Schools for Gifted Children

Schools for Gifted Children
Teaching gifted children requires deft handling. These children need intellectual and sensory stimulation. But they also need guidance and careful nurturing so that they grow up handling their special gifts and themselves appropriately.

It is a humbling moment for parents when they realize that their child is gifted. If we accept the definition of gifted as being something along these lines:

"A gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression." ....National Association of Gifted Children

It dawns on us that we have a huge responsibility on our hands. Because you have enriched your child's learning since birth, you understandably are anxious about placing him in a school setting where both his teachers and his peers might misunderstand his giftedness. Ideally, you want him to blossom and flourish in a formal school setting; however you don't want limits placed on how fast he advances. If he decides to explore a particular subject in depth, you want him to be able to do that. If he is doing math several years ahead of his grade level, you want him to have an accelerated math program. You also want him to socialize in as normal a manner as possible. Learning how to fit in is paramount as he matures. Fortunately, you have several options available. Homeschooling, charter schools, talented and gifted programs run by your local school district, your local public school, and private schools are all possibilities into which you should look.

Start by looking for schools in the web. Ask friends and family for their recommendations. Once you have a short list of schools and programs to evaluate, call the schools. A brief telephone conversation will help you decide whether to pursue that particular school in greater depth. Don't equivocate. Ask direct questions about teaching styles and what the school teaches. A teacher of gifted children needs support from the entire school structure. She cannot operate on her own. Has the school made that kind of commitment to teaching gifted children? Be very clear about your expectations. You know full well that if you don't, your child will be unhappy.

Where you live and the programs available in your local public and private schools may limit your choices. Private schools for gifted children are typically highly specialized schools with well-qualified, experienced faculty who understand how to teach gifted children. Schools for gifted children usually base admissions on several criteria and tests, one of which is an IQ test with a minimum of 125-140 the norm. The schools will also want to interview you and your child to see if there is a good match between your needs and requirements and those of the school.

Here are some private schools which offer programs exclusively for gifted children. This list is by no means exhaustive. It should give you an idea of the variety of approaches to teaching your gifted child which are available.

As you delve into the world of differentiated instruction and all the other professional terms and definitions, don't be intimidated. All that matters is that you know that you need to find the most appropriate educational setting for your gifted child. As you visit schools and listen to the professionals' assessments of your child and weigh all the experts' opinions about what your child needs, remember that you know your child best. Use the information you gather to affirm your initial good instincts about the proper course of study. Then proceed accordingly.

Anderson Private School for the Gifted, Talented and Creative, Fort Worth, TX
Ages Served: 4-18
Programs Offered: Nontraditional describes Anderson Private School's approach. That's because gifted children benefit from nontraditional approaches to learning.

Avery Coonley School, Downers Grove, IL
Ages Served: 4-13
Programs Offered: Avery Coonley has been educating gifted children since 1906.

Eagle School, Madison, WI
Ages Served: 4-13

Programs Offered: Eagle School understand that gifted children cannot thrive without guidance and assistance, no matter how intrinsically gifted they may be.

International School of Tucson, AZ
Ages Served: 4-13
Programs Offered: International curriculum, language-immersion

Lee Academy For Gifted Education, Tampa, FL
Ages Served: 4-18
Programs Offered: Unlike many schools for gifted children, Lee Academy does not require an IQ test.

Logan School, Denver, CO
Ages Served: 4-14
Programs Offered: Logan School has been around since 1981. It offers a learning environment in which a gifted child not only thrives intellectually but also on a social and peer-to-peer level.

Long Island School For The Gifted, Huntington Station, NY
Ages Served: 4-15
Programs Offered: LISG gives new meaning to accelerated programs in that its students have finished most high school courses by the time they finish 9th grade.

Loudon School for the Gifted, Ashburn, VA
Ages Served: 11-18
Programs Offered: We are here to deliver academics in a thoughtful and engaging way.

Mirman School For Gifted Child, Los Angeles, CA
Ages Served: 5-14
Programs Offered: Learning for the gifted child takes place in a variety of ways and styles. Miriam School for the Gifted understands that and tailors its programs to each specific need.

Nysmith School for the Gifted, Herndon, VA
Ages Served: 4-14
Programs Offered: Your child will enjoy a balanced approach to stimulating his intellectual needs together with allowing him to socialize with his peers.

Odyssey School, San Mateo, CA

Ages Served: 12-14
Programs Offered: Odyssey School offers a unique program in that it only serves middle school students.

Quest Academy, Palatine, IL
Ages Served: 3-14
Programs Offered: An integral part of Quest's philosophy is character education. This complements the interdisciplinary learning in the academic program.

Realms Of Inquiry, Salt Lake City, UT
Ages Served: 4-18
Programs Offered: Gifted children are independent thinkers. Realms of Inquiry understands that trait and integrates it into its program for bright and gifted children.

Ricks Center for Gifted Children, Denver, CO
Ages Served: 5-14
Programs Offered: The Ricks Center is part of the University of Denver and as such has access to the kind of high-level teaching and coursework which gifted children relish.

Roeper City & Country School, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Ages Served: 4-18
Programs Offered: Besides the stimulation and challenging academics you expect, Roeper offers a variety of languages including Chinese and Latin.

The Schilling School For Gifted Children, Cincinnati, OH
Ages Served: 4-18
Programs Offered: Schilling is one of two schools for gifted in the country which offer kindergarten through 12th grade. The academic programs are honors level and cover a range of courses normally found at the college level.

Steppingstone School, Farmington Hills, MI
Ages Served: 4-13
Programs Offered: Steppingstone uses the Akaba curriculum of differentiated instruction.

Wayland Academy Of Framingham, Framingham, MA
Ages Served: 4-12
Programs Offered: The school offers the enriched courses and stimulating teaching gifted children need.

Questions? Contact me via Twitter. @privateschl

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