Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness in early childhood
What factors play an important role in early school enrollment?
In specific circumstances, early enrollment or placement into grade two may be an effective intervention for high-ability children. Even for these children, however, the transition to primary school is accompanied by a number of developmental tasks, and these should be carefully monitored and, if necessary, specific support should also be provided.
It is important that the child can meet the cognitive demands of school. Accordingly, if the age of the child is clearly lower than the typical age of first-year school children, he or she should possess above-average intellectual abilities. Although it is not always necessary for the child to take an intelligence test, such a test can be included as an important part of the decision-making process.
Furthermore, it is necessary to assess whether the child is socially and emotionally ready to start school. This includes determining the child’s self-control and self-regulation abilities as well as his or her social skills, such as assertiveness.
The success of early school placement depends on an optimistic and open-minded approach taken by the child, the parents, and the child’s new teacher. Engaging in constructive communication about the child’s strengths and individual needs helps to plan the transition process better and provide support as needed. It is also important to inform both the children and parents thoroughly in advance about the new expectations and — especially in the case of early entry into grade 2 — to prepare them accordingly.
Consulting a counseling center can be advisable from several points of view. Counselors can adopt a neutral position both in the decision-making process and in accompanying early school enrollment and, when opinions are divided, they can function as a mediator to ensure the best interests of the child. Furthermore, counselors have considerable experience with and knowledge gained from similar cases, and they are well aware of the formal regulations of the individual federal states regarding early school enrollment. These qualities create a certain atmosphere of confidence for all involved parties.