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«Radue, L. (2009). The forgotten children. APEX, 15 (4), 45-55. Retrieved online from The Forgotten Children ...»

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I consider her knowledge about plants and her gardening skills as above average abilities for a three year old. Her creativity is evident at home in her own garden and at kindergarten in the way she uses flowers in as many activities as she can. I believe that if I had made the statement to Radue, L. (2009). The forgotten children. APEX, 15 (4), 45-55. Retrieved online from http://www.giftedchildren.org.nz/apex/.

the teaching team that Maggie has a gift in the domain of plants without the above explanation, I may not have been taken seriously.

My approach with Maggie’s family was similar to the one I used for the teaching team. Once again the explanation was well received. Discussions with Maggie’s family relating to her interest revealed that Maggie is from a family of talented gardeners who clearly value and support her development in this area. Her family was able to complete our understanding of how she developed her intense knowledge and passion, and this has resulted in the provision of extended learning in her domain. There is no doubt that at this point she is potentially gifted in the domain of plants, and I expect with understanding and nurturing she may develop into a gifted botanist or landscape architect.

Another example of less obvious giftedness is that of four year old Jessica. Jessica has always demonstrated intense emotions that have gradually developed into a strong sense of empathy towards her peers and her teachers. Her concern for others is always a priority, often at the expense of not continuing with the activity in which she is involved. Researching giftedness led me to a reading by Bevan-Brown in which she describes the Maori view of giftedness (2004). She explains that the gift of serving is the most desirable gift in the culture (Bevan-Brown, 2004). This reading changed my views of Jessica. I saw her in a different light. My strategies changed.

Instead of discouraging her “dependency” on helping others, I provided opportunities for her to contribute to the group. I watched her progress into a child who has become a role model and a teacher for her peers with skills that are exceptional in her age group. I consider her to be a gifted child who for now serves her learning community. In the future she has the potential to serve her society in capacities such as ministering religion or teaching. I believe that this is only likely to occur if her giftedness is understood, acknowledged and nurtured.

The point of describing these examples is to show that it is possible for teachers to extend their search for giftedness beyond what is considered the academic domains. A year ago I would not have identified giftedness relating to plants or serving others. I have learnt to identify characteristics and behaviours in young children that are consistently there with great intensity in many different domains. The key is to have an open mind.

Reflecting on the possibilities of so many different domains, brings certain New Zealanders to mind. I challenge teachers to find children such as Peter Jackson and Sir Edmund Hilary both of whom proved their giftedness outside academic domains. Peter Jackson as a preschooler today may ask for the camera every day to take photographs and make videos. Sir Edmund Hilary as a preschooler today may be the risk taker constantly seeking new challenges on the playground.

There are so many professions in this world. It makes sense that there are potentially gifted achievers in so many different domains relating to these professions.

Where to Next?

Identification of gifted children is the start of inclusiveness for these children in education.

Without this teachers are not providing appropriate education for all children in their early childhood education service. Once identification and programme implementation have successfully being introduced, the next challenge for teachers is to ensure that the progress continues. Ongoing professional development is essential for all teachers in order to continually progress in the provision of gifted education. As teacher confidence increases across the board in early childhood education services, I am hopeful that there will be many passionate teachers in New Zealand who will take on the challenge of being advocates for these children. If this does not happen, it is my fear that gifted young children will continue to be the “forgotten” children.

Radue, L. (2009). The forgotten children. APEX, 15 (4), 45-55. Retrieved online from http://www.giftedchildren.org.nz/apex/.

Conclusion My journey in gifted education has demonstrated that teachers in the early childhood sector are generally not identifying giftedness and therefore are not implementing appropriate programmes. I believe that most teachers are unaware of the impact of not identifying gifted young children and the possible consequences for these children. With increased awareness, I am hopeful that teachers will make the necessary changes to improve gifted education in their early childhood education services. It is suggested that strategies to make these improvements should include professional development for teachers in the services. This is likely to impact on teacher knowledge in the identification process. Although many tools or methods were explored in my gifted education journey, the most successful gifted identification method was through narrative assessment. I therefore strongly recommend that teachers use this familiar method to identify gifted behaviours and dispositions of children. Once identification takes place programming specifically for gifted children is more likely to occur. I strongly believe that if teachers do not make the effort to improve their practice in the early childhood sector, gifted children will remain the forgotten children.

References List

Allen, B. (2006). Giftedness in New Zealand Early Childhood Centres. Proceedings of Rising Tides:

Nurturing our Gifted Culture: National Gifted and Talented Conference. Retrieved June 7, 2008, from http://www.confer.co.nz/presentations1.html Bevan-Brown, J. (2004). Gifted and talented Maori Learners. In McAlpine, D. & Moltzen, R. (Eds.).

Gifted and talented: New Zealand perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 177-198). Palmerston North, New Zealand:

Massey University.

Carr, M. (2001). Assessment in Early Childhood Settings: Learning Stories. London: Paul Chapman.

Clark, B. (2002). Growing up gifted (6th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Gagné, F. (2003). Transforming gifts into talents: The DMTG as a developmental theory. In N.

Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp. 60-74). Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon.

Gardner, H., Ramos-Ford, V., & von Károlyi, C. (2003). Multiple intelligences: A perspective on giftedness. In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp. 88-99).

Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon.

Harrison, C. (2002). Giftedness in Early Childhood. (3rd ed.) Sydney, Australia: GERRIC.

Kearney, K. (2000). Frequently asked questions about extreme intelligence in very young children. David Retrieved June 12, 2008, from http://www.gtInstitute for Talent Development.


Ministry of Education. (1996). Te:Wh riki: Early childhood curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand:

Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2002). Initiatives for Gifted and Talented Learners. Retrieved May 19, 2008 from http://www.tki.org.nz/r/gifted/initiatives_e.php

Ministry of Education. (2008). Nurturing gifted and talented children. Wellington, New Zealand:

Learning Media.

Moltzen, R. (2004). Underachievement. In D. McAlpine & R. Moltzen (Eds.). Gifted and talented: New Zealand perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 371-400). Palmerston North, New Zealand: Massey University.

Porter, L. (1999). Gifted young children: A guide for teachers and parents. Buckingham, United Kingdom:

Open University Press.

Porter, L. (2004). Giftedness in early childhood. In D. McAlpine & R. Moltzen (Eds.). Gifted and talented: New Zealand perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 199-238).. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Massey University.

Radue, L. (2009). The forgotten children. APEX, 15 (4), 45-55. Retrieved online from http://www.giftedchildren.org.nz/apex/.

Reece, J. (2006). Attitudes & expectations of giftedness within early childhood education. Proceedings of Rising Tides: Nurturing our Gifted Culture National and Talented Gifted Conference. Retrieved June 7, 2008, from http://www.confer.co.nz/gnt/presentations3html Renzulli, J. (2003). Conception of giftedness and its relationship to the development of social capital.

In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Gifted Education. (3rd ed., pp.75-87). Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon.

Renzulli, J. S. (1998). The three-ring conception of giftedness. In S. M. Baum, S. M. Reis, & L. R.

Maxfield (Eds.), Nurturing the gifts and talents of primary grade students. Retrieved May 17, 2008, from http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/sem/semart13html http://www.tki.org.nz/r/gifted/reading/policy/development/contents_e.php Story, C. (1991). Young gifted children. The National Research Centre on the Gifted and Talented.

Retrieved June 4, 2008, from

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