Belinda Goh, Director of Schools from Posso Preschool answers your questions on your budding preschooler.
My son is about four years old. Not to sound like a mum who’s blowing her own horn but he seems fairly advanced for his age as compared to his classmates. How do I know if my child is gifted and how can I support him if he is?
The first formal test for giftedness under the Singapore education system is at Primary 3, when the child undergoes a screening and selection test for admission into the Gifted Education Programme. Prior to that, if you wish to get an indication of your child’s intellectual ability, you could visit a registered child psychologist who would undertake an objective assessment of your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Gifted children may appear to be fine, but without the appropriate challenges, they can become bored. Based on our experience, a preschool can address this by preparing more challenging tasks for the child to accomplish whilst still keeping him as part of the class cohort. Another effective way is for the child to become a student-teacher; this gives the child a new sense of responsibility and challenge as he/she assists other children in their learning. This also ensures he/she does not feel isolated from his classmates.
At home, it is important for the parent to be proactive towards the child’s learning. If the parent sees that the traditional curriculum is inadequate to meet the special needs of their gifted child, he/she can take initiative to fill in the gaps by providing books more appropriate for their reading level, conducting hands-on science experiments at home or enrolling them in suitable after school enrichment programmes. It is also important for the parent to encourage socialising and developing interpersonal relationships as gifted children are often aware of how different they are from other children. This can be facilitated through hosting parties, play dates and other social activities.