Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness in early childhood
Are there special skills that early childhood educators should have for supporting children with high ability?
There are two essential prerequisites that educational professionals should fulfill to meet the demands of working with gifted children: First, educators should recognize that there are many different types of abilities and that, in this sense, high ability is a facet of both heterogeneity and “normality.” They should be able to appreciate and support children as individuals and view themselves as learning companions. It is important that early childhood educators talk to children about their interests, their well-being, and their points of view and take these into account in daily routines and activities, thereby making no distinctions between the children. We often speak of adopting a dialog-based stance in this context. Finally, supporting high-ability children also requires the willingness to provide opportunities for each child to perform at his or her own learning level, to enable the child to reach the next milestone in his or her development, and to treat the child with respect and appreciation as a person and for his or her abilities.
Second, educators also require extensive knowledge on aspects of giftedness and on specific issues related to the identification and support of high-ability children in early childhood. This knowledge will enable them to recognize special abilities, to classify their own observations, to systematically test diagnostic hypotheses, and to derive suitable measures to support the individual child. In addition, they also need to know who can provide them with expert advice when necessary as well as where or to whom they can refer parents who are seeking advice.