Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness in early childhood
What are the factors influencing giftedness?
In general, the term “high ability” refers to a person’s achievement-related development potential. It is important to note, however, that this potential for achievement cannot be reduced to any single characteristic of the person. Rather, giftedness is a profile of abilities and personality that is shaped by different characteristics of the person. For example, when someone is musically gifted, this ability is not only influenced by exceptional musicality, but also by a high degree of willingness to work hard when learning to play an instrument. A person’s unique ability can manifest itself in different areas, for example, in terms of high cognitive, linguistic, artistic-creative, or athletic abilities. Therefore, the question as to what constitutes the potential for exceptional achievement (i.e., giftedness and high ability) in a specific area must be answered separately for each area.
While the factors that constitute a high potential for achievement are subject to change, they depend both on a child’s age as well as on his or her general developmental status (e.g., in terms of personality traits) and on the extent to which a child’s potential for achievement has already evolved. In this respect, a child’s giftedness is an expression of the developmental status of the child’s achievement potential at a given point in time, and this will evolve over time.
Favorable environmental factors and supportive settings, e.g., a nurturing home or the quality of educational activities provided at the Kita, are a prerequisite for the development of the child’s potential. In addition, the child also plays an active role in developing his or her individual abilities: Children can use the opportunities available to them to develop their potential, contribute to shaping these opportunities through their reactions to them, and demonstrate their own personal commitment to their abilities, e.g., by applying themselves or practicing their skills.