Gifted children learn differently from typical children. While some are truly gifted across all areas, it is very common for gifted children to be asynchronous, meaning they excel in one or more areas, while being average or even weak in other areas.
Trying to learn as part of a group going at the same pace is often frustrating to a student who may be a year or more ahead of the material being presented. If you could imagine as an adult being forced to participate in a middle school class, you can get a sense of what it is like for many gifted students. Like all students, gifted students flourish when they are intellectually stimulated. They also greatly benefit from being around other kids with similar interests and abilities.
Given the current demands of our public schools, it is difficult for teachers to meet the needs of all gifted students, especially those at the highest levels. Recognizing the need to provide more for gifted students, an increasing number of full-time gifted programs have been developed throughout the region. The demand for such programs is extremely high, often turning away more applicants than they admit.
Educating the Highly Gifted is a continuous challenge. Developing rich complex learning is demanding. Yet, these kids thrive in an environment where depth, complexity and choice is a constant. Inquiry learning provides that challenge. In that environment where inquiry is nurtured, the teacher/facilitator’s role is one of collaboration supporting and challenging the learner.
The highly gifted are being identified at a higher rate than a decade ago. More students are coming to our schools with this extraordinary ability. Teachers are challenged when those students are assigned to their classrooms. Resources are limited and students suffer. Consider the Lighthouse Program as an alternative programming option.
More information on the special needs of gifted children can be found on our Resources for Gifted Children page.