Seeking honest feedback - kids may be gifted, not sure how this will impact schooling plans - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-17-2012, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello -

I am hoping to get feedback from parents of gifted children.  I can't say for sure that my kids are "gifted" because they are so young and I honestly don't know what the technical definition for gifted is.... however, it does seem quite likely they are gifted. 

 

I have a 1 1/2 year old daughter and a 3 year old son.  Both are clearly very smart and very different than other kids.  My 1 1/2 year old speaks very well - long sentences (10 word sentences +), can count very high, even backwards, and she has started reading (sight words, but she can also sound out words sometimes successfully as she knows all the phonic sounds), etc..  Our pediatrician has told us on no uncertain terms that she is extraordinarily intelligent and that we should anticipate needing "special" schooling for her.  

 

My son is also very bright, but maybe not in such a shocking way.  He's been reading well since about 2 1/2 years of age.  He's really good with numbers.  Great memory.  Great sense of humor.  Never sleeps.  ;)   This year we enrolled him at a local Montessori, mostly with the idea to let him meet some children as our neighborhood doesn't have too many kids and we don't have a lot of friends with children.   He's been there for about a month or so and the teacher invited us to observe the class today.  After our observation she told us that he is already mastering materials intended for 6 year olds.  Apparently he is just light years ahead of other kids his age. (His classroom is a primary classroom with 3-6 year olds).  She has to work hard to keep him challenged.

 

This is the first time we've had him in a classroom with other children, and it honestly has gotten me to be quite concerned.  If my 3 year old has mastered 6 year old materials, where will he be when he is 6?  What kind of school could accomodate him?

 

We live in a good school district - one with a great reputation. People move to our town to send their kids through our school system.  But they don't even offer gifted services until 4th grade.   I downloaded the curriculum summaries, and our son has already mastered all of the kindergarten curriculum and most of 1st grade as well. 

 

He's three and won't be eligible to start kindergarten for 2 more years (well, a year and a half).  I just can't imagine how the schools will handle him in kindergarten when they are trying to teach kids stuff that he has known for three years.  He's an awesome kid, but he needs to be kept busy and challenged, otherwise he becomes pretty disruptive. 

 

Did anyone here have a kid that seemed so advanced in Montessori, but then once they transferred to the public schools they did just fine? 

 

We will give the public schools a chance, but in the back of my mind I'm already trying to think of other options.  There is a private gifted school that is about a 30 minute drive from our house that serves K-8.  That might be an option.  I am also open to homeschooling the kids, perhaps utilizing private tutors and enrichment programs where needed.  My husband isn't as keen on homeschooling, but I think it's just because he doesn't know a lot about it yet. 

 

Please... any thoughts, advice, suggestions.  Am I right to be concerned, or should I just chill out since they are so very young.  

 

Thank you for reading this and thank you in advance for any words you might share with me.

 

 

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#2 of 20 Old 01-17-2012, 10:27 PM
 
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It sounds certain that your kids are both gifted, as you know.  It also sounds like you have an awesome option in that there is a gifted school half an hour from your house!  There is no such thing anywhere around here!  And it also sounds like your school system is worth a shot, although the fact that they don't offer gifted programs before 4th grade is likely to be a problem.  Perhaps the gifted school will be the best place to start, and then they may do well with a transition to the public system after 4th grade, if necessary.

 

I have a son who, like your daughter, was reading well before he was 2.  This is extremely uncommon and has indeed been a challenge for him in school.  Mine is in 4th grade now (and reading at an adult level), and we have still not gotten it worked out right for him with school and this will likely continue to be a problem.  I could do better for him academically by homeschooling him.  However, he desperately needs and craves the daily interaction he gets with other kids at school, and so that is where he is at now.  It is not at all a good fit for him academically, though, and as I said, school has perennially been a problem for him!

 

I would look into the private gifted school, if I were you.

 

Good Luck!


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#3 of 20 Old 01-17-2012, 10:46 PM
 
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Welcome to MDC! smile.gif

I think your concerns are valid AND that you should relax at this point. smile.gif

It definitely sounds like you will need to find a non-standard learning environment for your children. The good news is that you have time to do it, AND that your DS is with a teacher who sees his giftedness and is willing to work with him. You may find that the Montessori continues to be a great place for him until he ages out of that classroom (with some adaptation and him moving into the role of helper), or it may be that he gets frustrated with the limitations of how much he can learn (if the adaptations aren't great enough). The fact that you and his teacher are both aware of his needs means you'll see that and understand it more quickly.

In the interim, research the public schools, the gifted school, and get feedback from parents who have been involved with each of them. Investigate homeschooling options and what resources you have where you live. You might check Yahoo groups to see if there are gifted groups in your area. Here, we even have a gifted homeschoolers group (actually, I guess it's statewide). Connecting with other parents of gifted children locally can help a lot as you explore options.

For our eldest, we didn't consider schooling options too much until he was 4.5. He was in preschool at the time, though his teacher didn't even know he was reading fluently. We took him for a day in the K class at the private school where my mom teaches, and he loved it. But, he said of the work, "It was so easy!" Given that this was in the 7th month of K and he was not yet 5 and six months from starting school, we knew he wasn't going to get what he needed in that classroom. They did offer to adapt for him, but it felt like we'd be trying to put our square peg in a round hole. We looked into a gifted school (far away and very expensive), public (many reasons we didn't like that idea), and finally realized the best way to meet his needs was to homeschool him. We've taken it a year at a time, continuing to look at other options, but haven't yet found anything that works for him and our family better than homeschooling.

So, take your time, immerse yourselves in the information available, and know that you don't have to know what to do NOW. Enjoy the adventure of raising gifties! smile.gif

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
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#4 of 20 Old 01-18-2012, 04:02 AM
 
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A lot of times dads are concerned going into home schooling, and they stop being concerned at some point soon thereafter.

 

Especially with gifties, they can get so far ahead in some areas when they are in a completely individualized program, it can look like an easier choice to continue than to go into an elementary classroom.

 

Montessori is individualized, so you know, as long as that's working for you why not continue?

 

 

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#5 of 20 Old 01-18-2012, 08:35 AM
 
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You know, it's totally dependent on the personality of the individual child and the school they are attending. What works for one may not work for another. Some kids are really good at bringing open-ended work to their own level no matter where they are. Some kids just won't do advanced work unless it's laid out for them to do. Some schools can offer tremendous flexibility, others are too rigid. 

 

Things to consider, your child's trajectory is their own. You can't predetermine it. It's not a given that a 3-year-old at the level of a 6-year-old will be the level of a 9-year-old at age 6. It could be that child ends up even more advanced in some areas OR, they may stagnate in certain skills while they focus on developing some other aspect of their being. Remember that those early skills are pretty easy and offer very little depth. What may be a necessary accommodation one year may not be the next year. 

 

Keep an eye on your options but you aren't going to really know what they need at a future date until they get there.


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#6 of 20 Old 01-18-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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Montessori often works well for advanced learners because of the multi-age classrooms. If he's happy at Montessori and you have a good Montessori elementary school, then that may be the right choice.

 

My 2 dc attended Montessori casa programs and then started public primary school. They were advanced compared to their public school classmates, but the schools offered some helpful accommodations. Modified work kept them engaged. Subject acceleration for part of the day to work with older students worked well. Clustering them with other advanced students also helped. Eventually, they both moved into gifted programs for most of their later elementary and middle school years.  We've homeschooled periodically as well. For most of high school, they've studied at specialized arts school, where there isn't as much academic enrichment as the gifted program, but it meets other needs they have.  

 

They followed similar paths, but I would have encouraged them to make different choices if it had been appropriate. We've explored options, kept our minds open and tried to be flexible.  Formal schooling worked in large part due to their personalities and learning styles. They both have strong, resilient and flexible personalities, are enthusiastic learners and enjoy working with others collaboratively. Their needs for a peer group weren't met with homeschooling and they both insisted on attending school. 

 

 

It sounds like you have some good options on the horizon, so chilling out is fine right now. You have time to figure out their learning styles and quirks and consider the kinds of learning environments that will suit them. 

 

 

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#7 of 20 Old 01-18-2012, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

You know, it's totally dependent on the personality of the individual child and the school they are attending. What works for one may not work for another. Some kids are really good at bringing open-ended work to their own level no matter where they are. Some kids just won't do advanced work unless it's laid out for them to do. Some schools can offer tremendous flexibility, others are too rigid. 

 

Things to consider, your child's trajectory is their own. You can't predetermine it. It's not a given that a 3-year-old at the level of a 6-year-old will be the level of a 9-year-old at age 6. It could be that child ends up even more advanced in some areas OR, they may stagnate in certain skills while they focus on developing some other aspect of their being. Remember that those early skills are pretty easy and offer very little depth. What may be a necessary accommodation one year may not be the next year. 

 

Keep an eye on your options but you aren't going to really know what they need at a future date until they get there.



I agree with the above.  My kids have switched a number of times to meet their developmental needs of the time.  They've done homeschool, language immersion, fine arts and specialized programming.  Montessori would have probably been a fit for DD, but a total bust for DS.  What I had predicted for each of them has turned out to be untrue.  DS is now in public school with lots of accommodations and I thought he'd homeschool most years.  DD now homeschools and she'd loved school previously.  Things change and don't always follow a straight line, and I really agree that personality and preferences play a huge role in what works for an individual child.

 

Have fun!  It's quite a ride.  joy.gif


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#8 of 20 Old 01-19-2012, 11:27 AM
 
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I'd look into what the gifted school programming looks like as well.  Our general experience has been that gifted programming and gifted schools serve the needs of the kids at the lower end of their cut-off better than they do the outliers, which is probably fairly obvious.  What are the cut-offs to get into the gifted school and the GT programming within the public schools?  If, like our public schools, GT programming is available both to anyone with a 95th percentile score in one given area and other kids who achieve highly, it is less likely to meet the needs of highly gifted kids, which is what it sounds like you have at this point.

 

I might consider IQ testing for your oldest around the time you're looking at K although I wouldn't consider the number set in stone as IQ scores do fluctuate over time in many kids.  However, if he's coming out well above the 99th percentile composite and there are no twice exceptionality issues in play (learning disabilities, etc.), I wouldn't count on a gifted school or GT program to be a great fit unless it is highly selective in admissions (99th percentile requirement, for example).

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#9 of 20 Old 01-19-2012, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your helpful responses!

 

Today we had the conference that followed our initial observation.  We are still feeling a bit shell shocked from it all to be honest.  We were straight up told that no public school, even the best public school in the state, could accommodate our son.  The cynical part of me began to think this was just a sales-pitch for their Montessori until they then also said that they didn't know how much longer THEY could accommodate him either.   He's 3 years old, in a 3-6 class, and the most advanced reading and math student in the room.  He's requiring more and more advanced works, and there is just a limit to how far they can go with him.  It is a PK-6 school, but age 3 he is already mastering 6 and 7 year old work - so you can see where they think this is all going.

 

The director of the school suggested the private gifted school might be best suited for him when he gets a little older.  She suggested that we wait until he is 6 and then test him and go from there.  (By test him, I assume she meant an IQ test - I didn't ask.)

 

So we were surprised by how this conference went. 

 

The part that is upsetting to me is that he is apparently struggling socially.  He has no interest in the other children.  His teacher told us one of his classmates said "he can read big books, he can count in the thousands, but he doesn't even know my name yet?"  It makes me so sad to think of him being isolated.  He gets along OK with everyone, there is no drama.  But he just doesn't seem interested in the other kids.  He prefers the adults.  We've noticed this at home too.  He plays well with his baby sister and adores her - but he definitely prefers adult company otherwise.

 

Any advice on how we can help him socially?  The school reassured us that he is only 3 and a lot can change in a year.  But they said his extreme giftedness could be part of the "problem" in this regard.   We have him in swim lessons and some other local activities with area kids - but he's never really bonded with any other kids.  When we ask him who is friends are, he lists adults he knows. 

 

I'd love to hear perspectives and advice on this.  We are checking out some local public schools to get a feel for the sort of accommodations they have.  We are disheartened to think they really aren't an option (but we already suspected this). 

 

Thanks again for listening!  I'm glad I found you guys!   Parents of kids with these unique needs really need to stick together - I definitely wouldn't feel good talking to my friends about these problems. It would sound like I was bragging or something.  No one wants to hear it. 

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#10 of 20 Old 01-19-2012, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd look into what the gifted school programming looks like as well.  Our general experience has been that gifted programming and gifted schools serve the needs of the kids at the lower end of their cut-off better than they do the outliers, which is probably fairly obvious.  What are the cut-offs to get into the gifted school and the GT programming within the public schools?  If, like our public schools, GT programming is available both to anyone with a 95th percentile score in one given area and other kids who achieve highly, it is less likely to meet the needs of highly gifted kids, which is what it sounds like you have at this point.

 

I might consider IQ testing for your oldest around the time you're looking at K although I wouldn't consider the number set in stone as IQ scores do fluctuate over time in many kids.  However, if he's coming out well above the 99th percentile composite and there are no twice exceptionality issues in play (learning disabilities, etc.), I wouldn't count on a gifted school or GT program to be a great fit unless it is highly selective in admissions (99th percentile requirement, for example).


Thanks for mentioning this about looking into the selectivness of a program.  I was able to do just that online tonight.  Our local public school takes kids that are 95th and above for a pull-out program.  Kids 98th and 99th may get selected for an all-day gifted program they have at a different school. But this doesn't start until 4th grade. 

 

The gifted private school says their minimum IQ is 125.  I'm not expert on IQ, but that seems really low.   

 

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The part that is upsetting to me is that he is apparently struggling socially.  

 

 

what does this mean?

 

are those who observe this feel this way (teachers, other adults)?

 

or is he un-happy about not having peers as "friends" and interacting with them?

 

is his behavior effected by this?

 

 

Quote:
 He has no interest in the other children.

is this causing a problems for him? does he complain? you say no dram, but over all is he content?


 

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#12 of 20 Old 01-19-2012, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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what does this mean?

 

are those who observe this feel this way (teachers, other adults)?

 

or is he un-happy about not having peers as "friends" and interacting with them?

 

is his behavior effected by this?

 

 

is this causing a problems for him? does he complain? you say no dram, but over all is he content?




Good questions!  Not having a friend, and not having any interest in the other kids is what I mean by that.  Teachers and other adults have seen this.  I've seen it too, but never put much worry into it until this afternoon.  And, until you asked this question I hadn't thought about my reaction of being concerned/upset about the Montesorri teachers pointing this out.   Frankly, no!  I don't think he is unhappy at all.  He does sometimes say the kids at montesorri are babies - or other similar statements.  He doesn't connect with them, and I think he's totally OK with that.  So why aren't we? ;) 

 

As long as he is challenged and busy, his behavior isn't effected by any of this.  He just ignores the other kids.  He's nice to them, not behavior issues, but he just kinda ... breezes by them and would basically always prefer to talk to an adult rather than a kid.   So, yes, I think overall he is content.

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#13 of 20 Old 01-19-2012, 07:00 PM
 
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Thanks for mentioning this about looking into the selectivness of a program.  I was able to do just that online tonight.  Our local public school takes kids that are 95th and above for a pull-out program.  Kids 98th and 99th may get selected for an all-day gifted program they have at a different school. But this doesn't start until 4th grade. 

 

The gifted private school says their minimum IQ is 125.  I'm not expert on IQ, but that seems really low.   

 


125 is right about at the 95th percentile assuming at 15 point standard deviation.  Our local schools take 95th percentile in any one area which encompasses a much larger group than even the top 5%.  We've found that about 15% or more of the kids are selected for GT pull outs using the criteria they set.  I can at least give you the perspective of a parent who is further along in this but I'll forewarn you that it sounds like your kids are more gifted than mine. 

 

My oldest dd is 13.  Her bd made the cut-off to start K by two weeks, so she started as one of the youngest.  She is HG (highly gifted -- around 99th percentile or a bit above) but not likely PG (profoundly gifted -- 99.9th+).  She skipped one grade in elementary, is subject accelerated in science (taking 10th grade science in 9th), and is and has always been in GT pull outs/AP classes/whatever GT or accelerated offerings are available.  She feels out of step socially this year in that she doesn't have a good peer group of other HG kids.  Last year, she had a good group of HG kids in 8th grade who were, for the most part, about 18 months older than she and she felt much happier socially.  She is liked by the other kids and not "weird," but she is lonely.  Academically, she's a top student and probably couldn't handle more quantity (her high school equates rigor with quantity) but she could easily do college courses in most subjects at this point.
 

My youngest is 11 and has very high IQ scores (99.9th), but she is 2e (twice exceptional).  She didn't quite make the cut-off to start K in the district in which she is enrolled but we snuck her around it by starting her in a different district.  She is, therefore, younger by a good amount than her grade peers.  She is subject accelerating in math, was in an everyday GT replacement class for reading in 4th and 5th grade, and will likely do some "honors" classes next year when they are available at her middle school.  Her other issues make it such that she hasn't needed as major of acceleration as has her sister or as her IQ scores would suggest, though.

 

 

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#14 of 20 Old 01-19-2012, 07:35 PM
 
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I don't have any firsthand experience with montessori.  First, I'll say that.  But, I do have a three-year-old who is reading near a second grade level, does math on her fingers, and has interests not common among preschoolers.  She is in preschool, and we have no problems.  We just have no problems.  She is in a 100% play-based program.  She goes twice a week in the afternoon.  And, she loves it.  She has made friends.  (And, she is also socially different.)  Otherwise, she is at home with me, and I follow her lead.

 

Your DS has only been there a month, and the school is freaking out.  That is not a good sign.  I just have a hard time understanding what your DS could possibly be doing that is so hard for a montessori school to accommodate.  Can you elaborate?  I though montessori schools were pretty child-led.  If he wants to read, can't they give him his favorite books?  If he wants to count, can' they let him count some pea gravel?  Add and subtract those.  Aren't the math manipulatives pretty open ended? I though Montessori was big on life skills.  I thought any child no matter what level is supposed to enjoy washing clothes, polishing silver wear, and preparing food.  Am I missing something?  Also, how long does he go to school?  Can they push him up to kindergarten?

 

You wrote the main reason for putting him in preschool was the social aspect-- Oh, boy, do I get that--  but, I do not think this school is achieving this.  It does not sound like he is connecting with his peers.   In my opinion a three-year-old should be able to connect with another child in a classroom of 3-6-year-olds.  That is a large developmental spread.  But, I don't think this type of school is going to especially help your DS socialize.  It might actually be working to isolate him more.

 

I am not about labeling young children gifted.  Even with testing scores are not stable until 7-years-old. I would be cautious of letting the school blame their failure on his "extreme giftedness."  (I would also be cautious of a pediatrician claiming to know an 18 month old will need special schooling.)   Personally, I would not appreciate being told such a dramatic prediction of my 3-year-olds future education.  I would not stay at that school.  I would pull my daughter and sign up for a bunch of extra curricular activities.

 

We also have a gifted magnet school down the road from us.  I looked into it for PreK next fall.  They only require a 125 on the WPPSI and then instruct at one grade level ahead.  I also learned through the grapevine that they do no differentiation.  Instead, we are going to stay with our small (read: super small class sizes) private school (preschool-8th) that delays any academics until Kindergarten and then readily pushes kids up into the upper grades for differentiation.  I am just sold on that right now.  At home, it is child led with no limits, and, so far, I am able to meet her academic needs without using any curriculums, workbooks, or programs-- much like how I thought montessori schools operated.  

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Thanks for mentioning this about looking into the selectivness of a program.  I was able to do just that online tonight.  Our local public school takes kids that are 95th and above for a pull-out program.  Kids 98th and 99th may get selected for an all-day gifted program they have at a different school. But this doesn't start until 4th grade. 

 

The gifted private school says their minimum IQ is 125.  I'm not expert on IQ, but that seems really low.   

 


Didn't they re-scale one of the tests and 125 FSIQ used to be 130-something? 

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#16 of 20 Old 01-20-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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Your DS has only been there a month, and the school is freaking out.  That is not a good sign.  I just have a hard time understanding what your DS could possibly be doing that is so hard for a montessori school to accommodate.  Can you elaborate?  I though montessori schools were pretty child-led.  If he wants to read, can't they give him his favorite books?  If he wants to count, can' they let him count some pea gravel?  Add and subtract those.  Aren't the math manipulatives pretty open ended? I though Montessori was big on life skills.  I thought any child no matter what level is supposed to enjoy washing clothes, polishing silver wear, and preparing food.  Am I missing something?  Also, how long does he go to school?  Can they push him up to kindergarten?

 

You wrote the main reason for putting him in preschool was the social aspect-- Oh, boy, do I get that--  but, I do not think this school is achieving this.  It does not sound like he is connecting with his peers.   In my opinion a three-year-old should be able to connect with another child in a classroom of 3-6-year-olds.  That is a large developmental spread.  But, I don't think this type of school is going to especially help your DS socialize.  It might actually be working to isolate him more.

 

I am not about labeling young children gifted.  Even with testing scores are not stable until 7-years-old. I would be cautious of letting the school blame their failure on his "extreme giftedness."  (I would also be cautious of a pediatrician claiming to know an 18 month old will need special schooling.)   Personally, I would not appreciate being told such a dramatic prediction of my 3-year-olds future education.  I would not stay at that school.  I would pull my daughter and sign up for a bunch of extra curricular activities.

 

 


Leaving the school seems premature. Apparently he's happy. The  teachers are trying to keep him engaged and meet his needs. They are providing him with works ("work" in the Montessori sense of the word) that are at his current level. That sounds child-led to me. I don't see any urgent distress that requires pulling him out immediately.

 

It has been only a month and some kids take a while to warm up to new people and new situations. I would give him a little time to make some social connections. This early on, the older children may not have recognized that he is a potential playmate and able to keep up with their games, since he is only 3 y.o. Even in a multi-age classroom, there is often some grouping that happens between the older children and the younger children. Also, if this is a traditional Montessori, the 6 y.o.'s have been together for 3 years and have a fairly well-gelled social group. It can be hard for a newcomer, particularly one who is younger AND somewhat introverted, to break into an established social group. I would ask the teachers to help identify one or two other classmates that might be good playmates. Then I'd help nurture any potential friendships with after-school play time and playdate invitations. From a social point of view, pulling him out before he's had a chance to develop a friendship and experience how that happens may be more harmful than helpful. 

 

There are some children who connect better with older children and adults. I would keep looking for a variety of multi-age experiences and encourage friendships there. For my dc, they've enjoyed theatre groups, art classes and music ensembles that provide that kind of opportunity. Extra-curriculars are a good suggestion. I'm not sure how entering a school situation that removes the multi-age aspect (like a play-based pre-school) will be helpful at this point. Once a gifted program becomes available, he may find some like-minded peers in the class. 

 

OP, I think the comments about allowing him to explore non-academic areas are pertinent. Some kids aren't interested in the practical life and sensorial areas but it's not clear from your post whether your ds enjoys them or not. They may present a different kind of challenge for him at school though, and it's worth discussing it further with the directress. 

 

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Leaving the school seems premature. Apparently he's happy. The  teachers are trying to keep him engaged and meet his needs. They are providing him with works ("work" in the Montessori sense of the word) that are at his current level. That sounds child-led to me. I don't see any urgent distress that requires pulling him out immediately.

 

It has been only a month and some kids take a while to warm up to new people and new situations. I would give him a little time to make some social connections. This early on, the older children may not have recognized that he is a potential playmate and able to keep up with their games, since he is only 3 y.o. Even in a multi-age classroom, there is often some grouping that happens between the older children and the younger children. Also, if this is a traditional Montessori, the 6 y.o.'s have been together for 3 years and have a fairly well-gelled social group. It can be hard for a newcomer, particularly one who is younger AND somewhat introverted, to break into an established social group. I would ask the teachers to help identify one or two other classmates that might be good playmates. Then I'd help nurture any potential friendships with after-school play time and playdate invitations. From a social point of view, pulling him out before he's had a chance to develop a friendship and experience how that happens may be more harmful than helpful. 

 

There are some children who connect better with older children and adults. I would keep looking for a variety of multi-age experiences and encourage friendships there. For my dc, they've enjoyed theatre groups, art classes and music ensembles that provide that kind of opportunity. Extra-curriculars are a good suggestion. I'm not sure how entering a school situation that removes the multi-age aspect (like a play-based pre-school) will be helpful at this point. Once a gifted program becomes available, he may find some like-minded peers in the class. 

 

OP, I think the comments about allowing him to explore non-academic areas are pertinent. Some kids aren't interested in the practical life and sensorial areas but it's not clear from your post whether your ds enjoys them or not. They may present a different kind of challenge for him at school though, and it's worth discussing it further with the directress. 

 




Thanks - we definitely don't want to pull him out.  I think we have to take things year-to-year, day-to-day... and in this moment our son is happy and adaquately challenged.   I also think and hope that with time he'll connect with the other kids.  He is a bit shy at first with people, and he's only been there for a short while.  And, as you said, other kids in the class have been together for 3 years.  He's a newcomer ... AND he's a bit different AND a bit shy.  So, yeah, it makes sense to me that he isn't totally connecting with the other kids yet.

 

This montesorri has a summer camp program.  They encouraged us to enroll him in this because it is more play-based (less academic than the regular school year) and it may be a time for him to come out of his shell.

 

I love a lot of things about this school.  They really seem to be in agreement with the way we parent and our values.   Very child-led, which we love.  They definitely aren't the type of place that wants kids to fit into a box.  They understand that each child is different and on their own path - being different doesn't equate to there being a problem.  We really appreciate this mindset.

 

Thanks again for your thoughtful replies!

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Your information is coming from the teachers at school?  I would listen carefully to what they say about your child in their context, but would consider consulting professionals with expertise in giftedness for your larger issues.  They may have never encountered a child with skills as advanced as your child, and even if they've encountered one or two others, kids are different from one another.

 

I would not be worried at all about a 3 year old in a new environment not making friends.  Three year olds are still spending a portion of their play time in parallel play.  Plus, your child is different from the other kids so it will take all of them time to find common ground.  That's ok.  We've always put a real emphasis on social skill development, but there is a wide variation of just fine in children.


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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This is the first time we've had him in a classroom with other children, and it honestly has gotten me to be quite concerned.  If my 3 year old has mastered 6 year old materials, where will he be when he is 6?  What kind of school could accomodate him?

 

We live in a good school district - one with a great reputation. People move to our town to send their kids through our school system.  But they don't even offer gifted services until 4th grade.   I downloaded the curriculum summaries, and our son has already mastered all of the kindergarten curriculum and most of 1st grade as well. 


 

My 7-year-old daughter had some cognitive testing done last year as part of a longitudinal medical study, and she falls into the "highly gifted" category, 99th percentile, across the board.  We have not shared the test results with her school, but have had several conversations with people at her school about how to meet her educational needs.  I'd say she's border-line, regarding whether she needs the private gifted school (expensive and more than an hour away), home-schooling, or if her needs can be met with a modified regular public school program.

 

I was impressed by Montessori methods, and followed them at home for my daughter in the early years.  We couldn't afford private Montessori preschool, but we enrolled her in a multi-age program at a public play-based pre-school for kids aged 3-7.  She had already mastered 90% of the standards for their 7-year-olds by the time she enrolled.  It worked well when she was 3 playing with 4 and 5-year-olds, but when she was 4 she was complaining of boredom, and we transferred her mid-year to a regular academic K-5 public school.  Her birthday is close to the age cut-off, so she is always one of the youngest in her class.  That makes us a little more reluctant to ask for a full grade skip.


We also live in a district that does not officially begin "advanced" programming until the 4th grade, based on 3rd grade test results.  However, this year my daughter's school actually started a few unadvertised pull-out classes for a handful of advanced 2nd and 3rd graders.  Those classes are in literature (librarian-led reading group, with writing assignments including a website project) and science (projects with the school's science specialist). They said they were going to do advanced math for some of these kids as well, but that hasn't happened yet.  I suspect it is because there really aren't enough kids at my daughter's math level.  Her 2nd grade teacher provides different homework packets for her, mostly 4th grade level work.  All of the kids now have access to online self-paced math and reading programs, so my daughter can work on 4th and 5th grade math and reading at home.  The principal allows my daughter to take violin lessons in an after-school program, normally offered for kids in grades 3-5.

 

So, the official school curriculum (which I also downloaded, and read with dismay) isn't necessary what the school can provide for your child. I don't know how this will work out for our daughter in the long run, especially since it just started this year, after a frustrating experience with kindergarten and 1st grade.  It isn't ideal, and I am regularly looking at other schooling options.  I think we will have to tweak some things for the second half of the year, and definitely need to have some more discussions with the school about what to plan for next year. 

 

The biggest problem now is that for 90% of the classroom time, instruction is well below her level. The school is still required to present and test her on grade-level material.  This morning she said they took their mid-year math assessment yesterday, and she found it to be "kindergarten-level" math.  The vast majority of her actual "learning" time is on her own, or with me, so she feels most of the school day is wasted.  I've learned to ask "What did you work on today?" instead of "What did you learn today?", which is kind of sad, actually.   

 

Recognizing the limits of what her school can offer, we do several things outside of school, including a fun math class for kids at a local university.  We are also studying history at home by raiding the library on a regular basis.  We've finished with the kids' section (at several branches) and have moved on to the adults' section.   We got a membership to the science museum, and go pretty often.

 

Starting in the regular "advanced" 4th grade program, which will require transferring her to another school, the curriculum is supposed to be advanced in all subjects, so we are just hoping to cobble something together until then. At that time, she will ideally have some intellectual peers to work with, and the teachers will be able to present more advanced material during the regular school day.

 

Whatever education option you select, you can probably look forward to being very involved in regular adjustments!  Enjoy....

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Thank you all for your helpful responses!

 

Today we had the conference that followed our initial observation.  We are still feeling a bit shell shocked from it all to be honest.  We were straight up told that no public school, even the best public school in the state, could accommodate our son.  The cynical part of me began to think this was just a sales-pitch for their Montessori until they then also said that they didn't know how much longer THEY could accommodate him either.   He's 3 years old, in a 3-6 class, and the most advanced reading and math student in the room.  He's requiring more and more advanced works, and there is just a limit to how far they can go with him.  It is a PK-6 school, but age 3 he is already mastering 6 and 7 year old work - so you can see where they think this is all going.

 

 I would see what they do with their 5/6 year olds that are advanced....At 3- even reading at a 3rd grade level, there may be a 6 yr old doing the same (I know that in our 1st grade class of 6/7s there are three kiddos at that level).

 

Yes, there are limits. But at 3. There is a lot of depth they can add, as well as social skills and just- well, experience. Montessori does cycles of activities and he could benefit from each. ( the one in our area did land forms for 3-6 and it was fabulous!) Also exploring art, science, etc is differentiated easily.

 

 

The director of the school suggested the private gifted school might be best suited for him when he gets a little older.  She suggested that we wait until he is 6 and then test him and go from there.  (By test him, I assume she meant an IQ test - I didn't ask.)

 

Yes, you will get more accurate results at age 6. But make sure  you explore all your options. Our local GT school would not take 'special needs/2E' kiddos at.all ( I think of my DDs one of which has social delays and the other a mild physical disability). and is very very pricey. 

 

Also at 6, you will be more aware if there IS A big social delay or if it is just personality or a concern at all. 

 

 

The part that is upsetting to me is that he is apparently struggling socially.  He has no interest in the other children.  His teacher told us one of his classmates said "he can read big books, he can count in the thousands, but he doesn't even know my name yet?"  It makes me so sad to think of him being isolated.  He gets along OK with everyone, there is no drama.  But he just doesn't seem interested in the other kids.  He prefers the adults.  We've noticed this at home too.  He plays well with his baby sister and adores her - but he definitely prefers adult company otherwise.

 

He is 3. LOTS of 3 yr olds are still parallel playing and desiring adult company. Most kids will develop more play based skills in the next 3 years. Some wont, but most will. I taught 3 yr old preschool and we had a few (what I suspect GT) kiddos come through. Some did well sociall, some were still mastering basic social skills. They are 3- a wide range of normal. It is important that the school he is at looks at his development overall. Just because he can think like a 5/6 yr old it does not mean that he is emotionally 5/6.

 

Sometimes people assume that an advanced kiddo should also act advanced behaviorally (for example a 3 year old reading at 2nd grade level may or may not be writing at that level...most likely not.Physically it takes muscle strength and coordination that many many 3 yrs just dont have. They get frustrated that they have the ideas, but lack the skill to put it on paper.)

 

For example. My DD played/talked only her teachers and her twin through 5 yrs old. Finally, at 5 she desired some interaction with her peers. She did make the observation that they like different things than she did and some could not read. We discussed it and she simply found other things to do with them (play games, draw, etc).

 

Any advice on how we can help him socially?  The school reassured us that he is only 3 and a lot can change in a year.  But they said his extreme giftedness could be part of the "problem" in this regard.   We have him in swim lessons and some other local activities with area kids - but he's never really bonded with any other kids.  When we ask him who is friends are, he lists adults he knows. 

 

You could do some playacting (how to approach to play, how to ask a friend to play, review taking turns, etc), but some kiddos are introverts. Some are extroverts. Some are just more willing to play with kids that have different interests than themselves and other are only attracted to kids that have the same interests.

 

 


 

 



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Good questions!  Not having a friend, and not having any interest in the other kids is what I mean by that.  Teachers and other adults have seen this.  I've seen it too, but never put much worry into it until this afternoon.  And, until you asked this question I hadn't thought about my reaction of being concerned/upset about the Montesorri teachers pointing this out.   Frankly, no!  I don't think he is unhappy at all.  He does sometimes say the kids at montesorri are babies - or other similar statements.  He doesn't connect with them, and I think he's totally OK with that.  So why aren't we? ;) 

 

As long as he is challenged and busy, his behavior isn't effected by any of this.  He just ignores the other kids.  He's nice to them, not behavior issues, but he just kinda ... breezes by them and would basically always prefer to talk to an adult rather than a kid.   So, yes, I think overall he is content.

 

 

If he interacts with adults well, no worries. If he fails to make eye contact or only talks about certain topics, etc even with adults-- maybe look into some social skills classes. But also --- is he an only child? Sometimes only kiddos are so very very used to working, talking, interacting with adults that they prefer it. It is what they know best and feel comfortable. It is not a negative thing, just yes-- in a new environment (school) he is more likely to gravitate toward what he is comfortable (adults).



 



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I don't have any firsthand experience with montessori.  First, I'll say that.  But, I do have a three-year-old who is reading near a second grade level, does math on her fingers, and has interests not common among preschoolers.  She is in preschool, and we have no problems.  We just have no problems.  She is in a 100% play-based program.  She goes twice a week in the afternoon.  And, she loves it.  She has made friends.  (And, she is also socially different.)  Otherwise, she is at home with me, and I follow her lead.

 

 

This is what we did. Both my DDs were reading fluently at 3. Both did well in preschool, but one DD did not have 'friends' until age 5 or so, she just did not get how to manage a friendship and preferred to discuss dinosaurs or hibernation with her teachers.

 

 

 

I am not about labeling young children gifted.  Even with testing scores are not stable until 7-years-old. I would be cautious of letting the school blame their failure on his "extreme giftedness."  (I would also be cautious of a pediatrician claiming to know an 18 month old will need special schooling.)   Personally, I would not appreciate being told such a dramatic prediction of my 3-year-olds future education.  I would not stay at that school.  I would pull my daughter and sign up for a bunch of extra curricular activities.

 

I agree here. Honestly, we had some major worries when DDs were reading Frog and Toad at 3, Rainbow Magic/ Magic Tree House at 4. But they are now 6 and doing well in public school. Yes, they have modified the curriculum for writing, math , and reading. But it works. They are the youngest at 5y 10 m when 1st grade started- but that works well too for now.  They both have made strides in writing (not ideas but how to organize and produce a final draft) and spelling. Will it work long term, I dont know. But the schools also have been great with dealing with one DDs social delays (yes, still there) and the other DDs physical special needs.

 

If the school is freaking out, I would switch schools. It seems odd for a Montesorri to be so alarmist for a 3 yr old a month into starting. I would also explore more activities that meet your DS interests-- a nature club (we have preschool ones in our area), art class....whatever works. 

 

It is so so so hard to see at 3 what might be best. I would go with what you know now and enjoy.

 

We also have a gifted magnet school down the road from us.  I looked into it for PreK next fall.  They only require a 125 on the WPPSI and then instruct at one grade level ahead.  I also learned through the grapevine that they do no differentiation.  Instead, we are going to stay with our small (read: super small class sizes) private school (preschool-8th) that delays any academics until Kindergarten and then readily pushes kids up into the upper grades for differentiation.  I am just sold on that right now.  At home, it is child led with no limits, and, so far, I am able to meet her academic needs without using any curriculums, workbooks, or programs-- much like how I thought montessori schools operated.  

 

This sounds odd. GT school that does not differentiate?? Really? No way. Since the GT kiddos could vary widely in talents and abilities.



 

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