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?

germyrabbit Thu 29-Nov-12 22:07:49

in my opinion, all 5 years olds are bright clever and intelligent!

AutumnGlory Thu 29-Nov-12 22:19:33

I know, I just can't express myself properly - I'm forrein- I guess I'm just trying to find out how intelligent my 5 year old is...what do I need to observe? Writing? Reading? Drawing? Speech? Social skills??

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 29-Nov-12 22:30:26

It would seem that the single biggest indication of long term academic ability is maths level at this age. Or at least this what I have gleaned from the large numbers of studies that I have read.

AutumnGlory Thu 29-Nov-12 22:37:35

Oh, I see ..

Mominatrix Thu 29-Nov-12 22:40:46

Hmmm, I read that it is the ability to delay gratification which is the biggest predictor of academic success as a young age, also ability to persevere.

joanbyers Fri 30-Nov-12 00:28:15

doing calculus innit.

AutumnGlory Fri 30-Nov-12 09:32:17

Can you explain a little bit more 'the ability to delay gratification'..?

I have an 8 yo and a very nearly 6yo. I think both are bright but possibly the 6yo is brighter (but may well be a bit of a coaster and doesn't have work ethic of older one).

He is always interested in things, and wrt maths, will often interrupt when I am quizzing his brother....and often gets things right first!

I'd love to know what they will turn out like long term....but it is just fun seeing them develop.

At parents' evening the older one's teacher said she really enjoyed having proper conversations with my son. Goodness kknows what he is talking about, but quite possibly politics (basic level), Barack Obama....whatever we have been on about the previous weekend. Is that intelligence or being precocious?

Agree with mominatrix as a measure of academic achievement.
Raw intelligence is all just potential unless harnessed.
The best thing you can do at 5 is foster consistency and perseverance.

My 4.5 year old taught herself to read and write ( still very basic), is doing number bonds to 5, can occasinally skip count in 3s, 5s, 10s and has the intuition about concepts like multiplication, division and fractions (grouping)
We are also a multilingual family.

Now i only know this is a bit advanced because i have a 9 year old who could not do half that that at that age but is nonetheless very academic because he has a very high capacity to focus and likes a challenge.
Will she outdo him? Am really not sure unless we work really hard on taming her temper! She's so fickle where he was always slow and methodical.

bruffin Fri 30-Nov-12 10:09:40

I would have thought it was the type of questions they ask would be a major indicator.

Fedup, sounds like we have the same specimens!

exexpat Fri 30-Nov-12 10:11:16

AutumnGlory - the link between ability to delay gratification and later academic success comes from this experiment where children were offered the choice between a small treat now (eg one marshmallow) and a bigger treat if they wait. There was a strong link between ability to wait and the children's later performance in school.

exexpat Fri 30-Nov-12 10:16:12

But of course what that really shows is that academic performance is about more than raw intelligence: it involves self-control/persistence etc too.

The ability to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow may be correlated to some extent with intelligence (= ability to think through possible scenarios, devise ways to distract yourself from eating etc), but I am sure that plenty of children with high IQs are impulsive and would eat it as soon as the researcher left the room. Those are possibly the high IQ children who might underperform academically because they do not have the sustained concentration you need to do well in exams etc.

deXavia Fri 30-Nov-12 10:16:41

My DS 6 opens his eyes and starts to wonder about Egyptian burials or dark matter or South American rain forests - but struggles to read and write and has the attention span of a gnat (unless its Lego!) but DD at 4 is determined to get everything right and learn exactly what her brother is. I'd say DS is 'brighter' but I'm putting my money on DD achieving world domination grin

Startail Fri 30-Nov-12 10:21:36

delayed gratification

The toddler version is done with sweets, but thinking about it accepting you need to work at school to get a university place is a very long term version of the same thing.

As for 5 yearolds, I guess being curious, lively but still able to listen and confident to try new things.

Usually quite chatty, but not always. Some bright DCs are pretty quiet, but there is a twinkle in their eyes that says they are taking it all in. Also the quiet ones generally give it away by building the best lego model, doing an amazing drawing or coming up with a very astute question.

Less bright children just seem less interested in the world.

acebaby Fri 30-Nov-12 11:53:06

I did the marshmallow experiment on my 4yo DS2. He took the marshmallow, hollowed it out with his little finger, attempted to reconstruct the outside and pretended he hadn't eaten it - so he could get another one hmm. I dread to think what that says about his future prospects or intelligence.

exexpat Fri 30-Nov-12 12:06:14

grin at acebaby's DS. I'm sure he has a very bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately, lying is also a sign of intelligence.

dinkybinky Fri 30-Nov-12 12:16:03

My DD was considered bright at 5 by her teachers. She knew all her tables, could write stories, could spell most words, basic fractions, long +,-,x , fluent reader etc. She ended up sitting GCSEs and A levels 2 years early she’s now at Oxford.

You've got a future prime minister there!

acebaby Fri 30-Nov-12 12:22:35

well he must be a genius then! Off to post about his precocious and prodigious ability on the g&t board...

rotavirusrita Fri 30-Nov-12 12:24:26

hmmmm I thought there was a very simple way to determine intelligence at age 5.....
obviously any 5 yr old who has a parent who posts on mumsnet is always a genius who is destined to breeze throught reading schemes at a breakneck speed/ fly through the 11 plus/ get a string of A's at GCSE/... thats right isnt it?

Reading and writing can be a poor indicator at 5 for example because some children don't have the motor skills to write well.

Why are you concerned about your child's intelligence at 5? Its difficult to assess especially by looking at "academic" performance because that can be affected by factors other than intelligence.

If you had looked at DS1's academic performance at 5 it was way below average because he is mildly dyslexic. He is now in Yr5 (aged 9) and has caught up completely and has started to pass some of the children that were way ahead at an earlier age.

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.

dinkybinky Fri 30-Nov-12 12:32:58

identifying characteristics

Reasons well and learns rapidly
• Has extensive vocabulary and talked early
• Early or avid reader
• Asks lots of questions and learns more quickly than others
• Has a very retentive memory
• Is extremely curious and can concentrate for long periods on subjects of interest
• Perseverant in their interests
• Has a wide general knowledge and interest in the world
• Enjoys problem-solving, often missing out the intermediate stages in an argument
and making original connections
• Has an unusual and vivid imagination
• Is intense and shows strong feelings and opinions
• Concerned with justice and fairness
• Has an odd sense of humour
• Sets high standards and is a perfectionist
• Loses interest when asked to do more of the same
• Is sensitive (feelings hurt easily)
• Shows compassion and is morally sensitive
• Has a high degree of energy
• Prefers older companions or adults
• Judgement mature for age at times
• Is a keen observer
• Is highly creative
• Tends to question authority
• Has facility with numbers
• Extremely good at jigsaw puzzles

headfairy Fri 30-Nov-12 12:33:59

You learn something new every day on mumsnet. That experiement is so interesting!

Hands up who's going to be offering their 5 year olds a sweet this afternoon with the promise of one 15 minutes later? grin

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.

lljkk Sun 02-Dec-12 10:07:30

MRZ do you have a link to neat summary of the Pascal & Bertram findings?

Xenia Sun 02-Dec-12 10:22:56

We certainly do hold some of those Pyschology Today intelligence indicators in higher regard than others and of course success is something different people define in different ways too.

Those of us posting with older children can look back at how they were at 5. I suppose we got ours into top 10 academic single sex selective schools at 4 or 5 after a stiff test which most people failed so the schools which seem to be able to pick bright children pretty well after decades of doing so much have some good hints on what you can see at age 5. Someone posted a good list above of things that seem to count.

So I suppose one test is can they get into a top 10 selective school at age 4. If they can they may be bright. If no one will have them as they curl into a ball and cry or kick the teacher or cannot even old a pencil or recognise the first letter of their name they might not be although as said above many develop later.

Elibean Sun 02-Dec-12 10:27:57

I remember a question in an Oxbridge entrance paper being 'what is intelligence, and can it be measured?' back in 1978.

They always liked to ask questions which didn't have, and never would have, a clear cut answer!

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 10:46:31

lljkk I'm not sure if the research is freely available on line. I attended a conference where Chris Pascal presented the findings

dorapeppageorgenoddy Sun 02-Dec-12 12:45:03

Dated but quite interesting is the Draw a person test (DAP) or draw a man test - have a google; age range 3.3 to about 7.6 and has been used since about 1924 - not saying good or bad but quite interesting...

Gardener's Multiple intelligence has been supported by research into emotional intelligence (EQ) and for children to succeed they do of course need a good EQ...

Another fun 'test' to do at home based on creativity and emotional thought in younger children although I can't remember the author is the cat and dog test -

Give your child (best between 5 and 7 year old) a blank piece of paper and some writing/drawing tools and explain to them or draw on your paper a cat and a dog and a line between them and say the cat and dog live next door to each other but they are sad and don't get on; can you draw a way of making them friends.....

There is one answer that demonstrates amazing emotional intelligence but also a range of others that demonstrate to the parent/teacher that child's learning style as what they come up with is a good window....

lucysnowe Mon 03-Dec-12 09:29:13

IIRC the marshmellow test has been somewhat discredited as it was suggested (quite reasonably) that children from chaotic households were more likely to grab the second maeshmallow immediately - having the usual experience oof not necessarily knowing where their next meal was coming from sad so like many of these tests, social background counts for more than you think - it's very hard IMO to ever factor it out... same with intelligence.

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