Wow...nursery just told us they are pretty sure DS3 is gifted! So what now?

(70 Posts)
KirstyJC Wed 26-Feb-14 19:22:35

DS3 will be 3 at the end of March. Today nursery told us that they are fairly certain that he is gifted and they are moving him into the group that are preparing for school in terms of learning and activities. (With the 4 year olds).

He can: write his name using foam letters (9 letters long) with one letter back to front (p instead of b), he can count to 20 and read numbers to 10. He knows all his colours (except grey for some reason), is able to hold a pen properly, can tell the time, and is doing a bit of phonics. He can tell past, present and future, follows the timeline in a story and converses at an advanced level. Eg hurry up X it is nearly 4 o'clock and time for tea - said to nursery staff at 3.55 before they even mentioned or started preparing for the meal. He can draw figures and drew himself next to DH who was bigger, he understands more than, less than, bigger and smaller.

In fact he is currently negotiating bedtime with DH who has said it is in 3 minutes - DS has just said 'how about 5 minutes'. (DS wongrin)

We asked him how many colours he could think of and he named 5 or 6 in a row.

Apparently we need to ensure we stimulate him otherwise he could have behaviour issues due to boredom. They have given us lots of ideas, and with a 5 and 10 year old brothers that should be fine.

But is there anything else that people can suggest that we do with him? We had noticed that he seems very advanced for his age, but with older siblings we just put it down to that. We are planning to ask the school at parents' evening next week (for both other DSes) what their phonics system is so that we can get him started, which was one of nursery's suggestions. But what else?

mercibucket Wed 26-Feb-14 21:27:30

i would ignore teaching him anything and concentrate on physical and emotional skills at that age, so games, sports and ball catching.

HanSolo Wed 26-Feb-14 21:30:41

Aw- he sounds great!

I want a toddler! <stamps foot> I love that age (tantrums and all!) smile

Youngest is 5 now, and he's acting so mature hmm

KirstyJC Wed 26-Feb-14 21:38:21

Oh he does tantrums all right - he gets really stroppy and then sits on the step with his head in his hands and sighs theatrically! It's hilariousgrin.

Meita Thu 27-Feb-14 16:53:49

Hi Kirsty, my DS was similar at that age (apart from reading the time, but with some other things thrown in), and is now 3 1/2 so about 7 months older.
I think he is advanced for his age but not extremely so, still within the range of 'normal'. There are definitely some much more advanced kids around here on MN ;) (As people are always quick to point out) but I don't think that the fact that there are some extremely clever kids out there changes anything about the fact that my (and by the sounds of it, yours too) DS is more advanced, academically, than most kids of their age.

Looking back, I think it's amazing the amount of things he has learned in the past half year. Just for you to have something to look forward to smile
- Whereas he knew the letters, their names and sounds in two languages, at age 3, and could write his name and 2 or 3 other words; 4 months later he was reading first books.
- from being able to count to 20 in one language (30 in the other), and recognising numbers 1-10, he went to counting and recognising 1-100, using number lines and other strategies for simple additions and subtractions, learning some number bonds, instantly recognising amounts up to 6 (without counting), knowing and being able to describe 2d and 3d shapes, etc.
- He has also learned in that timeframe to use a toilet by himself, has become much more confident at friendships, and has learned to balance bike. He has grappled with the concept of death and dying, has learnt more about dinosaurs than I ever knew, and has learned to put on his own socks. He has discovered the joys of toilet humour and of making things for other people.

Given that nursery school have given you suggestions for what you can do with him (I'm assuming mainly literacy and numeracy focused), I'd say look at those and try to identify the 'gaps'. For instance is there anything that nurtures creativity? Fine motor skills? Gross motor skills? Exploring the real world? Problem solving? Imagination? Social interactions?

FWIW I really enjoy watching my DS learn. I'll be sorry when he starts school (in just 6 months… eek!) and I won't be able to observe his learning so closely anymore. So I'd say to you, enjoy the time you have with him now, and follow his interests; so if he wants to learn to read, I wouldn't hesitate. Would you rather he found YR boring, or that he found the time with you boring because you wouldn't help him learn what he wanted to? And anyway, the time actually spent 'learning' in YR is minimal. And it is 18 months away for your DS - the way he is now, do you really think he won't at least be starting to read before that, whatever you do now?

Floggingmolly Thu 27-Feb-14 17:06:19

Three? He sounds like a normal three year old to me. All mine could do those things with ease, they're all very able but definitely not gifted.
Nurseries generally don't bandy words like gifted about...

KirstyJC Thu 27-Feb-14 18:56:35

Meita, your DS sounds lovely! 2 languages - now that's impressive!

DS can put on his socks too, and uses the toilet (for some reason none of my 3 boys ever used the potty?). Although he did try and do a stand-up poo......grin

I will also concentrate on gross motor skills - he doesn't have a balance bike but he and the older kids have scooters which is still hasn't quite got the hang of yet,so we can definitely try that some more this spring. (If it ever stops raining of course!)

Flogging - actually he isn't quite three yet, but thanks for the thought. It warms my heart that Mumsnet readers try and belittle others' enthusiasm at every step. Didn't work - but nice try. Give yourself a pat on the back my dear. smile

And I expect you are right and that nurseries don't bandy words like gifted about. So possibly - I mean maybe just possibly - very experienced childcare professionals who have known my son for over 18 months, and many hundreds of other children over the years to compare him to, might actually know better than a random person on the internet and be using the word for a reason. Just a thought.

LynetteScavo Thu 27-Feb-14 20:15:57

I've just checked at what age DS1 could do the things your DS can do, OP....I really don't want to piss on your parade, but DS could do everything your DS can do, except tell the time (he was 4.5 before he cold tell the time properly) by his second birthday.

Ds is expected to get A's in his GCSE's doing no work what so ever, but he certainly isn't the most able in his year. I doubt he'll be going to Oxford or Cambridge, and no one has ever suggested he his G&T. (Although the words "very bright" and very academic" were often used by his teachers when he was younger)

As Floggingmolly said, really.

Bearleigh Thu 27-Feb-14 20:44:04

OP I would take note of what the nursery say, not what a few random people on www who have never met your child, say...

LynetteScavo Thu 27-Feb-14 20:46:38

not what a few random people on www who have never met your child, say

Absolutely, I agree!!!!!


KirstyJC Thu 27-Feb-14 21:08:22

I think perhaps the thread has gone off on a bit of a tangent - I wasn't asking if you think he IS gifted, I was asking if anyone had any ideas or suggestions of activities that we could do with him to promote his development and stimulate him.

There have been some really helpful suggestions, so thank you. We will see how he gets on and hopefully keep him as entertained as he keeps us!

Bloodywornoutnow Thu 27-Feb-14 21:09:56

I started a thread like this a few years back and got all the " nah not gifted " " my dc did that whilst still in the womb " , fast forward and actually my dc was/is officially tested gifted >>> blows a big raspberry at all the doubters<<<

KirstyJC Thu 27-Feb-14 21:13:06

Aah but I bet THEIR kids are MORE gifted and talented than yours.....wink

Sharaluck Thu 27-Feb-14 21:18:18

Stimulate and follow his lead and interests by all means.

But please don't start planning too far into the future re schooling/ stretching him further etc. Children develop at different rates and a child deemed gifted in early years can become more 'average' at a later stage, just as a slower learner in early years can achieve exceedingly well at an older age.

So pay attention and keep your expectations realistic.

LynetteScavo Thu 27-Feb-14 21:19:03

I started a thread like this a few years back and got all the " nah not gifted " " my dc did that whilst still in the womb "

^All6 MNetters pre-school DC are incredibly advanced. Fact.

Some turn out to be officially G&T, some don't. <<shrugs..

OP, as I said earlier, for us the science thing was the way to go...I think to a certain extent you have to let your DS lead the way. If he wants to master bike riding, then encourage it, etc.

One of the most successful people I know left school with 3 GCSE's at grade C or above. He says he had a brilliant childhood, because whenever he showed an interest in something his dad picked it up and they both ran with it. His dad continued to encourage him in adult hood, and rather than saying "oh, you really think you could do that?" helped him in every way he could.

Just saying. It sounds like your DS is a good all rounder, but if he does show a particular interest in car engines, run with it. smile

Sharaluck Thu 27-Feb-14 21:23:47

I wouldn't bother too much with teaching phonics etc, he will most likely pick this up easily anyway.

Problem solving, challenges and puzzles are good.

simpson Thu 27-Feb-14 21:26:33

He does sound bright tbh. Quite a few people saying "my DC could do all this except tell the time"

This to me is the impressive bit (is it a digital clock?) really.

My DD (now 6) is very bright and she taught herself the basics of reading ie blending etc (before she started nursery) so I taught her the rest. But she was very driven in wanting to learn.

What are his passions?

I would try and incorporate what he is into ie jigsaws (as others have said - although my DD hated them) and counting as you go up the stairs etc and read, read, read to him too.

DD loved playing with water/sand and talking about what was the heaviest (out of several objects filled with water/sand) or the biggest/longest etc.

ilikemysleep Thu 27-Feb-14 21:32:11

My v clever DS3 taught himself to read at just over 3 (I had a newborn and he was rather left to his own devices!) on 'starfall' which is a great website. All my 4 DCs have learned their letter sounds from it. I wouldn't be at all surprised if your DS could do the same.

The only thing is, when he went to school nursery already reading (they tested him and he had a reading age of 7y4m at 3y11m) it did isolate him a bit; he got frustrated with some of the others who (obviously) were not yet reading, and got a reputation as a bit of a bossy know-all until year 1 or so when some of the other kids began to catch him up. Now he is on the top table and clearly very good at maths but he has much better social relationships with the others now there isn't such a gulf between them smile

mercibucket Thu 27-Feb-14 21:41:06

he probably is bright. although i am bright and still can't tell the time grin . but its more a case of, develop the physical and social at that age, imo, no need to do anything special. i like the idea of following his interests as well though.
all my kids are bright (well i am a mumsnetter) but only the eldest was remarked upon at nursery. i actually think it was his character they noticed. he is quite mature and 'adult'. actually, he got the same sats scores as his siblings do now so it was not giftedness the nursery noticed imo but his 'mature' (for a 3 year old smile ) personality.

Mycatistoosexy Thu 27-Feb-14 22:05:10

I hope people realise that because one person says "I've been told my 3yr old is really bright" doesn't mean that your child will become less bright. There isn't one pot of clever for all kids. Nor has the OP challenged you to a duel and your only weapon is snidey exaggerated comments

OutwiththeOutCrowd Thu 27-Feb-14 22:13:09

Of all the skills mentioned, being able to tell the time at such a young age is by far the most significant. For such a mind, I would suggest fun mathematical games - 2d and 3d puzzles and number-based activities!

I think that when the idea of G&T came into education it was defined as the top 5%. Your DS may well be in the top 5%. Most people think of gifted as being something much rarer than 1 in 20, which is probably why you are being told that he is within the "normal" range by other posters.

My DD is fairly capable, though isn't motivated to learn to read yet. She moved herself up a room at nursery earlier this year to be in the preschool room (luckily our nursery was flexible enough to let her do this). Her keyworker has said that they have good links with the primary school she will go to and, if they start to run out of ideas next year to keep her motivated and developing, they can ring the reception teachers and discuss what her next steps might be.

mercibucket Fri 28-Feb-14 06:36:23

i think mnetters are often clever and well educated, so often in the top 5 percent themselves, and so are their kids, so they dont get over excited by the idea of 'giftedness'. i would personally expect the nursery to mean top 5 percent, rather than 'genius' level. i just think too much emphasis on academic learning at nursery is a bit sad

KirstyJC Fri 28-Feb-14 07:46:56

'There isn't' t one pot of clever for all kids' - LOVE that comment! grin

Nursery are very good at range of activities and do focus very much on what the child wants to learn. He really is showing interest in reading and trying to write too so that's why they've mentioned This. His conversation is excellent too which we've noticed for a while but put down to having older brothers, but in fact they think it is more than that. My sister says the same and as a SALT and qualified primary school teacher I suppose she knows what she's on about.

I will check out Starfall as well, thanks.

Greythorne Fri 28-Feb-14 10:40:26

I agree that there's little point trying to teach him early what he will be taught in school in due course. It really isn't a competition to get him doing things (reading, maths etc.) early.

Why not try him with another language if you speak one? Puzzles, riddles, jigsaws, word games, word association etc etc. stimulating stuff that complements not duplicates nursery / school.

Booboostoo Fri 28-Feb-14 11:37:19

The problem you will face is that if he is truly bored academically you will be (rightly) tempted to help him progress beyond his peers, however at the same time his academic development won't be matched by emotional and psychological maturity which will cause problems. As far as I know the general rule of thumb is that children can adjust to skiping two grades (not consecutively) and still be emotionally/psychologically on a par with their classmates (so that they can form friendships, not feel left out when others mature sexualy, etc.) but no more than that.

I suppose what I mean to say is that if you have an academically talented child you need to walk a very tight rope between encouraging them and helping them academically but not pushing them too much out of their emotional developmental zone. Kids that end up at university at 15-16 do not have a good time of it!

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