There is a difference between identifying a gifted & talent child and tracking them into a GT program. One of the most important steps is to talk to your child about what it means to be gifted & talented and how that will impact their life. As a parent, you are probably both proud and concerned at the same time. It’s wonderful to know that your child is above the fold, but their experience and success at school is more important than any label or program.
Your child may truly benefit from the GT programs available in your school or they may choose to stay in the normal track of classes to stay with friends or maintain the flow of their education. With the right conversation, you can help your child make the best decision for their school experience.
Discuss the Meaning of Gifted & Talented
Gifted & talented is a special moniker applied to children who have very high potential. They tend to be more creative, exhibit early critical thinking abilities, and often excel in class. However, GT isn’t the same thing as AP (Advanced Placement), which is solely based on academic performance. GT children tend to benefit more from an in-depth exploration of subject matter and a more flexible curriculum in class.
Talk to your child about what it means to be identified as GT; that they have the potential to excel in one or more subjects at school beyond normal student potential. This means additional classes and programs might be available to them, and these classes might have some great benefit to them. But it’s not guaranteed that the classes will be beneficial and it’s not necessary for your child to change their track in school.
Explore the GT Program Options in Your Local Schools
The next step is to find out what your child’s GT options really are. Each district and individual school has their own GT program for children identified as Gifted & Talented. In elementary school, these programs often involve fun out-of-class projects and activities. But in middle-school and above, GT programs vary widely. Be careful: Some schools don’t understand GT and treat GT classes as another version of AP classes. This means harder lessons and more homework, without much consideration for a GT child’s more creative approach to learning
If your child is creative but not prepared for tougher lessons in school, make sure your school offers a GT track that is separate from the AP track. If your child is also prepared for AP courses, they may enjoy a GT-style of advanced academic placement. You may also be able to pick-and-choose which GT classes your child gets involved in.
Ask Your Child What They’d Like to Do
Finally, it’s time to talk to your child about what they would like to do about being gifted and talented. Make sure they understand that being GT means great potential and creativity, but not an obligation to take a particular class or even to excel academically. Then talk to them about the GT programs and classes available.
After-school activities are more likely to focus on creativity and in-depth learning while curriculum classes might be in-depth or they might be just a mirror of AP classes, or even combined with AP classed. Let your child choose whether they want to track into their school’s GT program or go on with a normal curriculum knowing they might benefit from more in-depth discussion or tutoring instead.
If your child has tested as gifted & talented, you have cause to be proud. The next step, however, is something you and your child should decide together. Consider the qualities of the GT program in your child’s school and the options of alternate schools nearby that your child might better benefit from. For more insights into Gifted & Talented programs for your child, contact us today.