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Gifted vs bright (sorry.....LONG!)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My DD is 4, turning 5 in Nov. Right now she is at a Montessori school, and would be starting K next fall. 

 

We've known from fairly early on that DD is a smart kid, and never really worried about distinctions between being bright vs gifted. However, we are now at the time of year where magnet and charter schools have open houses, with the lotteries happening in December & January. We are looking at a few options: 1. Keep her in Montessori, where she is thriving (but is very $$$); 2. Our home public school, which separates out gifted kids starting in 2nd grade; 3. Charter school with similar methodologies to Montessori, gifted and special needs kids are integrated into a regular classroom; 4. A Gifted Magnet school, kids need to test in the 98th percentile on the WIAT II, and/or (not sure?) have an IQ above 145.

 

 

ETA: The absolute main reason I am asking, is because no matter what we choose, I want to make sure DD is an an environment that will not squash her love for learning, and make school a 'chore', or 'boring' for her. And we would not consider skipping a grade, she is a tiny, petite thing, and kids her own age already tower over her!

 

We have never considered testing her, thinking she's only 4!!!, but the gifted magnet school actually gets rave reviews, and I'm starting to wonder if we should consider that as a possibility, and have her tested.

 

So my question is, based on my observations below, does it sound as if DD might be gifted? I don't really want to put her through testing unless I have a fairly good idea that she might truly be gifted. I also understand that you fellow mama's aren't psychologists. smile.gif

 

DD's characteristics:

 

- She taught herself to read over the summer. When she was 2 and 3 we worked on phonics, and read a lot with her. In May, she was reading books like Biscuit (the most basic Early Readers). Yesterday, she read a Magic Treehouse book, struggling with approximately 4 words per page. I was told by her teacher she progressed about two grade levels in reading over the summer. We did not 'help' her read over the summer: she picked all of her own books at the library, and would sit and read them independently over the summer. Her comprehension lies somewhere in the middle, she does not comprehend as much when she reads a chapter book vs when I read it aloud to her. She can spell most CVC words, as well as things like friend, meet, hello, etc.

 

- Her memory is AMAZING. For example, for her 3rd birthday she received a family treasury storybook, with an accompanying CD. It is almost 300 pages, including stories such as Curious George and the Firefighters, Tacky The Penguin, Martha Speaks, etc. She listened to the CD practically non-stop, turning the pages at the appropriate time. After one month, she had the whole book memorized. The entire thing, word for word, and could sit there and 'read' the whole thing to me. It was right after this that she started reading CVC words.

 

- She loves to sing, and I'd say she knows at least 200 kid's songs by heart, and quite a few pop songs as well.

 

- She started piano lessons (her request) in June, her teacher says she is progressing through the first piano book about twice as fast as normal. She does not practice a ton at home, maybe 10 minutes every other day, plus whenever she feels like it.

 

- At 1 1/2 she was doing 24 piece puzzles, at 3 she was doing 60-80pc puzzles, and 100 pc puzzles by her 4th bday. Lately, we have been working on 300 piece puzzles together.

 

- Math skills: Counting to 100 at 3, she has also mastered one-to-one correspondence to fairly high numbers, and skip counting by 5's and 10's (she decided today she now wants to learn to skip count by 2's). She is proficient at basic addition with manipulatives, but can not look at an equation (ex. 5+4=9) and know the answer off the top of her head. When she becomes motivated in math, it often only takes 2-3 practice attempts before she begins to figure it out.

 

- She retains many things after one or two lessons at preschool, particularly science/nature/animal related. When they did the solar system last year, she learned the planets, in correct order, very quickly. After being told once, she could tell me which planets are gas planets, and which are terrestrial. She actually loved the fact that she could recite them backwards faster than me. 2whistle.gif She spouts science facts all the time that I am assuming she learned at preschool, in appropriate contexts. For example, last night, when a candle was blown out, she said "That is smoke. Fire makes smoke, and hot water makes steam. And when water is really cold, it turns into ice."

 

- Fine motor skills: I always thought she was behind in this area, recently I am realizing it might just be that she is so far ahead in all other areas. She loves to write, but struggles with some letters. They are recognizable when she writes, and I can usually decipher a sentence she has copied from somewhere else. 

 

- Geography: She can read most of the names of the US states, and knew all the continents around her 4th birthday. Our latest game is to pull out a state from our US puzzle, and then she has to guess which one is missing. She knows many major landmarks (Eiffel Tower is in France, pyramids are in Egypt, Great Wall is in China, etc). She remembers facts that she learned in a Magic Treehouse book months after reading, and remembers which book she learned that fact (Today we were looking at her Nature Encyclopedia, and she said, "Lions hunt prey, and live in the grasslands. I read that in Lions at Lunchtime." We read that book together in May).

 

- Inferring things: I have noticed this recently, she is becoming quite good about making (correct) inferences while listening to adult conversation.

 

- Personality wise, she is quite shy, especially around adults, and very sensitive. The only time she has ever thrown a huge tantrum has been when something she has worked on accidentally gets destroyed (as a toddler, this was usually when a cat would knock over a tower she was building). She no longer throws tantrums, but still becomes extremely distraught if someone comes along and breaks her concentration, or disrupts her work in some other way. She is also very empathetic, and becomes very upset when two people are arguing (ahem, that would be DH and I). Sheepish.gif

 

- SHe is also very creative and imaginative, but not artistic (if that makes sense). My DH says she has the creativity of a scientist or engineer. She likes to do experiments, not paint pictures. She also spends a lot of time in imaginative play. Her teachers have always praised her for being an excellent listener, and she also learns very well by observing.

 

- Don't know if this is related, but I'll throw it in. She doesn't really play with toys. We don't have a ton to begin with. There are a few favorites: play food, dress up clothes, her doll and baby. When she is not engaging with imaginative play, or playing outside, she is usually doing one of a few things: reading, doing puzzles, reading to the cats, writing 'books', making bead bracelets, reading to me, looking at I Spy books. Cutting and taping things together.

 

There are certain things that she does not pick up quickly. For example, DH is a doctor, and we have a book of body parts/systems geared towards older kids. She loves to look at this, but has not yet mastered the basic organs of the body (she knows heart, lungs, brain, but always forget the others like liver, intestine, etc). 

 

So, bright? Possibly gifted? What is your opinion? I don't even know what's normal for a 4 year old, other than what I see from other kids in the neighborhood and at her school!

post #2 of 13
Quote:
So my question is, based on my observations below, does it sound as if DD might be gifted?

what you wrote really doesn't matter for the gifted charter if she doesn't end up winning the lottery-why spend the money and not have her even get a slot?

 

even the best of the best school may not be a good fit and a crapy school with a great teacher might be a better fit- it really is a toss up and so unfair to but a parent into a situation like yours-if you read other threads in this section you will find that the "fit" is what it is all about and your don't really know at this point, even starting with what you think may be the right one might mean you need to be flexable and think outside of what you are narrowing your choices at now (meaning homeschooling or a grade skip-regardless of her size it might be what she needs, even strating at one school and moving to another)

 

IMO-put in for all and see what you get and go after you have a better idea of what your true options are

post #3 of 13

Armchair psychologist here (neither I nor my kids have ever taken an IQ test. I just read a lot, here and elsewhere. So, grain of salt and everything.)

So in my somewhat informed opinion I should say that you can confidently expect a truly self-taught fluent reader at 4 to test as at least moderately verbally gifted, ie test above 130 points or the 98th percentile on a subtest like the verbal Comprehension Index if she took the WISC IV. However, it is a long shot from that to testing at a Full Scale IQ of 145 - that's more like the 99.9th percentile and in the exceptionally gifted range. It does not really compare well to the other requirement (98th percentile on achievement testing, a very different cohort) - if it is actually a combination of the two required, the school selects for an extremely select, high-achieving crowd -  but at an age where testing is notoriously unreliable. No way to know from mere observation whether your DD might have a chance at a place - so if you want to find out if it is actually an option, you'll have to test, and soon. If you love the school after the open house, you can find out what testing would cost you and if it might be a good investment even if she does not test into the gifted magnet because you could use the results for accomodations in public or charter (for instance, by second grade, the scores might be too old for the public program or they might not accept private testing in the first place).

In your situation, I'd probably not fix what ain't broken, ie if she thrives in Montessori, I'd leave her there as long as you can afford it (or as long as she can stay - do they have an elementary program or does it stop after K?). and check out how, in the event, you could "fix" things: can she try out for the charter school lottery in later grades? Can she test into the gifted magnet in later grades? What about the public school gifted program - does she have to be in the school by first? and so on...

post #4 of 13

She sounds like a lovely child and a real joy. Definitely bright, possibly gifted. You won't know whether she meets the criteria for a special program with specific entrance requirements without testing. It comes down to whether you want to test. FWIW, she sounds a lot like my DS at that age. Inquisitive, soaks up information quickly and with leaps of logic, and largely self-taught.  It wouldn't be a surprise to find out  your DD does well on IQ testing. You just won't know until it's done. 

 

You are faced with the problem of too much choice. Unlike a pp, I don't think it's "unfair". It's nice that your school district offers different types of programs to suit different needs. It does present a dilemma. The trick is choosing the school that aligns well with her personality and learning preferences and your own pedagogical philosophy. When you are visiting the open houses, I would look carefully at how they accommodate individual children in the classroom. It may be fine to integrate gifted, neurotypical and special needs all in a single classroom as long as there is support and flexibility in addressing their abilities and needs. Again, FWIW, my kids have experienced a variety of educational settings (Montessori, homeschooling, public, gifted, performing arts) and for the most part have done well, as long as suitable accommodations were in place. Looking back, I think the greatest benefits for them were found in the Montessori and the full-time gifted programs, but each setting offered its own advantages. Right now, DD is thriving in a performing arts high school and I know many of her friends who continued in the gifted high school program are not as happy she is. 

 

If admission to the Gifted Magnet school is only at the Kindergarten stage and, after investigating the school, you think it will be a good fit for your DD, I would be inclined to go ahead and test unless you think it will be too stressful for her. Since you mention that she is sensitive and shy around adults, I'd seek out a sympathetic psychologist with a good reputation.  My kids didn't find psycho-educational assessments to be stressful. They kind of enjoyed the games and puzzles and interaction with an interested adult who had their full attention. They were older though (8 y.o.) and not particularly shy and we were careful about the psychologists that we found for them.

post #5 of 13

I don't think there is any way of knowing a child's IQ without testing. Both have my kids have been tested to help provide them with the most appropriate education for them, and I don't see value in avoiding testing. For one of my DD's, who is just gifted and is a pretty straightforward kid, her testing was done through the school at no expense to us. It allowed her access to gifted education in school. My other DD is both gifted and on the autism spectrum and is a complex kiddo, and our insurance paid for a full evaluation for her which included detailed IQ testing. Our co pay was like $50.

 

Both of my kids enjoyed their IQ testing. We didn't tell either kid their score. It has opened doors and help us make good choices.

 

I would go to all the open houses, read reviews of the schools on line, etc. Gather all the information you can. Find out about entry to the schools at later ages -- so you have a plan B if plan A ends up not being a good fit. But if you like the gifted magnet and feel that it would be a good fit for her personality, I would go ahead with testing even if you pay out of pocket. Paying for IQ testing is a drop in the bucket compared to paying for private school.

 

At the same time, I wouldn't assume it is the best school for her without considering how they approach learning, how pressured it is, etc. Different kids, even different gifted kids, do well in different styles of education.

 

Both my kids attend a private school and it is expensive. We spend more money on their education than we do on any other single item, including housing. In our case, we are 100% sure that this is the absolute best fit for our 2E child, and this it is making a difference in how her life will turn out. For our other DD, there are other decent options, but she is happy and thriving and it is nice to have them in the same school. If she were an only child, we would do something different. We have tiny classes and lots of hands on, project based learning, and lots of academic freedom.

 

Your post doesn't indicate if you have multiple kids. If you have younger children as well, you might consider if paying for private elementary school is something you can do for all of them, esp since you have other good options.
 

post #6 of 13

it is unfair to most working/struggling parents to spend to test at the kindy level and not even get into to a gifted school-IMO

simply put most US parents are unable to spend more on education and given what the OP wrote doesn't seem like the current school is a fincial option for the long term-it's nice if you can but most it's not even an dream option

 

 

 

Quote:
 Keep her in Montessori, where she is thriving (but is very $$$);

 

 

it's really hard to properly assess the correct option not knowing how the lottery system works in the OP's area (if they require testing prior to applying or not) or if the local school will even care should they go that route or even what the OP is willing to spend to get the correct school, I didn't read private as even an option for the OP 

 

 

expensive testing and even private school doesn't mean it is the best fit

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Okay, I thought the IQ minimum for entrance sounded incredibly high, and not on the same level as the other requirement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post
 However, it is a long shot from that to testing at a Full Scale IQ of 145 - that's more like the 99.9th percentile and in the exceptionally gifted range. It does not really compare well to the other requirement (98th percentile on achievement testing, a very different cohort) - if it is actually a combination of the two required, the school selects for an extremely select, high-achieving crowd -  but at an age where testing is notoriously unreliable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

At the same time, I wouldn't assume it is the best school for her without considering how they approach learning, how pressured it is, etc. Different kids, even different gifted kids, do well in different styles of education.

 


 

 

I completely get what you are saying! Actually, the gifted school is not our first choice at the moment (But this is before I have attended the open house), rave reviews aside. Her current Montessori school goes all the way up to high school. She is an only child, and we can afford to keep her in this school for her entire education, if we choose to do so. It is a perfect fit, at least at this stage of her life, and she is thriving there. I am looking at other options because her school had a change in administration last year, and I noticed a markedly higher staff turnover this past summer. I love the teachers, but I am slightly concerned about the way the new school administration is handling certain things.

 

If I had to rank my preferences, it would be 1. Current Montessori school, 2. One specific charter school, and 3. Gifted magnet school. It is very unlikely that we will send her to her home public school, for a variety of reasons. Of course, our preferences could completely change after I visit open houses, that is why I am trying to explore all possibilities right now!

 

And to address the lottery issue, the gifted school does have a lottery, but with such a strict requirement to be entered into the lottery, it is usually 'easy' to get a spot in that school if the child tests at the right level. Our favorite charter school, on the other hand, is extremely difficult to get into, last year's waiting list was more than 2,000 students, so I don't hold a lot of hope for that one.

post #8 of 13

giftedness aside, you also need to consider the options that she does like- her friends, activities they offer, distance, communication, parent involvement, etc

 

your second post makes things more clear! thumb.gif

 

and you can always change your mind! put in for the charter and see if you get it- good luck

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

it is unfair to most working/struggling parents to spend to test at the kindy level and not even get into to a gifted school-IMO

simply put most US parents are unable to spend more on education and given what the OP wrote doesn't seem like the current school is a fincial option for the long term-it's nice if you can but most it's not even an dream option

 

 

 

 

 

it's really hard to properly assess the correct option not knowing how the lottery system works in the OP's area (if they require testing prior to applying or not) or if the local school will even care should they go that route or even what the OP is willing to spend to get the correct school, I didn't read private as even an option for the OP 

 

 

expensive testing and even private school doesn't mean it is the best fit


Maybe I wasn't clear on my questions. I am not really looking for advice on which school is the best fit. That's a hard thing for people to give advice on, when it varies so wildly across the country. Sheepish.gif It was more a slow realization that my daughter might be gifted, and how that might affect the way that I evaluate school options. And, if I do have a gifted child, what kinds of things should I be keeping in mind when we are choosing a school?

 

She is in private school now. It is a Montessori school that runs from toddler - 12th grade. This is her second year there, and at this moment, I plan on keeping her there at least through the primary cycle (end of K). But, like I said in my pp, there are a few administration problems with the school. Depending on how that plays out, we would look for another option. Hence my questions. eyesroll.gif

 

The gifted magnet school is one of the only school's in the area that require testing prior before entering the lottery. All the others are pure lottery, open to everyone.

 

I don't necessarily want to send her to a gifted school, just because she is gifted (if she is). I am just a momma that sees an extreme love of learning in her DD, a happiness and profound joy at school, and I want to do my best to keep that love of learning in her heart. I had a very different experience growing up: I was bullied in middle school, and did not do very well in high school, partially because I was bullied, and partially because I was bored (and, according to my guidance counselor, never lived up to my potential, since I always tested high on standardized tests). It wasn't until I went to college and excelled in an Honor's undergrad program (that I was admitted into after my freshman year) that I actually realized I was an intelligent person. I admit I have a small paranoia about school, based on my experience, and will do everything in my power to prevent my DD from experiencing what I went through.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
I don't necessarily want to send her to a gifted school, just because she is gifted (if she is). I am just a momma that sees an extreme love of learning in her DD, a happiness and profound joy at school, and I want to do my best to keep that love of learning in her heart. I had a very different experience growing up: I was bullied in middle school, and did not do very well in high school, partially because I was bullied, and partially because I was bored (and, according to my guidance counselor, never lived up to my potential, since I always tested high on standardized tests). It wasn't until I went to college and excelled in an Honor's undergrad program (that I was admitted into after my freshman year) that I actually realized I was an intelligent person. I admit I have a small paranoia about school, based on my experience, and will do everything in my power to prevent my DD from experiencing what I went through.

what you are saying has nothing to do with being gifted or not-you need a good fit regardless - I think you would do better posting in the schooling sections not here you might get more what you are really looking for-remember, if she is happy, thriving, you see that she is making progress, her teachers see it and it reflects in her work AND her enjoyment- that means is OK!

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyssaneala View Post

 I am just a momma that sees an extreme love of learning in her DD, a happiness and profound joy at school, and I want to do my best to keep that love of learning in her heart.

 

 

I'd leave her where she is because it's working for her -- she is learning and happy and you guys can afford the school.  I also think that "learning and happy" trumps "right choice for the specific IQ."

 

It sounds like part of what is going on is that you are finding out about some of the problems at the school -- the drama with the administrator and recent turnover in staff. Every single school has some  issues. If you switch to her a different school and get involved in it and stay there for a while, you'll find out what they are at the next school. Go by your child's actual experience, by how the school is working *for her.* 

 

It's great to have a plan B and to understand how that plan B works (we know, for example, that our plan B school for one of our DD's only accepts new students at semester breaks).  But I think it would be foolish to switch away from a school that is working in hopes that the new school will be perfect and have zero issues.

post #12 of 13

Here are my thoughts, they are a little different since we went through this when my son went to kinder.  First clear your mind of all these things you have been thinking of until the open houses.  Pay careful attention to how the kids learn/are taught, what the expectations on behavior are, and how your child will fit in the environment.  Ask how they deal with students on different reading levels.  How your child fits into the environment is very important.  So is how your child adjusts to change.  Is it better to make changes now, so she can adjust when she is far above level, or will it be better to make a change in the future, when she is more secure in herself.

 

My son easily passed the tests for the charter school down the street, but when I really looked at their rules (and started talking to some parents), they had crazy behavior rules, and my DS was way to free spirited to conform, so we backed out before the lottery.  So in the end, the learning environment was more important to us.  We buy workbooks, and other supplies at the teacher supply store, and supplement his education through that.  He helps me pick out the workbooks, so things stay interesting.

post #13 of 13

 My advice: get testing and go for option #4 is she qualifies and it is a good school.  A gifted magnet school should be much better able to provide what your kiddo needs.

 

Much of what you describe sounds similar to what my sons have done.  One has been tested with a 145+ IQ and the other is probably right there with him.  The regular classroom is extremely difficult and stifling.  One teacher can only accommodate so much when they have kids with all different kinds of needs.  Plus - gifted kids learn differently than they way instruction is handled in a regular ed class. 

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