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Think you’ve never taught a ‘truly’ gifted child? Think again!

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How well could you tell?

In the next issue of Rattler+Broadside Magazine, CELA’s print and digital journal, Dr Mimi Wellisch brings together her own research and established international evidence that every educator is likely to see at least one moderately gifted child each year in a typical centre-based service.

The question, Mimi’s article tells us, is not just whether the child is ‘gifted’ but whether you can ‘see’ their giftedness and support them as you would any child with special needs.  Her most recent research looked at early childhood teachers and ECE degree courses in NSW and found most teachers commence their careers with little or no knowledge of what giftedness is.

Rarely taught

The topic is not commonly covered in teacher training and if offered, it may be elective. It is rare to find an Australian university that makes it mandatory.  Yet evidence shows that one in 100 children can be described as ‘moderately gifted’ and one in 1000 is ‘highly gifted’ (see the descriptor chart below). With numbers like that, there is every chance that you have a gifted child in your service right now, or that you did last year or will next year.

In fact, if you think you’ve never taught a ‘truly gifted child’, you may need to review your understanding of the definition.

Support for families

Are you professionally prepared to identify gifted children, to support their education and to advise their parents? Are you prepared to recognise that they are described on page 197 of the 2017 Guide to the National Quality Standards, under additional needs? Do you keep records of any special programming considerations to satisfy Regulation 160(3)(h)?

There are also elements in QA 6 that relate to parents of gifted children (6.2.2, 6.31 and 6.3.3), yet a recent study of educator attitudes to giftedness found that many didn’t know how to advise parents, and only 27 per cent had some training in giftedness.

Mimi, who runs Clever Kids Consultancy, is an advocate for the special needs of gifted children and in her Rattler article shares cases you might recognise in hindsight as being similar to children in your own service.

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Subscribe to Rattler or join CELA for free deliver of the print edition (and many more benefits), for this and other feature articles that matter to you, and to the children and families at your service.

If you’ve enjoyed Amplify, you’re going to love the new Rattler+Broadside!

Giftedness Descriptor Chart

Click thumbnail image for PDF version thumbnail of Giftedness descriptors (1).

Related article

Hold them back; bias against gifted children


Bec Lloyd is the founder and managing director of Bec & Call Communication, providing professional writing, editing and strategy services to the school and early childhood education sector since 2014. In 2018 she launched UnYucky mindset and menus for happier family mealtimes. Formerly the communications lead at ACECQA and BOS (now NESA), Bec is a journo and mother of three who produces Amplify for us at Community Early Learning Australia.

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One thought on “Think you’ve never taught a ‘truly’ gifted child? Think again!

  1. This was very interesting & I realise now how many children & families in my care may have just slipped through not receiving enough support, and I don’t feel equipped enough to know how I could I have supported them more. I can think of a quite a few children in my many years of children’s services who hung around me and the other educators rather than mixing with their peers who were obviously intelligent but appeared to be lacking in social and their own wellbeing skills. As my focus was always centred around their social and emotional skills as being the most important, I realise I was not always guiding or understanding them or addressing their real needs.

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