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April 2021 IAGC Question of the Month: How can Parents/Educators Support Advanced Learners in Early Childhood/Primary School?

04/26/2021 9:51 AM | Anonymous

How Can Educators and Parents Support Advanced Learners in Early Childhood/Elementary School?

Early childhood and primary school are years filled with incredible learning and growth for young learners --each developing as a unique individual at his or her own pace. But what should parents and educators do when they notice that a child seems to develop reading, language or mathematics capabilities earlier than usual, asks questions that indicate deep curiosity, or exhibit outstanding talent with respect to certain interests? 

The National Association for Gifted Children has several resources that may be helpful to parents of young advanced learners. For example, the NAGC webpage, Nurturing Early Interests and Strengths suggests providing a wide variety of activities, such as using developmentally appropriate activities, pretend play, hands-on activities, and reading together. The article also advises, "Be careful not to extend expectations based on your child’s performance in any one activity to all activities." The NAGC 2016 Early Childhood TIP Sheet by Dr. Nancy Hertzog and Joan Franklin Smutny also provides several ideas and suggestions for parents.

Many important questions that parents may have about how to support children during the early childhood years were addressed at the Illinois Association for Gifted Children's recent online Panel Discussion. Time for Elementary School: What Parents Should know About Early Entrance, Acceleration, and Advanced Learning. Expert panelists included Dr. Nancy Hertzog, Professor or Learning Sciences and Development at the University of Washington, Dr. Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Administrator, Acceleration Institute and Research at the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center, and Dr. Randy Lange, Talent Development Coordinator, District 102in La Grange, Illinois. To access a recording, visit the Illinois Association for Gifted Children Home Page.


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