Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness

Allgemein

What role does a child’s family background play?

The development of a child’s abilities in early childhood is strongly related to the stimulation and support provided at home. There are considerable differences in family upbringing conditions in Germany, depending on the social and occupational status of the parents and their level of education as well as the importance of education in the family and a family’s financial resources. Encouraging language skills at home also particularly depends on whether the parents are new immigrants to Germany and whether the German language is the first or second language both for them and their children.

Financially disadvantaged families often lack the resources to provide the diverse stimulation and learning opportunities that support gifted development, such as musical instruments and instruction, books, travel, or attending cultural events. As the child ages, the influences from early education at the Kita and later at school exert a greater impact on development. Nevertheless, familial and social background still shape a person’s development of his or her abilities and educational career. Despite many efforts in recent years to make the school system more equitable, recent studies indicate that children from less educated and financially disadvantaged homes continue to face higher hurdles in their school careers.

Children from these families are less likely to be identified as gifted, to participate in special education programs, to attend specialized courses, and to skip grades, and they are underrepresented in student support programs that award scholarships for the gifted. They are also less likely to receive a recommendation to attend the highest form of secondary school (i.e., Gymnasium) (even with equally high academic achievement) than children from more socially advantaged families. Thus, children from less educated and financially weaker families face difficulties in developing their abilities and talents. Both the education system as well as external support organizations for gifted students have an obligation to provide even more opportunities to compensate for this disadvantage.

Understanding

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