What is intelligence in a 5 year old?

(56 Posts)
AutumnGlory Thu 29-Nov-12 22:01:26

In your opinion, what makes a 5 year old bright, clever, average, mediocre?

bruffin Fri 30-Nov-12 12:41:41

If you want to try and assess it I would look at things like ability to grasp concepts and abstract ideas and extrapolate from them. Ability to plan ahead. Complexity of imaginary play perhaps.

Yes to this

My DS is 17 and similar to Chaz and has SLD, at 5 way behind his intelligence at reading and writing. Once he got to year 7 clicked with reading and passed most of those that were reading well in reception.
Year 4 teacher said he was asking questions about science that she had to go home and look up. Year 6 got high Sats in maths, reading and science but only just scraped a 4 in writing.
Starts secondary in top sets for everything, teachers say he is gifted in science and the ability to analyse and comprehend and say he is Oxbridge material because of the question he asks. Got As in the difficult subjects for gcses but the odd C or B as well.

Now in 6th form and doing Maths , Further Maths and Physics and Philosophy and has a small enginering scholarship for 6th form which is for those that have been identified as a future leader of industry.

anothercuppaplease Fri 30-Nov-12 12:42:10

I have two boys (5 and 7) and they are both bright for different reasons.
DS1 is popular, can play with anyone, will make friends in seconds, can construct an argument and negotiate like an adult, he always puts his hand up to ask questions, he loves drama, singing, dancing, loves to try new food, experiment, is OK reader and good at maths but loves PE more than anything else. In my opinion, he is a bright child (and also very handsome...)

DS2 is brilliant at maths, shy and has a speech disorder but very good at observing, has amazing memory (will draw something at home that he saw in a book at the library, and will position the objects correctly, for example). He is a very good reader and he understands numbers (he can count in 3s, backwards, for example and add up numbers such as 16+22 within about 5 seconds). He is very creative, makes up robots, toy clocks, etc. He doesn't put his hand up in class, he doesn't like to talk in front of others. He is in my opinion, a very bring child (and also, very handsome...)

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 13:00:57

However, is academic ability directly proportional to long term success?
If you look at all the really successful people in life are confident and ready to grab life by the balls. Those characteristics are the most important to develop.

exexpat Fri 30-Nov-12 13:13:35

I would have thought the delayed gratification thing would also apply to business success - you're not going to get very far if you eat all your marshmallows the moment you get them...

But business success may often require a slightly different kind of intelligence from that needed to do well academically, or perhaps a different personality type.

anothercuppaplease Fri 30-Nov-12 13:14:42

Some of them will, lonecat, but others will become programmers, computer geeks, and be excellent at jobs that require less social interaction. Or concert pianists... which is what I think DS2 will become! smile

It also depends on what we all mean by successful - or really successful. DH is a teacher, a very good teacher and he is successful, in his own opinion and most people who know him will say so, but it's not in the 'really successful' category. He is happy with hos career and good at it, but we don't exactly own a porche...

AngelOne Fri 30-Nov-12 13:34:54

What lonecat said. Academic ability is not always related to long term success. I know some very clever people who clearly "underachieved" in life (but whether they're actually bothered about that is a different matter). I also know some not so bright people who are extremely successful and have got to the top of their field in their career or hobbies.

Also there's different types of intelligence. Emotional intelligence is often overlooked but I would argue that good people skills will get you further in many areas in life (including friends, relationships) than being good at maths.

The people I know who have done well seem to have the same qualities. The most noticeable is that they are extremely ambitious and have huge amounts of drive and energy. They are prepared to work really hard, put many hours in. They also seem to really enjoy what they do and have a lot of self-confidence or self-belief.

I would also argue that good mental health is important. I have seen many talented children who've gone on to completely underachieve as adults due to chronic mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and very low self esteem.

hardboiled Fri 30-Nov-12 14:12:20

OP, why do you want to know how intelligent your 5 year old is? Supposedly, they will tell you in his school how he/she is doing academically, within his age group, etc. Alternatively you could spend lots of money on a psychologist who lives off parents obsessions to tell you his/her IQ.

However, hopefully the school will also tell you whether he/she is tolerant, sociable, generous, flexible, adaptable, patient, self-confident, merciful, nice...

Those are all important thing too that should make you proud. Why is everyone obsessed with having a genius?

And if you had one, you would now by now. Just love him/her, support him/her and let him/her surprise you.

madwomanintheattic Fri 30-Nov-12 14:20:46

Ds1's teacher did the delayed gratification test with those strawberry laces. She handed them out in the morning and said anyone who had any left at the end of the day could have another one.

I had to pick ds1 up five minutes early to get to a psych appointment. He moaned and whined for an entire hour because he had an inch of lace left and couldn't claim his prize.

His appointment at the psych was linked with ADHD. He has known and rampaging issues with delayed gratification.

He is also a sugar addict.

The child had spent the entire day unable to work at all in school, because his sole focus was the strawberry lace.

Fwiw, he has an iq of 138 and was indeed doing quite complex maths at 3... But he's going to leave school with bog all qualifications as no one can motivate him to do any actual school work. grin

hardboiled Fri 30-Nov-12 14:47:49

sorry for typo: "know by now"

AutumnGlory Fri 30-Nov-12 22:44:58

Hi, thanks for the answers, I didn't check all the links nor read all the replies yet, just wanted to say that I posted the OP as a way to find out how to nurture and encourage my daughter and support her in her interests. She is still learning how to read and the teacher said she is were she should be at her learning, she is very actives, sociable, curious, emotionally intense, creative and she lies a lot. Not long ago she managed to trick all her teachers and the office lady too. I will come back tomorrow. Cheers

MrsJamin Sat 01-Dec-12 07:03:19

Lying is a good sign of intelligence!

rabbitstew Sat 01-Dec-12 08:42:11

Well, if we'd sorted out what pure intelligence really is at any age, we'd all be better off, but clearly we haven't. There are as many opinions on what is most important and why on earth you are measuring it anyway, as there are psychologists in the world, imo...

AutumnGlory Sat 01-Dec-12 11:22:34

If lying is a good sign of intelligence, how to handle them when they lie?

MrsJamin Sat 01-Dec-12 13:53:51

You've just got to be hard on them about it, make them understand why you don't lie and what the repercussions are. DS1 went through a phase of lying and you have to nip it in the bud.

rabbitstew Sat 01-Dec-12 14:21:21

If you know they're lying to you, they aren't very good at it, which really isn't very clever at 5-years old, imo. grin

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 07:57:47

It seems to me people care confusing ability with "intelligence"

Psychology Today defines

What is Intelligence?

Reading a road map upside-down and generating synonyms for the word "brilliant" are two very different skills. But each is a measurable indicator of general intelligence, a construct that includes problem solving abilities, spatial manipulation and language acquisition. Scientists generally agree that intelligence can be captured by psychometric tests. But the study of intelligence is dogged by questions of just how much IQ contributes to an individual's success and well-being, how genes and environment interact to generate smarts and why the average IQ score rose throughout the world during the twentieth century.

Howard Gardener believes there are nine different types of intelligence

The Nine Types of Intelligence

By Howard Gardner


1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)


Designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.


2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)


Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.



3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)


Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.

4. Existential Intelligence


Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.


5. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart”)


Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.


6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)


Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.


7. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)


Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.


8. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart”)


Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.


9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)


Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.



From: Overview of the Multiple Intelligences Theory.

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 08:00:59

When my dd was 5 she left a fridge door open. When asked to close it, she said "Oooh, yes, we don't want grandma's flat to get all cold, do we?" I think that shows true genius.....

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 08:27:05

seeker when my son was in primary he asked his teacher "why do I need to write it down? I know the answer and you know I know the answer, so isn't it a waste of both our time?" he was 6 grin

soundevenfruity Sun 02-Dec-12 08:27:36

By the way the marshmallow test had a followup to identify what allows children to last 15 minutes. And it was consistency of their parents: if they promised something they fulfilled the promise in the way they said they would. Ability to delay gratification is not a sign of intelligence but a predictor for doing well in life because it makes learning easier.

Early (than would be expected in normal development) lying is a predictor though because it requires constructing an alternative reality to specific parameters and taking into account other person's point of view. So that requires a dose of emotional intelligence and sort of 3D view of a situation.

Ronaldo Sun 02-Dec-12 08:43:56

It has always been my understanding ( oldas I am) that intelligence in children is no so fixed as in adults. A measure of it is usually gained by comparisons of a childs cronological age as compared to the "mental" age
(this is done by comparing mental reasoning abilities) with standardised assessments of what the modal average child will achieve at a particular age.

Piaget formulated it many moons ago. MA/CA .100 = IQ.

It still holds.

How do I know my DS is intelligent? He has abilities which most children several years older have and are not displayed by the modal child in his age group. ( Simples - or not).

Hamishbear Sun 02-Dec-12 09:23:36

Re: Howard Gardner (quoted above) problem is we ascribe higher status to some forms of intelligence. Same with the learning styles in the classroom that were in vogue a while back. A sense of logic & verbal skills are highly valued & 'visual' learners sadly seen as inherently brighter than other types (at least IME).

Also some seemed to see learning styles & 'intelligences' as inherently fixed rather than as a snapshot of 'now' in a child.

Ronaldo Sun 02-Dec-12 09:25:21

There is little or no real scientific evidence to support either Gardners multiple inteligences or Learning Styles - so why education persists in riolling this stuff out I do not know. Maybe its a feel good factor?

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 09:53:48

The OP asked the question "What is intelligence in a 5 year old?" and the simple answer is it depends on your definition of intelligence.
Using your definition based on Piage (incidentally attempts to correlate Piagetian task results with intelligence test scores has had very mixed results) would confirm my SEN son is highly intelligent (feel good factor) yet I know he will struggle in life because he lacks what Gardener terms "Intra-personal & Interpersonal Intelligence" so science or not these factors impact of future success.

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 09:56:17

Research carried out by CREC (Chris Pascal and Tony Bartram) identify dispositions and attitude to be the best early childhood indicator of future success over academic ability

lljkk Sun 02-Dec-12 10:04:08

I like the idea of being smart at different types of things, though. I am mechanically declined, can't hear music properly, poor eye for design, electronics defeats me, I'm probably socially inept, too.

Hand me a calculus problem, cost-benefit analysis, ask me to write something or learn a language, then fine, I'm easily away.

Of the indicators that people suggested, like facility with math, talked early, high focus, easily bored, extremely good at jigsaws, asks right questions or delayed gratification: My (quite) brightest child doesn't fit them all and my academically weakest child fits many of them.

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