Is It A Gift To Be Gifted?

February 16, 2022  |  Published by

I'm a proud mom, okay? So let's take a moment to list a few things that my preschooler, Grayson, can do that blow my mind.

1. He can complete a United States puzzle (that doesn't have any outlines!) and then name a vast majority of the states.
2. He plays Monopoly! We're talking adding/subtracting most of the money and even asking for change.
3. He can read the calorie intake on the back of the mustard and ketchup jars.
4. He reads the directions for Lego books over and over and over again...
5. He even reads me books that are at a first grade level.

Now if you are a parent, caregiver, or educator of a child in preschool, you're probably aware that the goal of preschool is not to teach kids to read. In fact, the experienced educators who have a strong knowledge in what is developmentally appropriate will tell you that reading is not a skill that should be taught until further into Kindergarten.

Photo by Sven Brandsma
Photo by Sven Brandsma

So... I don't tell many people that he can read. I didn't force him to read. He was just interested, ready, and I had some time with him throughout quarantine to teach him a little bit. He is actually almost out of my educator skill set for teaching reading skills. We've looked into long vowel sounds, blends, and an assortment of other concepts that I never thought I would be exploring with my 4-year-old. Sounds like a great problem to have, right?

Well, now we're ready to register him for Kindergarten. My dream as a parent is to have him continue with his current abilities and be challenged academically, but also grow socially and emotionally. He's going to be incredibly disappointed to find out that letter knowledge is, like, the first month of Kindergarten. They'll be teaching him what an "F" looks like and that it makes the sound at the beginning of the word "flower."

What if he shuts down, hates school, gets bored, and gets in trouble? What happens when a teacher gives him 20 more worksheets just to keep him busy? This happens, people!

I know way too much about schools and the way they function. There are so many kids and needs in Kindergarten. I'm worried they are going to make him part of the academic herd and slow him down. Schools have supports and processes for children with special needs, emotional needs, and behavioral needs... but not a lot of support for children that are advanced.

Not too long ago, I was chatting with another parent who felt like their child wasn't being challenged academically in preschool. But they also shared that their child didn't have any friends. The red flag here? Social-emotional development! Kids have to develop and practice their skills of interacting with others, making friends, communicating their feelings/needs, and working cooperatively.

Friends, the internet has all the answers. We can Google absolutely anything, so don't worry if your child turns 24 and doesn't know how to take 30% off the sale price of a Keurig. They can easily find that answer. But you can't Google "how to make a friend" and then immediately put that into practice very well. It's not just about reading - it's also about making sure kids are whole, with all of their needs being met.

Diagram of the Whole Child
Diagram of the Whole Child

Kindergarten registration is in two weeks. I'll make some calls at some point. I'm preparing to settle for some mediocre supports, if I need to. I mostly need to know that someone will at least try to support him and work with us on that long-term. He's not a genius, he just has interests that need to be supported.

And it is everyone's job in the community to support our kids.

Madeleine Lovett

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