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How to Recognize the Gifted Pre-School Child

Updated on July 2, 2008
Photo: kokopinto,Flickr
Photo: kokopinto,Flickr

Most children won't be identified as gifted until they get to school, but many gifted children show the signs at a very early age. Wouldn't it be nice to know how to identify a gifted child before he or she gets to school? A lot of parents are asking how to identify a gifted child. This article will help you understand know if your pre-school aged child is gifted. There are particular signs of a bright child. Identifying very young gifted children early can make their first years in school much easier and happier.

How to Know If a 2- 4-Year-Old Child is Gifted

  • Your gifted preschooler may exhibit the following:
  • Unusual artistic ability, such as drawing very realistic pictures
  • Uncommon interest and facility for numbers, like calculating numbers in her head
  • Outpaces peers in terms of developmental milestones
  • Uses advanced vocabulary
  • Speaks in full sentences at a younger age than his peers
  • Shows extreme curiosity, never stops asking questions
  • Is very active, but not hyperactive
  • Concentrates exclusively on one task for long periods of time
  • Shows passion for his or her interests
  • Displays vivid imagination, including multiple imaginary friends who interact with the child and each other
  • Ability to memorize facts and recall information from TV, movies, or books
  • Expresses a feeling that she is different from the other children
  • Becomes easily frustrated due to the ability to think faster than he can communicate

Knowing For Sure: Testing Preschoolers for Giftedness

Although most preschoolers will not need to be tested for giftedness until they enter school, you may want to find out for yourself prior to that time. Ask preschool teachers, pediatricians, and friends with children for referrals to mental health professionals who specialize in working with gifted children. Many child psychologists conduct tests for giftedness. It can cost several hundred dollars, but some insurance plans actually cover the cost under mental health benefits.

IQ and ability tests can be given to kids as young as three years old. However, many in the field won't rely on test results before the child reaches age five. Until this time, scores tend to fluctuate significantly. The average IQ ranges from 85 - 115, with gifted considered by some to be anything over 130. That said, there are a lot of other factors that go into a determination of giftedness when a child is formally evaluated (usually by the school system). Objective and subjective measures, including parents and teacher impressions, are combined with test data to better understand the gifted child.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I am 12 years old and was first described as 'Exceptionally Gifted' when I was 2 years old, by a child psychiatrist just after I read three pages of the original 'Ten Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.' At nursery school I was getting along well, learning three languages and KS1 Maths and Science.

    Unfortunately, when I started Primary School aged 4, I had to learn from scratch what I'd known instinctively since I was 2. The teacher classified any tantrums I had as bad behaviour, and I got kicked out of the accelerated Year 2 (first grade) class after I showed them up. Eventually, things were sorted, and by Year 6 (fifth grade) I was having one on one tuition with Secondary School teachers.

    Again, when I entered a new school, I had to learn everything from scratch again. I remember screaming at the teacher after she tried to teach me how to add, subtract, multiply by, and divide by ten. I almost punched the person sitting next to me after they failed to do the sum: 8+20. I have now been put in another accelerated class for maths, and am currently doing work for sixteen year olds. My public school has a policy of kids doing all GCSE's at the same time, so I am not allowed to take them, but I am currently performing at a consistent A* level. In all other subjects I am still with less able children.

    My one saving grace is an online network called 'OLP,' which runs courses in various subjects for able children, for instance I did Theology, Business, Philosophy, Fibonacci Maths, and Debating in summer '09.

    If you have an intelligent child, schemes like this are incredibly important, as they can provide in ways that schools cannot. They often run with support from universities - OLP is partnered with Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and a face-to-face one called Iguana is run with Warwick Uni.

    Yeah, so… that's it. Thank you for reading.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    You have to see this list of "Characteristics of the Above Average Child":

    I could not believe how The Gifted Preschool described my child to a "T"! I read this list and immediately knew this was the preschool for us. The teachers are amazing and supportive with just the right amount of early academics to challenge the children while still providing a fun and nurturing environment. We love the Gifted Preschool!!!

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I am wondering about my son. He seems to have an obsession with letters and numbers. He will go in his room and work on mazes and puzzles for hours. Recently, he redecorated his entire room with the entire alphabet. He wrote the letter backwards and forwards. He seems to be very sweet and compassionate, but no matter how many times he gets in trouble for this, he just does it again. I am wondering if i should have him tested.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 

    12 years ago from West By God

    My oldest daughter, now 32 was gifted.  The things they put her through--not so sure if labelling a child is a good idea.  She had the ability to do most things such as math and such at a very early age.  She solved Rubic's cube in less than five minutes--when she was 5 years old.  They put her in special classes in her daily regular school programs-only she got tired of the extra work they gave her.  She was gifted, but instead of more challenging work they just gave her more of the regular stuff and she wouldn't do it.  She was very strong-willed.  She couldn't understand why they would just give her more work and not the work that she wanted--which was something creative.  She was good in music and choir and she now teaches flags at the local high schooler in her area.  She said that in all her years as being gifted in school the hard part only came in her second year of college.  She works in teh Accouniting Iformation System field developing all kinds of financial to health related computer systems and software.

    They alwo wanted her to skip a grade and we wouldn't have it.  It is not good emotionally for the child.  Being gifted is very different to that child and being a parent to that gifted child is hard.  The gifted child often knows about things or expresses them way earlier then what a parent thinks they should.  They test your will many, many times--just for the sake of testing.  Most children do this but will give up....gifted's tend to do it longer and with more intention.

  • flutterbug77 profile image


    12 years ago from USA

    Hi Lela. I like your profile- wiping noses, checking for nits. Been there. Done that.

  • MasonsMom profile image


    12 years ago from U.S.A.

    Great info here, Lela. I'd love to read more hubs about preschool-aged/ toddler kids :)

  • commentonthis7 profile image


    12 years ago

    Geart Hub and good info


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