Gifted and talented (GT) children are a definable group of K-12 students recognized for their advanced learning capabilities. Often, their bright minds are recognized by parents and subsequently tested for confirmation. While having a gifted child is a good thing, what does it mean when choosing their school?
Choosing the right school for GT children takes more consideration than it might with other children. Their higher levels of intelligence may cause negative issues when in the wrong school environment. Let’s discuss this topic more by looking at what GT children need from their school.
Enriched and Accelerated Tailored Curriculum
Mainly, this means GT students have to continually be positively challenged by the school’s subject matter and methodology, in order to avoid boredom with the subject matter already learned.
Enriched learning means expanding the normal curriculum at a tailored-level for each individual student; when the curriculum is learned at each student’s level, the only factor holding them back is their own ability.
In contrast, students in larger classrooms have to learn at the median intelligence level of the entire class. Many private schools offer the solution with one-on-one instruction, tailored to the student’s ability to learn the subject matter.
Accelerated learning is the result of a student being able to learn more than their standard curriculum requires; GT children need tailored instruction delivered one-on-one from their schools to accelerate their learning and satisfy their potential.
While getting ahead is helpful in most cases, it shouldn’t be accomplished at the expense of actually learning the subject matter. The instruction shouldn’t focus on merely going fast, rather on the student’s depth of understanding in each subject. Basically, enrichment should come before accelerated learning, both being tailored to the speed and depth of understanding of each individual student.
A Mix of One-on-One and Small Classroom Settings
GT children may try to hide their intelligence to fit in at public schools or may get treated badly from other students because they’re seemingly different, yet taking them away from their peers completely can be even more harmful.
A recent article on NPR, called: “Who Are The ‘Gifted and Talented’ And What Do They Need?”, written on September 28th, 2015 by Anya Kamenetz, explains more:
“In addition to a need to move faster and delve deeper, students whose intellectual abilities or interests don’t match those of their peers often have special social and emotional needs.”
This is why choosing a school using a mix of one-on-one and small classroom instruction may be the best solution.
For instance, The Tenney School has a great way to structure our student’s classes: students get their own private teacher for each core subject: science, social studies, math, and English, yet their elective courses and labs are taught in a small classroom environment.
Combining the two methods with practical structure helps GT students learn how to study by themselves and in a group setting with peers. Socializing with peers and others is important for overall growth, yet can be harmful and distracting if it becomes the focus at school, especially, for GT children.
Essentially, parents want to choose a school where their GT child can learn and develop their minds and social habits in a positive environment. Filtering out the distractions and focusing on the subject matter in a stimulating environment helps GT children expand their minds and embrace the learning experience.
Out of the 50.7 million public and 5.2 million private school students in the U.S., about 5% are GT children according to the aforementioned NPR article, which says:
“Estimates vary, but many say there are around 3 million students in K-12 classrooms nationwide who could be considered academically gifted and talented.”
These are normal children with an abnormal ability to learn, especially, at their age level. This ability needs to be challenged and stimulated in a fitting classroom environment, in order for GT children to reach their expanded potential.
Private schools are where GT children can flourish and get the one-on-one, tailored instruction they need to be challenged. Choosing a school where learning is the focus, rather than socializing, will help GT children learn with less distractions. Small classroom instruction, in addition to multi-teacher one-on-one instruction, allows for peer interaction and socializing in a positive environment.
When parents are choosing what school to send their GT child to, these considerations should help them make the right decision. The Tenney School, located in Houston, TX, understands what GT children need from their school, thus, we’ve designed our instruction and curriculum to effectively challenge and get them ready for college and life. To learn more about how our schools can help GT children, please contact us today.