“In an early years setting, gifted children may require tasks which enable them to engage in critical thinking and deep reflection,” suggests Melinda. “They may pursue special interest areas with heightened passion, even within their play-based early years setting,” says Melinda.

While there is no direct reference to gifted and talented education in the Early Years Framework, the broad scope of the Belonging, Being and Becoming document means there is scope for what may become individual or personalised learning programs for identified gifted children.

Melinda also suggests that significant adaptation of learning programs should reflect the additional needs of gifted children. “They may be keen to know how and why something works and would benefit from being given opportunities to explore through an enquiry-based model,” says Melinda. “They may require more challenging puzzles and games and be seeking activities to futher stimulate their thought processes”

In terms of literacy, Melinda highlights that gifted children may be able to read by the time they are in preschool. “They may be already able to read and thus may require engaging books on topics beyond the interest of their age peers,” explains Melinda. “They may need to engage in higher order questioning during story time, allowing them an opportunity to delve into a story and use their inferential reading abilities to discover the meanings behind the stories’ plot.”

However, there must still be an element of free, imaginative play in the early years setting. According to Melinda, “It is important to note that the gifted early learner may also want to simply play in the sandpit or in the playground with friends; the best task is often simply a task that follows the child’s lead, thereby meeting their unique needs.”

We kindly thank Melinda for her time and expertise in developing these articles. Join us next week for the third feature focusing on how a primary school can enrich the learning of children with gifted and talented programs.

About Melinda:

Melinda is a high school music teacher (B.Arts (mus), Grad. Dip. Ed (sec. mus), and is currently completing postgraduate studies in gifted education. She has directed and taught in a private music school from 2001. Melinda is the co-founder of Gifted Families Support Group Inc. (GFSG Inc.) which is the NSW State gifted association represented on the Australian Association for Education of the Gifted and Talented (AAEGT). She represents NSW on the AAEGT, as well as serving as the national associations’ Vice-President. Melinda’s most recent experience involved the instigation and development of Australia’s first National Gifted Awareness Week, an annual event to be promoted and held in March each year. Melinda has 3 children, all who have been identified as highly to exceptionally gifted, two of which also have learning disabilities.

 

www.gfsg.org.au

NSW State Association: GFSG Inc. Gifted Families Support Group Inc.

http://www.aaegt.net.au

National Association: AAEGT - Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented