Identifying and encouraging the talented and gifted child

The names may be familiar, but perhaps the stories are not. Did you know that when Thomas Edison was a schoolboy, his teachers told him he was too stupid to learn? Or that Albert Einstein was four years old before he uttered a word? And once, a newspaper editor (whose name is long forgotten) fired Walt Disney because he had “no good ideas!”

As gifted children, these amazing inventors were woefully misunderstood. And, lucky for the world, they also had perseverance, in addition to their giftedness.

But, who is a talented or gifted child?

According to the National Association for Gifted Children, “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).

Testing for giftedness

The most common testing definition of giftedness is IQ of 130 or above.  For parents wishing to have their child evaluated, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Wilmington, Delaware offers psycho-educational evaluations performed by licensed, clinical psychologists on staff.

Recommendations will be made to parents and educators regarding the best teaching methods and educational environment for the student to reach his or her full potential. The resulting formal report can also be used to evaluate for entrance into a school gifted program.

What to do if your child has already been identified as talented or gifted?

This is an exciting development in your child’s life that will expose him to innovative ideas, increase his problem solving skills, and even offer him completely new ways of looking at the world!

According to the most recent statistics, there are approximately 126,000 K-12 students enrolled in Talented and Gifted Programs (TAG) throughout Delaware and 3 million nationwide. These students have demonstrated outstanding levels of aptitude (ability to reason and/or learn) or competence (achievement in top 10% or higher) in one or more areas.

TAG Programs throughout the state vary widely. Some include a pull-out element, where children are pulled out of regular class to attend TAG class. Or the program can include cluster groups, where students identified as talented and gifted work in small groups outside the regular classroom setting. Whatever format your school’s TAG Program follows, there are ways that you can help your child succeed.

Resources for parents of talented and gifted kids

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an organization that addresses the special needs of talented and gifted children. NAGC offers practical tools for parents, several publications, conferences, and more. All are geared to help the parent understand the many exciting options available to their children.

Another national organization that offers help for parents is the National Society for the Gifted and Talented. NSGT celebrates the accomplishments of talented and gifted children and provides access to educational resources, scholarships, and advanced learning/enrichment opportunities.

Additional help: How parents can encourage their talented and gifted children

Providing additional enrichment opportunities is crucial. Learning a new language, participating in space camp, or visiting local museums are just a few of the many ways that parents can help stimulate intellectual curiosity and exploration in their children.

There are also many formal programs that address specific interests. Some of the best include:

Odyssey of the Mind. This international educational program provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

Future Problem Solving Program International. FPSPI stimulates critical and creative thinking skills, encourages students to develop a vision for the future, and prepares students for leadership roles. FPSPI engages students in creative problem solving within the curriculum and provides competitive opportunities.

Science Olympiad. This program is open to students in both the K-6 level, as well as grades 6-12. Teams learn preparation, commitment, and lots of science as they practice throughout the year, gearing up for competition.

Other proven programs include National History Day, National Geography Bee, National Spelling Bee, National Numbers Bee, and many more. For an extensive list you can visit the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

1-on-1 summer enrichment opportunities for talented and gifted students in Delaware

Summer provides a unique opportunity for kids to try something entirely new — from learning a foreign language, to starting music lessons, to exploring art, plus so much more. In Delaware, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 instruction in over 60 subjects for students of all ages.

In addition, Back to Basics offers summer options including:

Original Credit (9th – 12th)
Your student can take a course 1-on-1 over the summer to get ahead for next year, lighten course load, enhance transcripts, or catch up on previously skipped credits. Available at your home or in our Newark or Wilmington locations.

Summer Reading Reinforcement and Enrichment
Our experienced instructors will work 1-on-1 with your student to read, comprehend, retain and apply summer reading material. These sessions will provide students with the knowledge and confidence to complete any required reading-related assignments, such as reports, projects and tests. Available at your home, day camp, or in our Newark or Wilmington locations.

Summer Math Reinforcement and Enrichment
Summer is the perfect time to build and strengthen mathematics skills for the upcoming school year.  Students will work 1-on-1 with an experienced instructor to review and learn concepts and create fun ways to remember them.  Each session is tailored to the individual child to meet his or her needs, interests, level of background knowledge and learning style.  Previous school years’ material will be reinforced during these interactive sessions, with an eye looking ahead as well. Available at your home, day camp, or in our Newark or Wilmington locations.

1-on-1 SAT and ACT Prep
With college enrollment numbers reaching an all-time high, competition to gain acceptance is fiercer than ever. Help your student put his or her best foot forward with 1-on-1 SAT and ACT Prep this summer. A completely customized approach focuses on those specific areas needed by each student. Students will strengthen their knowledge, reduce anxiety, and build confidence every step of the way. They will learn strategies specific to the tests, timing techniques and have the opportunity to take and review practice tests. Available at your home or in our Newark or Wilmington locations.

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics:

  • is approved by the DE Department of Education to offer credit recovery, summer school, and original credit courses
  • offers flexible scheduling 7 days a week, and works around vacations and jobs,
  • offers 1-on-1 instruction
  • is available to come to your home, day camp, or our Centers.

To learn more about the unique academic advantages of 1-on-1 instruction offered at Back to Basics Learning Dynamics please call 302.594.0754.

Photo by stockimages and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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