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'Gifted and talented' at three?

(18 Posts)
nutellacrumpet Wed 14-Oct-15 16:15:20

My DD is 3. She is my PFB. She will be starting reception September 2016. She currently attends pre-school at a pre-prep private school 3 mornings a week, she will be staying there for school. Over the summer holidays I taught her to read, she picked it up quickly and now she is currently reading Oxford Reading Tree stage 9 and 10. We also get the Reading Chest so she gets to read a variety of stuff and not just the same reading scheme. We check her comprehension as well after we read the books.

I obviously knew she was above average, but I wasn't quite expecting the reaction we got from the school after we sent her back after the summer. After one session of her being back we were called into a meeting with the nursery teacher, the year 1 teacher (who they had called over to 'assess' her reading age) and the head of the pre-prep. They said they thought she was 'gifted and talented' and wanted to put in place a learning plan to support her. Her maths skills are also advanced they say. The head of pre-prep actually said she had never seen anything like it (sorry, that sounds really cringeworthy and boastful).

I feel a bit embarrassed by all this... if that makes any sense to you? I feel like I can't talk about any of this in real life as I am scared to be thought of as 'one of those mums'. I am not embarrassed by my DD, just by the situation. Can a 3 year old really be gifted and talented? I mean, surely it is too early to say these things and that most probably she will plateau and the other children will all catch up and it will level out. I am a bit worried about her being labelled so young and then too much pressure being put on her, or the school having too high unrealistic expectations for her.

Sorry, I wasn't expecting this to be so long! My husband thinks this is all a positive thing and it is great the school want to assist her in her learning and great they have picked this up at an early age. To be honest I am not sure what to think of it all, but am glad to have found this board as I hope some of you understand what I mean. When did you guys realise your children where gifted or talented? Do you think the early the better for being 'labeled' this or do you think too young could mean too much pressure or that there is maybe too young an age to actually tell. Thank you if you made it this far smile

Mistigri Wed 14-Oct-15 16:50:15

A 3 year old who is reading well is probably gifted, but you don't need to label children this age as long as they are happy and stimulated at nursery/ school smile

My DD learnt to read sometime between 2.5 and 3 - she picked up basic phonics from the older kids at her preschool - first we knew of it was when she started writing phonetically shortly after her 3rd birthday! Within a few weeks she could read fluently (easy chapter books). Preschool had already identified her as gifted but the reading came as a bit of a shock to everyone.

Her early schooling was a bit chaotic due to being lightyears ahead in reading and to a lesser extent in maths, but much less advanced in other ways - she had difficulties with attention/ focus. However she is now 14 and doing well in a very ordinary state school, albeit accelerated one year (we are abroad where this is more common) and in a bilingual programme which seems to have more than its fair share of very bright kids. She is good but not exceptional at maths (by which I mean she'll get a top grade in her baccalaureat but she's certainly not future maths PhD material), very very gifted at languages, and a very ordinary teenager in other ways ;)

While some gifted children do have difficulties (I have a second child who is the archetypal socially awkward maths-and-science kid), girls with good language, fine motor and social skills generally do very well in school smile so don't panic!

irvine101 Wed 14-Oct-15 22:12:32

I think your DD is very lucky! Your husband is right, it is a very positive thing I think.
She is in the right environment where teachers recognized her talent early and willing to help.
I don't think truly gifted child will plateau.
I think your DD is off to a very good start.

NanaNina Wed 14-Oct-15 22:24:55

I know the one of the children on Child Genius (recent TV programme) was reading fluently at 2. She had the highest IQ of all the children - they were all aged 8 - 12. A friend's child was reading at 3 and now at 6yrs is reading Harry Potter, and can write and spell very well. He knew the phonic alphabet at 2 years. He is home educated but also excels at gymnastics and drama.

I am sure your DD is "gifted and talented" but can I just sound a word of warning, and that is to make sure that she gets to do non academic stuff too, as sometimes these children do not socialise well, and need to mix with children who are not gifted and talented at times.

HackAttack Wed 14-Oct-15 22:40:29

My health visitor mentioned this at my two year old's latest assessment. His speech is perfect, he recognises all shapes (think trapezium, etc), all colours, can recall any memory down to the minutest detail (for example who bought him every individual gift from birthdays one and two), count and explain complex processes like how bees collect nectar to make honey.

It's amazing but there are downsides. His emotional development is normal for a two year old so he has endless knowledge he can't emotionally cope with. He finds his peers terrifying as he can't communicate with them.

I've raised him totally normally, baby groups, very relaxed household, and I love my little genius but sometimes I wish he didn't need to know absolutely everything and that he could just enjoy being two.

Kampeki Wed 14-Oct-15 23:29:38

Honestly speaking, I think it's too early to say, especially as you say that you taught her to read over the summer, i.e. she didn't just spontaneously self-teach. Lots of bright (but not gifted) kids could probably read at 3 if someone actually tried to teach them.

She may be gifted, or she may not. Either way, I don't think the label is helpful at this age. Actually, I'm not sure that it's helpful at any age - dd is now 10 and I still don't like it when the school uses this term. It doesn't really add anything to our understanding of dd as an individual.

That said, it's great that the school wants to respond to her needs. Good differentiation is very important.

I wouldn't think too much about the "gifted" label for now. Just focus on ensuring that your dd is happy and stimulated in school. smile

MrsTammySwanson Wed 14-Oct-15 23:34:59

My 6 year old is on stage 10 of the ORT. To my mind at 3 your child is most definitely gifted and talented.

Mistigri Thu 15-Oct-15 16:25:55

Yes, i also think that a child who learnt to read easily at 3 is almost certainly G&T at least on the language side of things. My 3 year old reader was tested by an ed psych aged 6, and scored off-the-scale in verbal reasoning.

My second child, who is probably borderline gifted, also learnt to read early -but there is a very, very big difference between a 3 year old who can absorb and apply simple phonics rules (as my son could do) and a 3 year old who quickly makes the leap from basic phonics to independent reading. I don't know about ORT levels but I am assuming that level 10 is well on the way to being a free reader. If nursery staff are saying they have never encountered such an advanced reader of her age, then you can take it that your daughter is quite unusual!

FWIW, despite an early start, by year 3/4 my son's reading and writing ability were indistinguishable from those of other bright pupils of his age. DD has remained rather exceptional (obv at 14 the giftedness is more noticeable in writing than reading, and most of all in foreign languages).

nutellacrumpet Thu 15-Oct-15 16:53:34

Thanks for all your responses. Was interesting to read the different opinions.

I think I just find it all a bit overwhelming, and just want her to stay little as long as possible!

var123 Fri 16-Oct-15 05:45:03

Both my sons have turned out to be gifted (or is it talented? - lets say good at learning and applying information). Watching old baby videos recently, the signs were there eg they weren't just picking stuff up and banging it randomly about but determinedly experimenting to see what could be done with it. However, at the time, i didn't realise that there was anything unusual about this.

They've been in G&T throughout school. However, I've seen others come and go from the top sets with only one or two staying the course. I guess all of them would've been considered G&T for a while.

Your DH is right.. it's great that the school is willing to recognise and do something about it. Thats unusual so be glad! Other posters are right too that for the sake of your DDs happy childhood you should have your primary focus on making her a rounded, well-adjusted child.

As to the label, it means nothing and it won't change anything for good or for bad (unless you or your DH bandy it around at school. Teachers simply won't believe you until they decide it for themselves and other parents will find it irritating).

icklekid Fri 16-Oct-15 06:15:46

I'm not sure if private schools have to baseline assess in the new curriculum like state schools (I presume not) however if she were in a state school they would need to show sufficient progress from now to end of year 2 (if infants) and end of year 6 (if full primary school ) which might explain the education plan to ensure this happens. Just focus on her socially adjusting to reception, being stimulated and enjoying learning. Any label (for sen which includes g&t) isn't what matters but what support it ensures is provided!

Lurkedforever1 Fri 16-Oct-15 11:25:59

Agree with others. Tbh dd was reception when I properly realised she was gifted. I knew she was bright but I always thought it was just her interest/ determined personality that meant she was ahead iyswim? Plus the nearest age child she spent most time with in my presence is also gifted in the same area, so anything she did didn't strike me as unusual. And being tall, at preschool age, random encounters would just make most people assume she was older and therefore not that unusually able.
Tbh though it was more I didn't think much about it that caused me to miss it. I know when it comes to anything maths/ logic based, my thought process works differently to the majority. And even explaining something to someone reasonably intelligent, I have to include things that to me are obvious. Whereas with dd, although I had to phrase things in a child appropriate way, and account for her lack of life experience, I always explained things more akin to how I think, and she understood. Although it was only later that I related the two.

MadAboutMathsMum Fri 16-Oct-15 21:06:27

I think it can only be a good thing that the school have noticed and put support in place, the terminology is less important. I have 2 DSs, DS1 is 8 and in year 4 he is on the G&T list for maths. DS2 is 7 and in year 2. He is currently working at a year 6 level and regularly corrects his older brother. However, DS2 is not on the G&T list but he is obviously being supported in his work.
I realised DS2 had a talent for maths before he started school, as he was in a nursery from age 1 so not hot-housed at all, but he was very confident in his maths skills, presumably picked up from watching his older brother doing his homework.

Worriedandlost Thu 22-Oct-15 20:50:18

Sounds gifted to me. But prepare for the worst - gifted children are hard work! Good luck!

Ipushedmygrannyaffabus Thu 05-Nov-15 04:12:59

My friend has an extremely gifted (like, I'm a teacher and I,ve never seen anything like it) 3 year old. She's very chilled about it as both she and her sister could have been described as 'gifted' children and were/are exceptionally intelligent.
What she says, from her own experience, is that she never learned HOW to learn, so when the work became harder (ie uni level) neither she nor her sister had the skills to know how to learn. As a result, whilst indulging her child's passion for numbers and reading, she also plans to make sure he does lots of things that DONT come naturally, ie music or sport, so that he learns how to learn, and that he won't always be top.
It sounds like your little girl is going to have the best of both worlds - a school that will challenge her and a family that will just let her be a child smile

catkind Sat 07-Nov-15 00:47:34

Sounds great to me!

I don't think it's pressure on the child, it's just if they're outside the range of the rest of the class then it needs some thought how to keep them included but also challenged.

lenibose Tue 17-Nov-15 11:52:52

DS is 3 and a bit (actually 4), and started at prep in September. Exactly the same as your child. Can read ORT 9/10. We do Reading Chest as well (he calls it 'book fairy' because a fairy sends him surprise books to read!). He is more gifted mathematically because he inhabits a world full of numbers. We talk about numbers ALL DAY. We realised he had a talent for numbers when he was 2 and he began to add single digit numbers. In general, we just let him lead us in terms of interests. We went through a very long volcano phase. Currently we're in a capitals/deserts/oceans/geography phase. The one thing I have noticed though is that while he certainly has some talents, I do, very gently, need to keep making him 'revise' stuff, IYKWIM because he does forget. Since he was reading so well, I left him to his own devices for a couple of months and I can see he's regressed a bit. So I'm back to a quick story he reads after breakfast and I read 2 bedtime stories and he reads me one. If he's tired or doesn't want to I back off. But it was interesting to see that at this young age, they do need to keep up with the stuff or they do tend to forget. The maths is a bit different, because he does maths in his head all day (it's a bit tiring tbh). But we've tried to teach him new things like 3D shapes, telling the time etc.

I had a meeting with his prep school where they said similar things to yours and asked me what I wanted them to do. I said, feel free to challenge him, but really I want him to play, have fun and make friends. He's not always made friends easily and is quite shy. That has worked really really well- he's suddenly come out of his shell and I am amazed. We do some of the more 'academic' stuff at home, and he can have fun in school. Then when school starts pushing him more, i.e. in the next couple of years, we can switch to just having more 'fun' at home. (Sorry, that sounds like we don't have fun at home right now which we obviously do!)

Also, my theory is that since he is good at this stuff and it comes easily, I'm happy to indulge other extra curricular stuff (within financial reason) that doesn't come so easily to him. After trying out a few classes (from rugby and karate to dance and music) he chose ballet and violin so we're doing that currently and he LOVES it. The same qualities that helped him learn (i.e. good concentration, desire to improve) have stood him in good stead, but he's not naturally gifted at either IYKWIM. And I think it's good for him to do something he's really keen on doing, but doesn't come as easily to him.

catkind Tue 17-Nov-15 13:06:10

Agree re extracurriculars lenibose, my little one is also doing violin as well as swimming and gymnastics. (And still asking for more!). Really hope the music sticks as it's such a joy in my life. It's something they'll always be challenged in however talented they may or may not be. And it has hardly any overlap with the primary school curriculum smile

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