Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness in early childhood
Does early school enrollment have a negative impact on children’s later development?
Most scientific studies examining precisely this question have been able to show that the positive aspects of early school enrollment for children with high cognitive ability outweigh the negative aspects. Compared to children who started school at the regular enrollment time, early enrollment did not have more negative effects — neither on social and emotional development nor on academic performance. However, children with average cognitive abilities experienced more negative effects when they were enrolled in school early compared to their peers who began school as scheduled.
Early enrollment of gifted children is considered to be the most important strategy to prevent them from being underchallenged from the beginning of their school career. Besides, it is important to bear in mind that skipping a grade level at a later stage may potentially be more stressful for the child (e.g., due to having “special status” in the new class or having to settle into a new group of classmates again).
The decision to enroll a child in school early should not be made solely on the basis of the child’s cognitive developmental status. Other relevant factors should be taken into account, including the child’s social-emotional functioning as well as the general attitudes held by the child, his or her parents, and the prospective teacher regarding the early placement of the child in school.