position. So I serve gifted learners elementary age, so that’s as low as pre-K all the way up to fifth grade. And then I also serve as our school’s differentiation coach, meaning that I partner with teachers kind of behind the scenes to offer them enrichments extensions and challenges to ensure that they are meeting the, all of the very unique needs of their high achieving and gifted learners.

So, pre-K specifically always holds a, a special place in my heart. I started with really young kids when I began kinda my journey in education. And then as I’ve moved into this gifted role, I’ve had that opportunity to really see kind of elementary school at a global capacity working with the students that are just entering school all the way until they’re ready for middle.

So I have lots of experience there kind of across the, the ages. And I really, uh, have found a lot of passion for these students who are thinking about the world just a little bit differently are gifted [00:06:00] learners. And so that’s really a passion of mine that took off the longer I was involved in education.

Uh, my brother was a gifted learner growing up, so I saw that kind of behind the scenes day by day what it was like to be a sibling to a gifted student, what it was like to parent a gifted child how his school experience looked so different for mine and kind of the, the things that he would come home reporting at the end of his school day.

And so this is a passion of mine that it’s lifelong and was realized through years and years in the classroom of this is a really niche field within education in one where I have so much passion and love to give and ways to serve these students and their families. So that’s kinda how I make my way there.

It’s always

Sophia Elliott: lovely to hear people’s stories of, you know, how they found their way to this particular niche, and you are also very involved in the your local association as well.

Stephanie Higgs: Yes. So I have several leadership positions within not only my school, but even at sort of, again, kind of thinking about things in a more broad way.[00:07:00]

A goal of mine has always been maximum impact on student success, whatever that looks like, whatever that feels like. And so anytime I can have just kind of maximum impact on the most amount of students, so moving from the classroom into this instructional coaching role now, I don’t just impact those 75 lives with which I was tasked every day.

I can impact students all across. School building. So other things that I’ve done, I also have presented professional development to teachers all the way from the school level to the district level, to the state level, to the national level, and even at the world level because I wanted to have this opportunity to equip, empower teachers of students globally to, to maximize the way that they’re able to meet the needs of their students.

And so most recently that has looked like joining our executive board in the state of Tennessee. I live in Nashville and so we have a state board for Tennessee that serves gifted students and advocates and parents all across the state. And I’m serving as the secretary. So not only do I [00:08:00] keep minutes during our board, One of my biggest responsibilities is creating a monthly newsletter to share kind of tips and tricks, ideas not just for teaching gifted learners, but also for parenting gifted learners.

So that’s just another way that I can kind of share that impact of even started doing that recently on social media, so creating little bite-size videos that, that’s always important to me too, if I can make it bite size, because I know we’re all kind of overwhelmed, over stimulated. We always have so many inputs each and every day.

And so, can I just give you one bite size tip? Could we take just this one little piece and try that? Okay. Try that and then come back to me. And so that’s, that’s kind of a, a method that’s working for me right now. I think lots of us are, are pretty overwhelmed consistently, I think since Covid life has seemed to move at 250 miles an hour all the time.

And so that has been a way that’s been easy for me to grasp. Like if I can share one tip with parents, like, Hey, just try this one piece. How does that work? And then kind of mm-hmm. kind of disseminate that information slowly over time. Again, I’m all about max. Some impact. So that has seems like a great way to do that most, most recently.[00:09:00]

Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. No, I love that. And shout out to all of the state associations, uh, who do a lot of fabulous work. We have them here in Australia as well. So if you’re listening, if you’re a parent of a gifted kid, wherever you are, investigate who your state association is. A lot of them will have email lists like Stephanie was saying, or a presence on Instagram or.

So like them, follow them. I follow a bunch because there is just so much great information coming out of them. Uh, so a really great way to connect with your local sort of gifted crew as well, and, you know, be across what’s happening for you locally. So wonderful that you’re involved in that. It sounds super exciting.

And so thank you and welcome to the podcast. I was super excited to have you here today. I, this all started actually just before Christmas. I got a, a message from one of our listeners saying, do you have any [00:10:00] podcasts on like that first year of school And, uh, the early years bit is something that I’ve been chomping at the bit to.

Delve into and do some podcasts on for quite a while now. So I’m like, do you know what, let’s just do it. Let’s just pull something together. So hence this lovely little week of diving into that, that period around that first year of school for a gifted kid because nothing is typical . So let’s dive in there and I wonder

if you have any thoughts for parents on, first of all, where is the best place to send my gifted child to school? What kind of school? Now this is a question that was asked and and I wonder if you have any thoughts on that as

Stephanie Higgs: well. Yeah, that’s a great question. I’m sure parts of that look very different continent to continent.

Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So some of the things that I would think about looking for are [00:11:00] what types of requirements do they expect of their educators? And so I’ll give you an example just here in the state of Tennessee where I live, there are two different pathways that you can require of your gifted educators.

There’s something called. Standard. And so here in the United States, especially in Tennessee, if we require an employment standard in gifted education, that’s two courses. So that’s six hours of graduate coursework regarding kind of an immersive experience in gifted education, a different pathway. And this is the pathway that my district chooses to follow, is to actually require gifted educators to have a gifted endorsement.

Well, that requires at least 12 hours of graduate coursework. So even something as simple as what are you requiring of your gifted educators? Other questions that I might. Regarding, you know, kind of making this school decision is how many schools is a gifted educator responsible for? I am so fortunate to work in a district that is getting closer every day and every year to being what we call one-to-one.

Meaning their, their [00:12:00] ultimate goal would be to have one full-time gifted educator in every building, but their neighboring districts all around us that don’t have that same opportunity. And so, you know, is that something, does your kid have needs that are going to need kind of that daily gifted service or other ways that, that’s met in the state of Tennessee that’s provided in a larger chunk once a week?

So, Commensurate services, whereas perhaps, you know, a teacher in my district might see their students for 30 minutes four times a week. A different child in a different neighboring district might see theirs once a week for two hours. It, it sort of depends on the needs of your individual child. Are they going to need that daily check-in or would they, you know, kind of stay with their peers most of the week and then just have that one day.

There are places in, in different parts of the United States where there are different schools or different classes that those students are part of. So perhaps one day a week their instruction looks very different. So that would be, as I was trying to make an important decision like that, I would definitely be thinking about what requirements are there for a gifted educator?

What type of schooling, what type of [00:13:00] endorsements do they have on a teaching license? What really kind of makes them a professional in this particular area of e. I would want to know what those services look like as far as, you know, is this school able to offer me this many minutes? Would it look a little bit different here?

Is that student served on an in individualized plan as they are here where I serve in Tennessee? Or is that something that’s handled on a little bit more of a global scale? Is it, you know, lots of students have that, and so those students are clustered together, but they may not have something that’s very individualized to their unique profile.

And then I would also want to know too, as far as what, not just what those services look like and how long they last the expertise of the teachers. And then I have one more where to go.

Oh, the one-to-one. Yes. So is that, is that gifted educator spread really thin between six or seven schools? Or is that gifted educator able to, to vote quite a bit of time, because that’s another benefit of the position that I’m in, is not only am I serving as their gifted educator, I am at our school full-time.

So that gives me [00:14:00] tons of opportunities to check in with their teachers, even after school and before school saying, Hey, you know, how are they doing in class? Pop in if I have five extra minutes, pop in and see how they’re doing. You know, are they sitting there actively engaged? Are they kind of finishing up and not sure what to do next?

We need to tighten up some procedures. Are they, you know, diving into an individualized project that I’ve partnered with that teacher on behind the scenes. So, you know, because of our staffing, I have opportunities to do a lot more things like that. So I would definitely as a parent ask those types of questions when thinking.

School. Here we have public schools and private schools. So republic schools are more government funded and taxpayer based and things like that. Well, our private schools look at that very, very differently. And so they’re not bound by the same laws, they’re not bound under the same types of of operations.

And so that looks very, very different. So those would still be kind of my guiding questions is what do you do for your gifted learners? How are your gifted educators endorsed? How are they experts in their field? How many students are they typically serving? And then what do those services look like?

Are we [00:15:00] looking at daily, are we looking at weekly? Are we looking at monthly? You know, some people look at it more like that When we think that a month at a time, then those gifted students would be served so often. So kind of knowing your own individual child and then which of those type options is gonna be their best need?

Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. And so it’s somewhat similar here in Australia. We have public schools and private schools, and. Qualifications in gifted ed tend to be a. Some teachers can get trained. But moreover, what we’re looking for is a graduate certificate in gifted ed or a master’s in gifted ed, those kind of qualifications.

So similarly, uh, you’d encourage parents to be asking those questions, who within your school has those qualifications gifted ed? What does your gifted education program look like? How often can they access those things? And uh, that situation where you described [00:16:00] what you do and the popping in and seeing them on a regular basis, talking to the teachers sounds like bliss.

And I know there’d be a lot of parents listening going, oh my God, I want that. You know, that it feels like it should be the standard everywhere. Absolutely. And it sounds amazing, uh, what you do there in your school for your gifted learners. So some really great tips there about the reasonable things to ask as a parent, because as a parent, we don’t wanna be.

that parent. We don’t wanna be, you know, seen as painful or, or whatever it might be. But it’s perfectly reasonable to ask these questions. Yes. Uh, because the reality is you’re going to have to work with these educators for potentially years. It’s like establishing who it is you’re working with and getting a sense of, am I actually just going to be banging my head against a brick wall in this place?

Or, or are there people here who know what they’re talking about? So some [00:17:00] wonderful tips there.

So our next question is, any thoughts that you have on when is the right time for a gifted learner to start school? Because, and I’m not sure what it’s like in the US but here in Australia, that first year, those first years of learning have certain cutoff points, uh, around birthdays.

Mm-hmm. . And so if you’re born bef, you know, before a particular month, you, you might not start yet or after you might start that particular year or wait till the next year. Uh, and there are also opportunities, albeit sometimes challenging to get for early entry if you have a child who’s particularly ready.

And then there’s that sort of uh, what’s the word I’m looking for? You know, there’s a, there’s a, a school of four out there that sometimes it can be better to hold children back from starting school, particularly around boys and, and levels of [00:18:00] maturity. Uh, and so, so the question that comes up a lot with parents of gifted kids, it’s like, when.

when do we pursue school? Uh, is there, uh, is there a right or wrong in this sort of, so yeah, what are your thoughts on that one?

Stephanie Higgs: That’s a great question. And I have a brother who was actually accelerated twice. So he was a September birthday and our cutoff was just right. There’s birthday was September 6th, I think the cutoff was just a day or two later.

And so my parents did decide to wait an extra year to send him to kindergarten. So he was you know, very old for that class being, you know, almost right at a full year older than some of his peers. And so what they found very quickly was that, uh, he had, you know, younger brother had kind of seen what I was doing all along, had been in pre-K programming, and he was so ready for school.

And so by the time he was in first grade, his teacher had to sit my parents down for a very hard conversation and say, you know what? [00:19:00] We’re gonna have to do something different. He, he is not reaching that full potential. We’re gonna have to think about accelerating him. So he went from, at the end of first grade, he skipped second grade completely and grades skipped all the way ahead to third grade.

So then that worked out for a little while. Then by mid middle school, kind of noticing the same things again. So he grade skipped again, and he skipped eighth grade. . And so, you know, that was really challenging for him. You know, we, we didn’t do it initially. Didn’t even know, you know, 30 plus years ago that, that that wasn’t a very common practice.

Mm-hmm. and, you know, even then didn’t know his intellectual giftedness that wasn’t identified till he was in school. We had those resources in the school telling us and, and sharing that information and guiding us on that path. And so I think things have changed so much in 30 years. But it was interesting being on that end of things and seeing the challenges that he faced because he was so much younger than peers After grade skipping twice.

He, you know, was quite a bit younger when he started high school. Typically here, you know, we go to college at 18 and he was still. [00:20:00] 16. And so the year he gets his driver’s license, he’s, you know, leaving the house and going off to college as a 16 year old, living it independently. So it was really, I have an interesting perspective there, just based on my own personal family life and got to see kind of the benefits and the challenges.

And so the first and most important thing I could share is there is no right or wrong. And if you ask my parents today, they still would tell you, they still question the decision that they made over 30 years ago For my brother. Still don’t know if it was the right call because they know the challenges that came from him being significantly younger than his peers by the time he graduated high school.

But we never will, of course, have that luxury of knowing what would it look like if we had left him where he was. And based on this first grade teacher, that was not an option. His intellect was so advanced and he was so bored, and he was finding other ways to kind of provide some of that intellectual stimulation because he wasn’t getting it academically.

You know, starting to kind of develop some character traits that were not innate to who he was, but because he was, he was so far advanced, he was [00:21:00] becoming frustrated with peers when they, you know, weren’t thinking the way he was thinking or able to work as quickly as he was working And. and so there is no right or wrong answer.

I think that would be the first thing I would say. There is tremendous research that does highlight the many benefits of acceleration or early entrance, entrance into kindergarten. It’s actually one of the most cost effective ways to meet the new needs of a gifted learner because we’re not, you know, needing a special curriculum.

We’re not needing to purchase different materials. We can put them at the next grade level. How cost effective is that? So there’s a lot of misconceptions around that, I think, and, and a lot of discomfort still in 2023 with the idea of doing that. It doesn’t feel very comfortable. I was reading some research earlier and the research is a few years old.

It’s by Dr. Jonathan Plucker and some other very you know, important names in gifted education. But he had done a lot of digging into the data of kids that were a little bit older in elementary school. And I actually saw him present a few [00:22:00] years ago at our state gifted conference, and he kind of challenged us with the question that he wonders at what point will stop grouping students.

Strictly based on their age. Mm-hmm. . And so, you

Sophia Elliott: know, there’s hallelujah to that one. Yes, yes, yes. And

Stephanie Higgs: so there’s a lot of research to that. Now I saw, you know, firsthand, so it’s tricky. I saw the firsthand social challenges of, you know, in high school someone wanting to date girls in their grade level, but those great girls are two years older than you.

And in, in high school, that’s a real challenge. And it, it feels uncomfortable. And, and so there’s just all sorts of things that came from the social side that I was able to witness. But so much of the research says that was still the best move for my brother, and that it would still be the best move for so many of our kids.

So, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. I think no matter which way a parent was to choose, they’re always going to see only the challenges of the option they chose and, and have that parent guilt. That I think is just sort of something you have from the moment you have a child forever. And, and wonder if they made the right call because they’ll only, you know, have the [00:23:00] benefit of seeing it from that side.

But I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. There’s tons of research that supports that. Actually there’s a study out of Vanderbilt University Mimi Engle, and she had some colleagues and basically what they found through their research was that 95% of students in her kindergarten with that really basic number sense in counting from one to 10.

Okay, so lots of kindergarten students, 95% entering kindergarten and they can already count from one to 10. The problem with this study from Vanderbilt was that that’s what teachers report. They spent the majority of their classroom time. Doing was working on the skills of counting from one to 10. And so that’s really eye-opening to think about, you know, the research says that 95% of our kids are walking in and they’re able to do this, but teachers who are bound by certain confines of their curriculum are really, you know, kind of stuck in some of these patterns of, these are the resources I was given, this is what I’m expected to do, this is the grade level standard that I need to meet.

And, and [00:24:00] this is kind of where I am. So when we think about, you know, if we have opportunities for early entrance into kindergarten, kind of, you know, if they already have some of those skills, we know that’s where time is going to be spent. and they have this intellectual giftedness they’re gonna catch on really quickly anyway.

And so what a great time to go ahead and kind of have them in that early exposure, getting those school readiness skills developed and also helping them academically. But yeah, I think that’s just over and over. I don’t think I can say it enough. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong choice. It is an incredibly personal family decision.

None of us have that ability to see in the future and see if we took this path, it would look one way and if we took this path, it would do, you know, the opposite. We only get to look backwards and I think kind of still feel that guilt of did I make the right call for my child and for my family? And unfortunately we can’t know.

We have to use the research that says that there’s so many benefits of that. And just knowing our individual child and trying to meet their needs as very best, we. [00:25:00] N

Sophia Elliott: That’s great advice. And it’s so true. I mean, the reality with is that we have, with a gifted child, there are no easy answers and there’s no easy answers.

Cause they just don’t fit into the box that we have been provided. And unless you can find a school that has a completely different shape, that they fit into and there’s few and far between, then we’ve gotta deal with the box. And it’s sort of like, what are the pros and cons of everything? There’s always gonna be associated challenges, like you said, being that bit younger as they’re finishing off school versus getting what they [00:26:00] need educationally, academically throughout the schooling journey.

And yeah. And really important And, and one of the things that we, we touched on the other day when we were chatting. This myth that, uh, like you hear quite often, it is like, oh, just leave them where they are till at grade three. We’ll assess them at grade three. As a parent.

Uh, that drives me bonkers because it’s like, no, my child doesn’t suddenly become gifted at grade three. They’ve always been gifted. If we wait until grade three to meet this need, they will be broken by them. And their research supports that. And, and I’ll refer parents to the podcast that I did with Geraldine Thompson about self, uh, sense of self.

So her research was showing that from a very early age, like reception grade one, they can see that they’re different. [00:27:00] And like you said about your brother, some, some behaviors and traits that weren’t intrinsically them. The frustration, the boredom, the what is seen as misbehaving because their needs aren’t getting met.

 And so it’s not easy to make these decisions. Uh, there’s no easy decision, but it’s, it’s finding what works for your child, what their needs are. You know, and we’ve talked a lot on this podcast about, you know, their level, you know, of giftedness can be a good indicator of what their needs might be and how extreme you might need to be considering as a parent.

But it is, it’s very personal. Depends on the kid. and you know, some really great advice there Stephanie. Thank you so

Stephanie Higgs: well, and let me add one more thing too, please. We were kinda talking misconceptions and I do think, you know, you know, kind of where did that originate that we thought about third grade.

A lot of that is because the IQ level doesn’t stabilize until they’re a little bit older. [00:28:00] And so I think historically that was where that kind of originally came from was, you know, their aq, their IQ will stabilize when they’re a little bit older. You know, that that still hasn’t worked itself out.

Was it the school readiness? Was it, you know, how much they were read to as a child and, and kind of how much folk vocabulary they. Opposed to, but what we know now that would, that would sort of change. That is yes, they’re, they’re, they don’t become gifted. They are gifted. And that when we think about the idea of early intervention can happen if we have early identification, so early identification is going to lead to early intervention.

The sooner we find these students, the sooner we can start serving them. And like you said, by the time we get to third grade, they’re pretty far into their educational journey. And sometimes they’ve even developed some, you know, things like poor study habits because it’s always come so easily to them that they, they have been able to kind of get away with, with just kind of, kind of floating in and out.

You know, if I can, they catch on so quickly. If I can listen for a minute or two here, I can kind of zone out here or you know, I can [00:29:00] do it in my head. Well, all of a sudden I’m being asked to explain my thoughts and do it on paper. And so I think that sometimes poor study habits come from waiting and, and identifying that a little bit later because they’ve never been, Introduced to appropriate levels of challenge for that intellectual giftedness.

And also the social emotional skills that we, that we miss out on sometimes when we’re not supporting that from earlier on that we can develop that in them from such a early, early age if we present them with those appropriate challenges. Inevitably, we’re all going to eventually be facing a challenge.

It could be college, it could be third grade, it could be kindergarten, and we, there’s so many skills that come along with that for our perfectionistic gifted learners. Sometimes that can be soul crushing. What I, I, I wanted to achieve perfection, and this is new and this is hard. If we can normalize that from a very early age, we can teach all of those social emotional skills right alongside those challenging tasks.

One of the norms that we’ve established in my class is lean into struggle. And again, if we wait until these kids are older to identify them or to serve them, [00:30:00] It’s really uncomfortable for them to lean into struggle because they have been able to sort of set on cruise control for all this time in class.

And so, it, it’s really nice and, and powerful and we can start that at a young age because not only can we challenge them academically, but we can really pair that with some social emotional support for how to handle challenges, how to lean into struggle, how to develop that stamina and that perseverance what that says about us as learners.

Because I think sometimes it becomes almost a, an affront on who we are as a person when so much of our identity is in our intellect and in schooling, and all of a sudden it’s challenging. What does that say about me if I can’t do this? What if someone finds out that I, I don’t know how to solve this problem?

If we normalize that from the very beginning, we can teach those in tandem all the way

Sophia Elliott: along. Absolutely. And there is a lovely little YouTube video that I. Share all the time and reshare because it’s so good, called James and Susie, which is this little stick figure two minute kind of video on exactly [00:31:00] what you’ve just said.

The importance of our kids hitting those challenges in learning right from the beginning of primary school and how important that is for gifted kids as as it is for all kids. Uh, so yeah, absolutely. Hitting the nail on the head there.


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