Today we start our Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series with Emily.
Emily is a mum navigating those big questions with her gifted child who has just started reception (prep).
This two-part episode covers when our gifted kids should start school, where they should go to school, what expectations we should have and much more…
“The big question that I had [for the educational psychologist] was, do you think he should be going to school next year? Do you think he’s ready for school next year?
And she actually flipped that question on me and said, ‘it’s not about when it’s about where. Now that you know that he’s gifted, you now need to make a really considered decision about where you send him to school’.
And I thought that this day, this assessment was going to almost close the chapter and be like, okay, you’ve got your answer now get on with your life.
But it was just the beginning of everything.” – Emily
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[00:00:00] hello, and welcome back to the I’ll give to kids podcast. What a relief it is to be here. I have learned over the last couple of months that multitasking is an absolute myth, and unfortunately I just had to pause and get some backend stuff done. For the benefit of us all I promise. Well, I’m super excited to be back with a much anticipated mini series.
And I think that this mini-series is perhaps going to end up not quite so many and more of a mega series. Uh, some of the episodes are becoming part one part two, just to make them quick and easy to listen to. But everything you need to know. The parents guide to gifted kids at first years of school.
And today we’ve got part one with Emily mum, extraordinary of the gifted child. Who shares her journey of those first years of school and that kindie process, and really started off this whole miniseries journey [00:01:00] with a question, uh, To me in January of, Hey, Sophia. I think it was in Facebook.
Do you have any podcasts? About the first years of school? I was like, no. Emily, what a great idea. Would you like to come on the podcast? So be warned. If you ask great questions, you may end up being invited on as a guest. Emily’s been super brave because let’s face it. That’s a little bit awkward, the whole podcast thing. Sometimes it’s a little bit weird.
But she’s been super brave. And in this part, one. Shared a bit about her story, which I think. There’s a lot to learn for all of us in that. And we talk about. One of our first questions, which is when should give to kids start school. And in part two, we also talk about where should they go to school and what are some of the expectations? And we unpack other questions that you’re bound to have on.
What do you need to know as a parent, when your child is [00:02:00] approaching their, maybe they’re in kindie. Maybe they’re getting ready for kindie. You’ve got grade one, looming, reception, prep, whatever it’s called in your state. And it’s kind of like, what do I need to know? So we’re unpacking it all in this series.
Starting off with Emily because it was her fabulous idea. We’ve got a wonderful educator from the us called Stephanie Higgs. Who talks to us, and then we’ve got the wonderful Jessica Farago also wrapping up. The series with her. Experiences as well.
I can’t wait to introduce them to you. We’ve got a wonderful series ahead.
Each episode will come out weekly. So you will get part two of this one tomorrow. And so you don’t have to wait and then next week we’ll have another one and then next week another one, and I may even have a fourth in the works. Well, let’s see. It’ll be a little surprise for all of us.
It’s wonderful to be back with everyone. We’ve got such an amazing year ahead. I recorded so many [00:03:00] podcasts already this year with some amazing guests. I can’t wait to bring them all to you.
And if you do love the podcast, consider liking, subscribing, reviewing, sharing. It all helps us. Spread the word
and if you want more, you can become a patron of the podcast. Join our membership community or our free Facebook group. There’s all sorts of stuff going on. Check out in the show notes and let’s get into it. . . Hello everyone and welcome back to the our Gifted Kids Podcast,[00:04:00]
Sophia Elliott: I’m very delighted today to be interviewing one of our listeners. Emily got in touch with some questions and I said, do you know what? Why don’t we do a podcast ? So bear that in mind. If you ever get in touch, I may just be like, you know what? That’s a great idea for an episode. Let’s do a podcast. And Emily has been super brave and is joining me today.
Emily, welcome. First of all, thank you so much for joining us.
Emily : Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Sophia Elliott: I am delighted to have you. Emily, you got in touch because you were like, are there any episodes that talk about that first year of school, you know, as a parent when you have a, a child, a gifted child, starting that first year of school?
And I was like, no, not specifically. What a great idea for an episode. And then Emily, you were brave enough to join us.
Yep. Here I am. .
So [00:05:00] first of all, Emily, I think we would love to hear a little bit more about your story. And so you’ve obviously got a child who is about to start school this year,
Emily : 2023.
Yep. So I have two children. My oldest is starting first year of school prep 2023, and I have a two year old as well.
Sophia Elliott: So I remember vividly the first time my child started school, that first child. And I remember not having any idea how the whole school thing worked other than what I’d seen in movies or in, you know, things like that. And at that stage for us, we, we were about to crash into the gifted world, but we were not yet.
That, you know, that world hadn’t opened up for us. And so it was kind of scary enough just having a kid and starting that whole school journey, let alone you’re, you’re ahead of the game. Congratulations, you’re ahead of where I was [00:06:00] at. And you’re actually already asking the gifted questions. And so you have a, an awareness that your, your eldest is gifted.
Emily : Yes. I still feel relatively new to the whole the whole thing. It’s only been the last couple of months for us, but he was identified as gifted yeah, around August, 2022. So
Sophia Elliott: that is very early days. And like, how are you guys going? What, what tipped you off?
Emily : Well, I mean, probably prior to that I didn’t even know what giftedness was.
So it was learning that word, learning what that meant, and then figuring out what that meant for our child. But we as a family and like my partner and I, in terms of our parenting, we’ve never really been the type of parents to sort of follow milestones or track him or compare him to to other children.
But we did get complimented, I guess, from like educators and our family about, [00:07:00] you know, he’s quite switched on. He’s learned that really quickly. And we just thought they’re being nice. Like, you know, people say that, I don’t know, people say that to give you some sort of satisfaction as a parent. And never took it very seriously.
And then I guess the first time that we started to take it seriously was when we had a meeting with his childcare educator who was, who kind of suggested to us that our plan so he’s a February birthday, so we had the choice of when to send him to school. And we were originally planning for him to start prep in 2024.
And she had a conversation with us and suggested that that may not have been the best decision for him, and we should really look to transition him into four year old kindergarten and then onto primary school the following year. So that was kind of where everything started.
Sophia Elliott: And so they were actually quite onto it. They realized he was a very bright kid.
Emily : I don’t know specifically what it was [00:08:00] like. I mean, so academically we always knew that he, he liked to learn. He loved books, he loved facts, he loved animals, and all those kinds of things, puzzles. But they, it was actually more of a social need that they were sort of suggesting to us.
So they he was in a three, four combined room at his childcare center. And they just told us that basically all of his friends were all of the older children and that he would, he would really be lost when those children move on to school the following year. And they thought that would, you know, would basically be damaging to.
And he’s, he’s a very social kid and he, you know, whenever he goes to the playground, he always makes friends. Now we know is a, a gifted trait, but we didn’t think of it before, is that he does gravitate towards older children and for some reason they’re happy to have a four year old following them around and playing with them.
But then I think the really, sort of the like the second piece of interesting feedback we got was when we ended up speaking to his three-year-old kindergarten that he did separately to the childcare center. So he was in a [00:09:00] three-year-old, three-year-old program and they actually said, no, there’s, there’s no way he’s ready for school next year.
Socially he’s not getting along with the other children in his, in his group. And you know, he was sort of having meltdowns, like quite severe meltdowns. . And so they were actually sort of expressing quite a lot of concern for him. So I sort of had two very different perceptions of him. And then we sort of had to go exploring and yeah, that was when I kind of uncovered the term of giftedness and started to go down that
Sophia Elliott: path.
So he was struggling to get to connect with his same age peers in the three-year-old group, but in the other four-year-old group, he was kind of befriending the older kids and quite happy.
Emily : Yeah. So he was thriving in the childcare and then really struggling in the three-year-old group. And I think so I I had experienced the meltdowns at the kind at the kindergarten.
So, when I would drop him off in the mornings, he. just be [00:10:00] screaming and clinging to me, refusing to go. And we sort of, we put it down to separation anxiety, especially being in Melbourne, coming out of, you know, the, the pandemic and the lockdowns, um mm-hmm. . And yeah. So we sort of put it down to separation anxiety and thought that if we persevered that was in his best interests.
And I would literally have to sort of run out of the room whilst holding my baby. You know, and I’d be crying myself , like as soon as I got outta the room. Yeah. Cause it was quite distressing for us both, but I thought that, you know, he, that that would be better for him. Like, I, it feels crazy now, but it it seemed like he just, he needed that separation and that was the right thing for him.
But then when I sort of had this other feedback that he was actually thriving in the childcare center, it just sort of got some questions moving around in my head that something wasn’t quite right. Yeah.
Sophia Elliott: Yeah. And that really resonates.
So I had a similar experience with one of my kids and, and it was, and it was almost exactly the same. They were in run childcare [00:11:00] center with their same age peers and we had all sorts of, Struggles. It was actually really distressing and we ended up stopping. And, but that same child in another center where they had access to an, an older sibling, but then also older children to play with, was, was much happier.
And, and it can be really difficult to know as a parent because there are all these social norms around , you’ve just got to be firm and leave quickly. And, and I would do all the right things according to all of those social norms that we get told as parents. And, and really, , , when I had the hindsight and that understanding later on, berate myself as a parent for, you know, doing what at the time seemed completely, , Normal to do and, and was encouraged to do in terms of that kind of process.
But it was [00:12:00] really hard and, and we’ve had to do a lot of work with that child since then but it’s, it’s one of those things about parenting a gifted kid, which is really hard because you do what people tell you to do. You do what seems normal and you do what seems right and it doesn’t work.
But you don’t know yet why. Yeah. You know, and it just makes it really damn hard to. Do the right thing, because at that point, no one’s picking up on giftedness or, you know, divergence and these other issues necessarily. And everyone keeps ushering you in this sort of direction as a parent. And so you in good faith, are going on this journey
until I guess something happens or you get more information, something shifts. But but yeah, that, that really resonates with me as well. And yeah, and it’s just [00:13:00] hard, like it’s just hard.
Emily : And I think, like in our situation, we are fortunate that he was exposed to the kindergarten environment and the childcare environment so that we could sort of identify that something was working in one situation but not in the other.
And it kind of gave us, , more information to sort of empower us with our decisions, um mm-hmm. , but I think that if he was just at the kindergarten, we would’ve stayed on that path and just, , put it down to separation anxiety and then, , that probably would’ve snowballed into, , other issues and bigger issues.
So, yeah, I think that, yeah, we were really, , really lucky to have both of those environments. Yeah,
Sophia Elliott: definitely. So you’ve gone through this experience with childcare in kindie you. You now know that your child is gifted, you’ve had an assessment, so you’ve kind of got a sense of certainty about in some ways, I guess, you know, what you’re, what you’re dealing with.
And w so what made you make [00:14:00] the decision to actually go ahead with the assessment or go down that path?
Emily : I, so after we sort of had these this feedback from the childcare center in the kindergarten, we then had a meeting with the school that we had that was on our plan that we’d picked out. And so it was a local private school and he was on the list to start there in 2024.
So we met with the principal and just they did sort of a quick prep readiness assessment with him and. , the first thing that we noticed was that he, like my son, loved it. Like he, you know, was really engaged, really loved being asked all those questions. And just like, he just thought it was fun.
And he, you know, he knew all of the answers. And for us, like we were watching him and sort of not like we knew that he knew them. There was nothing challenging there. And I don’t, I don’t necessarily, even now I don’t know what’s expected of a child going into their first year of school, what they’re expected to know.
So, you know, and I think similar to other gifted people or parents of gifted kids, you kind of think like, oh, they’re just giving like the [00:15:00] basic test or something. Yeah. And so they said, yeah, no, he’s academically, he’s more than ready to start school. He would be at the top of his class. And then me being the type of person that I am where I want.
As much information about something as possible, and I wanna make sure that I’m making an informed decision with all of the information. I then like found out about assessments and, and this sort of thing. I was lucky that throughout this process I actually had a friend whose daughter had already been identified as gifted at quite a young age.
So, you know, I was sending her questions daily to get some more information from her. And then through that, sort of found out about the assessments and I booked him in for a a sie. And we got in quite quickly for that, which was quite quite lucky, I think. And I went into that situation thinking like, you know, I, I didn’t necessarily expect a gifted like diagnosis or anything like that.
I just wanted to know. , her opinion of where he’s at. I just kind of, I don’t know, I just didn’t want my mom telling me [00:16:00] that, you know, he’s ready for school and I, I wanted somebody else to, you know, sort of verify that . Yeah. It wasn’t, you know, emotionally invested. And yeah, I was really surprised which I feel bad to say, but I was quite surprised.
But again, he, like, he loved it. Like he just thought that he was sitting there playing games for a couple of hours and he thought that it was, you know, the most fun thing ever. And so from that, yeah, he was identified as as gifted and then I was kind of like, okay, what do we, what do we do now? And the educational psychologist the big question that I had was, you know, do you think he should be going to school next year?
Like, do you think he’s ready for school next year? And she actually flipped that question on me and said, it’s not about when it’s about where, so now that you know that he’s gifted, , you now need to make a really considered decision about where you send into school. And I thought that this answer, you know, that this day, this assessment was going to , you know, almost close the chapter and be like, okay, you’ve got your answer now get on with your life.
But it was just [00:17:00] the beginning of
Sophia Elliott: everything and bravo to your psych for asking the right question. Like, that’s brilliant. Because that, that’s definitely the issue, isn’t it, with gifted kid, it’s like, where do they go to school? So a big journey for you guys and a lot of and like no, no one expects their kids to be gifted.
Yeah. Yeah. And I remember being in that place and it just felt very surreal. Definitely didn’t expect it. And. Yeah, there’s, there’s no real words to explain that moment. It, it, yeah. Other than just really surreal and weird and unexpected, I don’t know. But how are you feeling now that you’ve so in terms of the assessment, you’ve got some certainty.
Yeah. How does that feel? Yeah.
Emily : So I think we were a bit naive about everything that comes with it because we, we basically got the assessment and then just straight away went to the school that [00:18:00] we’d, we’d already chosen and just shared that information with them and just said, , Hey, we’ve got this information.
We just wanna understand how , what your approach is to this and that sort of thing. And, you know, whether we could have like a, a catch up to discuss and, , go from there just to make sure, I guess, that we had chosen the right school, but at that point we, we weren’t really considering.
anywhere else it was, , we thought we’d chosen the best school. And the principal basically wrote back to us and said, , there’s there’s no need for a meeting that , essentially all children are gifted in their own way. And we understand if we’re not the right school for you,
So yeah, we kind of, that was our first experience of like, oh wow, okay, this is this is a bit like, you know, like controversial I guess. Like, you know, it’s, yeah, it was a bit it made me then sort of, I guess, you know, hide in my shell a little bit and go, okay, this isn’t information that I necessarily want to just come out with upfront.
And it, yeah, made me hide a little bit, I guess. .
Sophia Elliott: Okay, so hang on. So you send the report to the principal and the [00:19:00] principal’s response was, , all kids are gifted in their own way. We understand if we’re not the school you wanna go ahead with
Emily : essentially. Yeah. Essentially. Yeah. Yeah. , that’s,
Sophia Elliott: , that’s quite an email response to here’s a psychological report for a gifted kid.
I didn’t even know what to say to that, but I mean, okay, let me gather myself because you, no one could see my face as you were telling me that the first time. . Okay. So in the first instance, that’s really disappointing because obviously what you want a principal to say is, you know, like, thanks, let’s have a chat.
Let’s talk about how we can meet your child’s needs. Acknowledging, you know, the report and the recommendations of the psychologist, I, I guess, is the kind of conversation you would wanna be having, not. , all kids are gifted in their own way. We might not be the school for you. So anyone who says all kids are gifted, and I [00:20:00] was literally at a school scoping out for my kids where I asked the principal, do you have any gifted kids here?
And their reply was, we have kids with many gifts. And I’m like, Hmm, red flag. Not the, not the correct answer. So it’s just kinda like, Nope, . And, and, which is incredibly disappointing as a parent. Okay. So what did you do next?
Emily : Well, I think, so this was, this was the big turning point for us because we, you know, we had a plan like at the beginning of the year.
We thought we knew when we were sending him to school mm-hmm. , and we thought we knew where we were sending him to school. Mm-hmm. . And then suddenly that had been brought forward by a year, which I guess as a mother I was sort of grieving that as well because Yeah. You know, I, like, I wanted more time with my with my son before he started school.
But then at the same time I felt like now we’ve got this pressure, we’ve gotta find another school. And , by this point it was, it was like August or September, so it was pretty late in the, in the school year. , to be doing tours and, and [00:21:00] reaching out to different schools. But yeah, so, we basically toured every school in Southeast Melbourne, to try and.
Find the right place, but also I think because we felt a bit scorned by the response from that principal, we didn’t want to necessarily come straight out and, you know, go on a school tour. Which quite often was, was with other parents and stuff as well. And we didn’t necessarily wanna come out and be like, so what’s your approach to gifted children?
So we were just kind of, we would go on the school tours and just like, look for hints, like, just like see if they mention things and you know, and just try and gauge a response from, from what they were saying without sort of openly asking those questions. And we, I was feeling a bit stuck actually.
I was feeling really like hopeless. Like there was, there was just no options around us. Like none of the schools seemed to be the right place. And. Yeah, just felt like, you know, I was looking into homeschooling just thinking like, how am I going to, how am I going to do this? And then somebody had [00:22:00] mentioned to me about a, a very small local school that, you know, accepts children outside of the zone.
So obviously all the schools are zoned. So this school does accept children outside the zone. And they said they’ve just got a new principal, like, , all these changes are happening, , go and have a look. And I went for a look and the straight off the bat, the principal. because I, I was talking to him about the fact that my son was, , a February birthday and he wouldn’t be five until until after he started the school year.
And then the principal was just like, oh, well, my daughter was early entry, so she actually started school when she was four. And she wasn’t like, she’s like a July birthday or something, and in Victoria that’s beyond the cutoff, so they had to actually request early entry for her. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So I was like, oh, that’s interesting.
So that was sort of a bit of a nice, you know. Yeah. Yeah.
Sophia Elliott: Nice to hear. Yeah. Yeah.
Emily : And then, , I sort of started to warm up to the idea of actually Yeah. , asking more questions and I was happy with his sort of openness and understanding to it. And I think as well, being a new principal, he [00:23:00] sort of wants to make his mark and mm-hmm.
, embed himself, I guess in that school. Yeah. And yeah, so that was just like a super positive experience meaning him and yeah. So we, we ultimately decided on, on that school. Yeah. Probably around October time. Yeah. So, yeah. Quite late into the year.
Sophia Elliott: Yeah, definitely. And so I just kind of wanna note as well, like on that journey, you’ve gone through there and it, it’s something that parents so often have to navigate.
It’s that sense of, , like it was completely appropriate for you to share that report with the principal, the first principal, right. And you should never have felt shut down by that and, or that you had to, like, we should never have to feel as parents that we, we have to navigate so carefully this fundamental part of who our kids are and the education that they need.
[00:24:00] And yet, Time and time again, as you’ve experienced as parents, we’re kind of put back in this box where we don’t feel like we can just say, this is my kid and this is what they need because it’s related to being gifted. I’m so pleased that you did find a little school and a principal who sounds like he has a dif gifted daughter who obviously gets it and is able to have that openness to it.
And, and, this is a part of the, the real challenge around having gifted kids because there is so many other things that could complicate education or challenges where people can just be upfront and say it and share their information. That giftedness has this very awkward, difficult thing to navigate.
So, you’re onto school too. And you’re starting that this year with your son, and when you reached out to me, it was, it was lots of sort of questions around that sort of first year of [00:25:00] school. First of all, how are you guys feeling about it now? Cautiously optimistic? ?
Emily : Yeah.
Pretty, pretty much sums it up. I think. We yeah, I’m a bit, I, I kind of don’t know what to expect. I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t really know what to expect and I I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he loves it. Again, I don’t really know what is expected of a, you know, a child going into their first year of school in terms of what they already know or what what level they’re at.
So, . I, I just feel like, , especially that first term I’m expecting, we’re gonna really learn a lot in terms of where he’s at, where he needs to be and what his needs are and how he responds to that. So ultimately for me it was , making sure that his teacher and his principal whether or not they have, , are, are familiar with gifted children already.
But just being open and understanding to like, working with us on whatever challenges we do face and just can’t, cause I, like, I can’t tell them what I’m expecting him to do or [00:26:00] how he’s gonna react. Yeah, I, , I just hope that, that we can work together and sort of navigate it together.
And I just, yeah. , I just don’t want him being flagged as like the naughty boy or a disruptive boy if he’s, , if he is bored or Being silly. So it’s just, , I don’t know if he’s going to be like that. Mm. But I just, yeah, I, I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m just hoping that he doesn’t sort of get like labeled as something that is not, or sort of, you know, put into some sort of bucket and seen as for his behaviors rather than what’s going on underneath.
Yeah. And I’m hopeful that, , that it will work out. But we are also we’re also very open and realistic with the possibility of, , maybe this is just a prep decision. And after his first year of school, we’ll know a lot more about how he reacts to school, how he goes, what his needs are, and then with that information we might make a different decision by the end of the year.
So we’re kind of just open to, , seeing how everything goes,
Sophia Elliott: which is a great place to be. And I think an important one. With a gifted [00:27:00] kid because sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn’t go so well. And I was actually talking to another parent this morning who’s gonna come and have a chat with us.
And one of the things she was saying upon reflection, and she now has a, a teen child, was wishing she hadn’t been so patiently waiting for the school to sort the stuff out and had been a bit more assertive and confident in that assertion. , because sometimes we do need to make the difficult decision of moving schools with gifted kids.
And that’s not, it’s never an easy decision.
[00:28:00] okay, let’s start the beginning. So one of the questions, you know, we sort of had a chat about was, when is the right time to start school? You know, and, and quite rightly you’d sort of said that you know, there’s a lot of general advice out there about boys starting a little bit later.
We’ve already, early entry has come up, so it’s kind of like, well, what should gifted kids do? And, and as a parent I mean maybe it’s just me, but certainly as a parent, what I really love is when someone just says, here is an answer and this is just how it is and it’s gonna work. , and I can’t give you that because the reality is, when is the right time to start school is going to be different for every kid, you know, there’s maturity, there’s, when they’re [00:29:00] born, there’s the, the personalities.
It’s how they express their giftedness. So there’s no clean answer about the when. . But if we think about what we know, right? The reality is no matter what age our kids are, or age or stage, the one thing we need to do as parents, as grownups in their life is meet their needs at that point in time. And we know that gifted kids, you know, are gifted from birth , there, there’s, and are going to be gifted, right?
Until they clock out. Like there is this doesn’t come and go. So it’s always a thing. And so, so at all times they’re needing to learn and operate where they’re at. And, and that goes for a two year old, an [00:30:00] eight year old, a 10 year old, a 40 year old, a 60 year old. Like we’re always needing to. Exist and interact with the world wherever we’re at.
But what we also know about kids, and, and I kind of wanna say especially in those early years, but not even, it is just any child at any age, is when things aren’t going well, when they’re not getting those needs met. They do communicate that to us, but not always in words. It’s in their behavior, it’s in their mental health.
Or it might be through gifted kid burnout, which is a thing, and I’ll touch on that briefly. So basically, wherever they they’re at, we need to meet them where they’re at, and they’re gonna let us know if their needs aren’t being met via their behavior or their mental health and their burnout state, you know, as an example.
[00:31:00] So, or I would say to a parent of a gifted kid who’s in those early years of, you know, 3, 4, 5 in that kind of getting into that school age is no matter where they’re going, their intellectual academic needs need to, need to be met. And and whatever that looks like for that child might be different. You might be able to meet those academic needs through a really great kindie.
You might need to go, actually we need to meet those academic needs through early entry or or, or we’re, we are getting away with it because of birthdays or whatever it might look like. It’s like for that child, how are we meeting those needs? And this is something as well that you can look out for in those first few years of school.
, if you get to a point where like the wheels are falling off, , the behavior shifts you start to have concerns about mental health then they’re the red flags to [00:32:00] say the needs aren’t being met. , and the kinds of behaviors that parents talk about is the teachers will be like, oh, he’s fine at school.
But then you get to the car or the school gate and they’re already melting down, or you get home and there is a shift in behavior. Or they get home and they’re voraciously trying to meet their cognitive need to learn because they’re not getting that at school. And, and they’re the sort of things that parents will report of kids in those early years of schooling that are those sort of red flags that let us know that while they’re at school, they’re not being met.
Intellectually and, and therefore potentially also socially and emotionally. Because what we also know is that, , there’s this kind of myth around that social and emotional growth of a gifted kid. And, and it can look like there is a social [00:33:00] emotional delay and sometimes that’s just compared to this very advanced intellectual.
So when you compare it to where they are intellectually, it can feel like a delay, but actually maybe it’s just age appropriate. Or maybe it’s in response to really struggling to connect with same age peers. Because they’re not able to connect intellectually. And what they’re desperately needing is a buddy, be it their age or older, who can, they can connect with intellectually as a gifted kid.
You know? So you’ll often see a reason used for refusing acceleration for gifted kids is, oh, we’re worried about the social emotional wellbeing. They’re not connecting with their same age peers. So we don’t think they’ve got the social maturity to, for acceleration and or they’re not showing us what they can do at school.
So we are not going to accelerate them. And all of that is wrong. And the [00:34:00] research shows that. And the proof, , gifted Edge shows us that, cuz what is actually happening is they’re not coping in those environments cuz their needs aren’t being met and they’re not gonna show you what they can do.
Cuz what you’re doing is boring them into their soul. Not like it’s Christmas holidays and I’m bored, mom. It’s like, , it’s completely different type of boredom. And so they’re not gonna show you what you need to do is give them harder challenging, you need to meet them where they’re at, right? But also meeting them where they’re at socially as well with peers that are like intellectual peers.
And then you, you’ll see shifts. So in these early years, there are various red flags that, that we can look out for that are indicators. And the best thing to know how your kid is going is they’re happi at school and they’re happy at home. You know that. Yeah. That, you know, that’s the best thing that that can ever [00:35:00] sort of, the litmus test, basically.
And it is really tricky. And it, it can also depend on your child’s level of giftedness and. If listeners haven’t listened to the two episodes we did to Cantara Phillips, we talk about the levels very candidly. And, and it is important to have this knowledge, but, and I say this with the caveat of accurate assessment knowledge because not all assessments are equal.
There can be inconsistencies in assessing kids at that under the age of five in particular, but at those early ages. So if you are confident that your assessment is an accurate picture of your child, it can indicate their level of giftedness. So you can have a false negative but not false positive.
So you can’t fake a 99.9 percentile result, but you can have a very bad day and come out in the 90th when you’re actually [00:36:00] quite higher, you know? So, and what those levels can help us understand is. A child at the 99.9 percentile is going to need something quite different. There are literally standard deviations difference between that child and a gifted kid in the 90th percentile, for example.
And a gifted kid in the 90th percentile may be accommodated very well at a, at a school with an enrichment program. Whereas a kid 99th point, ninth percentile is most likely going to need acceleration, possibly even. What are they calling it now? Not extreme radical acceleration is the term that’s come up, , which makes it sound very radical, but it’s actually just what the kids need.
Right. So, I’m gonna put in the link. I did have a little bit of a Google. There’s a really nice article from the A A E G T, which is the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented, and they’ve got a really lovely article [00:37:00] there about. Early entry early entry to primary, and it’s just got some great things in there.
So if you are kind of in that situation, a really lovely article to have a look at. So when it comes to when is the right time the answer is it depends, but gifted kids always need to be met where they’re at. And so most, I would say gifted kids do need to. I would say start on time rather than be delayed.
Or start earlier, depending where they’re at and what kind of options are around, especially kids I think, who are already reading before they go to school. And another red flag in terms of what kind of response your school is going to get can come early in that journey. You know, if your child is reading chapter books at home and at school has given the cat, sat on the mat then you know, you’ve, you’re gonna [00:38:00] have issues there.
And there are also many, many stories like far too many, quite honestly, stories from parents where their child is in that first year of school or the second year of school reading at a very advanced level. But the teacher and or librarian is refusing to give them literature at their level because they don’t want them to get ahead or they don’t think it’s appropriate.
But it’s kind of like, well, this is where the kid is at. You need to meet them where they’re at. So you need to find something that you feel is appropriate. But you can’t give them the cat sat on the mat cuz they’re gonna get bored out their brain. And you may well see behavior issues and things like that.
I feel like I’m talking a lot in this episode. ,
Emily : I was gonna say as well in terms of I guess choosing or for us choosing the right time, like which year to send to school. This has been as a parent especially prior to the sort of [00:39:00] uncovering of giftedness one of the hardest decisions that I’ve been, you know, pondering on for years, like literally the last three years, which year am I going to send him?
Because I’ve had so much feedback of like, oh, I’ll send him me. And then all of the, you know, general advice is always like, no, they’re better off going later. Think about when they’re a teenager, he’s a boy, blah, blah, blah. And I’ve so many times just been like, I hate the fact that he’s a February birthday and that I have a choice.
I wish I didn’t have a choice. I wish he was, , born in August and it was just a done deal. Yeah. But then that changed this year when, , we did decide to send him to school next year. And I was grateful that we had the choice. And I still did get some pushback, like when we were trying to find a new four year old kindergarten for him.
Some of the kindergartens I spoke to were really judgemental and, , Yeah, just not, not very nice to talk to about it. And so I had to find the right place. That was, , that was basically the teacher was saying, you are, , you are his mom. I know you wouldn’t be making this decision lightly.
No one would want to be [00:40:00] changing their child’s , group this late in the year. So I know that you’ve, , you’ve obviously thought hard about it. And they embraced him. And so I was grateful that I could make that decision without having to go down that path, I guess, of early entry or requesting any, approval to do that.
Mm-hmm. , but then since he did change kindergartens, there was not a single day that he had a meltdown at drop off. I never had to run away from him. Mm-hmm. . He, , immediately made friends with, , all the kids there. Some days I would drop him off later just because of our schedule, and the kids would literally run to the gate.
There would be no less than 10 kids, , screaming at his name when he came to the gate, and that was just so. I guess comforting and validating in terms of that decision. And so I think that that’s kind of empowered me and prepared me for, , what’s to come in his schooling journey to say if we do come up with a situation where we are going to be asking for acceleration or a grade skip or anything like that, I’ve already seen firsthand the impact that can [00:41:00] have.
And I’m not gonna be patient , , I’m gonna advocate for it because I’ve, I’ve seen, I’ve seen what happens if, , if his needs aren’t being met in that way. So, mm-hmm. , that was really insightful I think for us to sort of experience
Sophia Elliott: and what you mentioned earlier about being labeled the naughty kid or the bad kid.
These things are really important. And again, I’ll put in the show notes the episode that we did with Geraldine Townsend about self-concept because her research was with twice exceptional. Students so gifted with something else going on. And it showed, , at very young ages, their experience of education in the world was affecting their sense of self and who they were because they were going to school.
They could see that they didn’t fit in like other kids. They could see that they were getting in trouble more often than other kids. They weren’t, as much as they wanted to do the right [00:42:00] thing, they weren’t doing the right thing like other kids and whatever that was. And so they were developing this sense of self that they were somehow naughty or bad or different or broken.
And from a really early age. And so one other thing that I would say is often schools. They will wait until year three to do like assessments around giftedness and, for acceleration and enrichment, like it’s just not okay because what research like Geraldine has done shows us is from a, a much earlier age, we can be doing damage by not meeting their needs.
what a great episode that was, and that was just part one part two, and we’ll drop tomorrow. And we talk about where, where do you find these good schools for gifted kids? What should your expectations be? And more so stay tuned and catch that tomorrow. Bye. If you [00:43:00] enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments. For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast, please leave a review. You can find show notes and more firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.
See you in the same place next week.