I’ve blogged previously about Jellybean being on the gifted and talented register. He is in a class now – as a year one child – that is made up mostly of year two children. This means that he’s far happier at school now than he was at various points in reception, and he is generally mixing with the older children and building friendships with them that are closer than friendships he made in his first year of school.
He is processing information at a huge rate and every day has more questions and facts and ideas, and is creating stories, scenarios and situations in which he can explore this knowledge. He spends a lot of his time at home making maths puzzles and doing sums, some quite complex, and his fascination with numbers and patterns in numbers is a joy to watch; he gets such satisfaction from this play, and can focus for hours on his activities. He’s also very interested in computers at the moment.
Midget Gem is a bright button, too, and though he doesn’t seem to have his brother’s lack of empathy or understanding of other people’s feelings, he does have the rapid grasp of new information and endless drive to ask more questions, learn more things, and understand the world around him.
Last night we had a parents’ evening at Midget Gem’s preschool and, though we know he’s bright, he’s less showy about it than his brother so I was very interested to see how he was doing there. We know he’s happy, and excited to go, and loves his keyworker (is in love WITH his keyworker!) and that matters more than anything – but to know he’s also doing well would be a bonus!
It turns out that he’s doing brilliantly. There are various measures they check against that he is surpassing, and so his lovely keyworker said she is doing the next level with him – which is where they look for children to be at the end of their time in preschool, ready to begin reception class; again, in many areas, he is surpassing these measures.
He is fascinated – as his brother – with numbers, patterns and mathematical games, and knows his alphabet and phonic sounds for the letters, and is beginning to put these together and to write them himself. He can do basic sums and count to 100. He isn’t interested in drawing recognisable pictures (something Jellybean has just recently begun to do – and he has gone at it like an addict, creating comics and complex story boards!) and in preschool Midget Gem often doesn’t want to draw, and his keyworker bribes him with maths games to sit and do some pictures with his friends!
She used the word ‘gifted’ over and over again, and said that we should speak to the school before he starts to support his learning in the ways that we speak to them about Jellybean’s.
Both boys are very ahead of their peers academically.
For Jellybean this has led to some difficulties building relationships, as he struggles to relate to children his own age in many situations, and is quite sensitive. Midget Gem doesn’t have that issue, and seems to be very popular and have a large circle of friends in his preschool class, naming one or two over and over as his best friends, but this is something I’ll keep an eye on with him as I remember Jellybean’s preschool teacher (a different preschool) saying the same about him and he never quite got it.
I don’t think Midget Gem has the same difficulties as his brother, but he does have quite a temper and gets very frustrated if he doesn’t get his own way. He likes to lead the play and decide what will happen, and this is something we need to work on when he’s with other children.
All in all I’m very pleased with the way he’s being cared for, and educated, in the preschool we chose. His keyworker understands him very well and commits a lot of time and attention to making sure that he’s happy and enjoying himself, and he is such a happy boy – he loves going to school, he has fantastic fun when he’s there, runs in through the door without a backward glance, and is happy to be picked up and talk about his day at home time.
Having two children on the gifted and talented register isn’t always going to be simple – keeping up with their endless questions, explaining things in ways they understand that expand their knowledge but aren’t too complex, but also don’t patronise because of their young age, is challenging. They are so very bright, and won’t be fobbed off with simple explanations for most things, but want the details and a full understanding of how things work, why, how they were developed and who by. I don’t always have enough answers and this frustrates them as they think I ought to know everything – but ‘it just is’ or ‘because’ or ‘that’s it’ aren’t good enough answers – so I spend a lot of time looking things up to share knowledge with them.
This week we’ve put a huge world map up on their bedroom wall and both are now asking lots of questions about how the world is connected, which countries are where, what people living in those counties are like and what languages they speak – and their thirst for information is endless.
They are, however, still tiny children – and we had a great afternoon at the weekend talking about how far Santa has to fly from the north pole to take presents to the penguins in the south pole!
(they look pink because I had lipstick on, and kissed them all over their faces)