I have a son who recently started school (Term 1), it has come up since starting that he may be gifted and the school has suggested skipping a year and going into a year 1 class now. I am unsure whether this will be good for the future, i.e when he gets to high school and then university. It was mentioned that he may be best to start next year into a year 3 class as his skills are already at about a year 3 level now and will only be more advanced by then. Does this mean that he will essentially skip two years, and then be two years younger than his class peers at high school or do the years simply mean levels of schooling?
Has anyone done this with their child and could offer some advice? I don't want him to be out of place at high school if he were to be accelerated so much but I have read up on giftedness in the past couple of months and it seems that boredom can be an issue.
For the right child, I think Grade skipping works very well. I wish my son had done it earlier as he ended up skipping Year 10 and Year 13 later on. He obviously spent a lot of time back pedaling in the early years and now is at University and loving it. So he is 2 years younger at Uni and apart from not being able to join in engineering booze ups he is perfectly happy, has peers with things in common and is very happy to be there and not in school.
Skipping when they are younger would be easier and the question of not being with their peers is not relevant for most but NOT all. After all they are more likely to be with their intellectual peers.
If you child is relatively mature and has older friends anyway I would think 1 and probably 2 years skipping would not be an issue. It is important that teachers don't make it obvious to the other kids though eg. age related discussions or games.
Anyway that's my opinion, no doubt others will think differently. Do a search on the forum as this topic come up before.
This is a very contentious topic on this forum so I appreciate that everyone may not agree with me.
There are two issues here:
2. Peer group
Schoolwork - it is definitely the case that he may be bored with some of the schoolwork for the first two years as they do tend to go over things he probably already knows but there are bits of information throughout those years that he will not know, whether it be good sentence construction, maths ideas or anything. Therefore it is up to the teacher to extend him and keep him from being bored and try to pair him up with (hopefully?) another gifted child to keep the level of interest and competition up. If he does find a classmate, don't be worried about asking to keep them together throughout the school years if it works out.
2. Peer group - this is far more important than no 1 in a way. It gives children confidence to be really good at things, not the bottom of a much older class. My daughter has a group of 6 children in her class who are 1 year younger than her and their parents really pushed for them to be put with my daughters year as they are gifted for their age. Unfortunately for them, my daughter year has 3 or 4 extremely talented kids (including her) working about 4 years ahead for maths and so these younger children are now nowhere near the top of the class but literally down the bottom of the maths class.
The effect of being much younger really kicks in late intermediate/high school when the girls are effectively so much more grown up than your son would be and have moved to a level where your son would not fit in (nor would you want him to be) . This can be really really difficult for boys in particular (not trying be gender specific) but they do tend to grow up a bit later than girls! Add two years younger to the mix and there can be a vast chasm at age 13-16. Of course this will not be the case for every child and some do go on to be really successful at a young age.
Building a cast iron self esteem (hopefully without being arrogant!)is what I am trying to do with my two gifted children as I believe this can take you long way in life and pick you up when things go wrong.
So obviously I have not accelerated my two and I was not accelerated a child even though the school wanted my parents to do it.
Social development and being with the same age peer group is a very difficult question!!!
Hi, there are strong opinions in this area and you need to think about your child as you know them best, how they cope socially.
I was accelerated from Y0/Y1 into Y2 30-odd years ago and while I remember changing class at 5 I never noticed the 1 year gap until I couldn't buy beer at first year uni! But I have friends who didn't cope so well with two year differences. My daughter has just started school in an existing y1 class so she will be young next year but I think she will be fine. I'd think a lot harder about a second skip.
So, you could do this initial Y1 skip now and make a decision about the year 3 thing later on - its still months away, or give it another year first to see how they extend him - I'd say just don't rush into it.
My daughter was 'skipped' from Yr 0 to Yr2 so she is the youngest in her Yr 6 class now, turning 10 in late August. Her opinion is that she couldn't imagine being a year back. But she is a confident high achiever - some kids might struggle. There are lots of things to weigh up eg sports/PE, will they mind being disadvantaged when things are grouped by year level rather than age? Are they mature enough to be able to take advantage of leadership type roles which are available say in Yr 6, or will they perpetually miss out? How will they react to being bored for the next year or two or until the school starts really differentiating? Does he know kids socially in the Year above - my daughters school took steps to socially integrate her with the target year before moving her class?
Having been skipped myself, by a bigger margin than my daughter, I would say intermediate is the most tricky stage. At my small year 1-8 primary there simply weren't enough small, brainy kids to get together. Once i got to a big college where there was a bunch of clever girls, age was no longer an issue. Other parents will give you funny looks though and mutter about driving licences etc. i honestly don't think that is such a big issue - not everyone gets their licence on their 15th birthday anyway. One mum said what would I do when my daughter's friends were old enough to have sex and she wasn't!!! I think that is a complete red herring LOL
Gosh there are some of us on here who would love to be in your position, i.e. able to make that decision for their child. My school won't even consider it!!! I personally think the sooner the better if you are going to grade skip and wish I had done it for my child. He is a February child so effectively skipped year 0 and went straight to year 1, thank goodness. He is 1 to nearly 1 1/2 years younger than some of his class mates and that doesn't present any problems.
His school does composite classes for years 3/4 and years 5/6. Last year at the end of year 3 I wished I had pushed for a grade skip to year 5, at least he would have moved through with some classmates. This year for year 4 he seems to be just repeating much of last year and it seems a total waste of time. However the school are finally acknowledging that he needs extension and has at last been put into the extension maths class which is usually reserved only for years 5/6.
I agree wit the other poster about the drivers licence thing. Five kids in my family not one of us got our licence before we were 17!!!
Remember these kids peers for the most part are their intellectual peers and not their age peers!! and a lot are socially advanced too.
I am glad that this has come up as I have recently had my daughter assessed and this was a recommendation for her. I think that it could be a good idea to get your son assessed by an educational psychologist as this will provide alot of insight for the school and esepcially the teacher.
At the end of this year I am going to be thinking very long and hard about this because a two year age gap is actually quite large. I know that academically for her (and probably for your son too) it will be no problems at all, she will cruise through but its the other factors, the physical size and the fact that she may not want to leave her friends (whilst these seem like minor things, they could have a big impact on my daughter).
As someone above said something to take into consideration is whether he will do better (in terms of confidence) being at the top of a slightly younger class or possibly being the bottom of an older class. You are the one that knows your son best so you will be able to best make the decision, but don't let the school 'bully' you into something that you are not sure is right (if you decide that going into the year 3 class at the end of this year is not going to be the best for him) and make sure you ask what possible other options are (i.e going to the other class just for one or two subjects, or extension within the classroom etc) . When he is 6 he may be able to attend 1-day school which could be good for extending him.
My 2 cents worth on our situation as we have kind of been through it too...
For my daughter it was recommended she be "re-classified" a year higher, (she is a march birthday and is just 9 in year 5) so was already the youngest in her year group. So this time 2 years ago we got right to the final meeting with her teacher at the time and the principal....and I chickened out (rather I was bullied out of it.) They anticipated EVERY possible negative case scenario and I couldn't face the "I told you so attitude" if it had gone wrong. That particular teacher left and we haven't looked back!!
She is still with her age peers and is not particularly challanged but her new teacher allows for her learning style(small school so 3rd year with her) It could so easily have been different though if we were having 3rd year with the prev teacher...I would have been home-schooling a very sad little girl.
I read on this forum years ago a comment made by a parent saying something along the lines of what ever level a child is placed with, an academically able one will slowly but surely work there way to the top group. This has been true for all 3 of our DD's. My DD9 and DD6 are in the same classroom and they will be working at the same level by the end of the year. My DD9 will move through to y6/7/8 room next year and will be in the top groups by the end of term 1. So really it means she will be challanged (and motivated to achieve) for 1 year and the other 2 will be a waste of time....
....I have given up losing sleep and gaining wrinkles over it....I would have pushed for her to move to that room for this year were it not for the fantastic teacher she is currently with. The next teacher seems great too, but "better the devil you know than the devil you don't" (I hope the phrase doesn't offend anyone-I am sorry)
Having said all that I have a friend with a daughter with a Sept birthday, she was moved up a year so turned 9 late in Year 5, they then reclassified her back as she struggled with social issues...so all things seem possible.
Sorry long winded but it gave a range of the situations I have been exposed to.
Regarding the above posts, nearly everyone of them (sometimes its hard to tell) talk about girls and grade skipping. Is there anyone there who has had experiences with boys and grade skipping and the consequences at intermediate and high school? I would be really interested in this as I have a boy and a girl that have been considered for grade skipping.
Three years ago my son skipped year 4. The school was very enthusiastic about it and put him with a teacher they thought he would work well with.
Unfortunately he didn't have a good year.
While my son is very gifted in many ways, he is emotionally and socially quite immature. Although he gets on well with kids who are older, but his best friends are actually younger - generally about 6 mths or so.
He ended up repeating year 5 and is now in year 7. I think the school considered his accelerated year a dead loss (although they didn't tell us this till later).
Happy to give you more detail if you're interested.
Only after my son's behavior became extremely challenging in class - his response to anxiety and the challenge he faced in putting up with what he was forced to listen to and tasks being asked of him, and what he called the baby talk (by his teacher as well as classmates), and spending at least two terms being punished continuously for non-compliance - he eventually drove his 1st teacher up the wall and it was her stress and threat of early retirement that led the Principal to put him into a Yr2 class for the last term of his 1st Yr. The next year (his Yr2), he was placed in a composite Yr3&4 class.
I was told he was doing well with the content and was getting on fine with other kids, and his teacher was coping. He made new friends. He certainly seemed happy and had an entourage of older kids, and was famous in the playground.
What I wasn't told about until the end of the first term in his 2nd Yr, was that in moving him as a 5yr old, in with older children, that adult supervision dropped off. There was no longer any help to dry off or dress in the changing rooms at swimming for example, nor anyone present during wet lunch hours. During these times he was exposed to a lot of distasteful and inappropriate toilet humor and what was described by school/psych service staff as "highly sexualised" behavior (which he was also being encouraged by older boys to act out in front of the older girls and adults). I am careful to refer to what he was doing as simulated sexualised bahaviour, or simply naughty - as he was naive and had no appreciation of the connotations associated with the hand gestures (playing air guitar over your clad privates is "masturbation" in CY&FS notification) or the hip gyrations he was making - and as he was not sexually motivated but was winning laughs and kudos with the older kids and gained a big reputation with the adults on staff - he was proud that everyone (all staff) knew his name and acknowledged him as he passed. He had no idea why they all looked so gobsmacked with chins dropped with these gestures. His older friends thought it very funny (as did my son). I now call it his "shock and awe" period. The time he ran out of the changing rooms waving his undies in the air, was not an inappropriate lack of a sense of personal privacy or inhibition (perhaps that would be the case if he had been 8 like his class mates), but as a 5yr old, he wasn't yet shy about his privates and was also not competent at drying and dressing himself on his own - he got a laugh and help to dress.
There were serious consequences to what was going on at school, as my ex-husband and I were subjected to CY&FS investigations, as the school notified and accused my ex of exposing his son to pornography - as questioning by someone at school, apparently led my son to say he had seen a rude cartoon with his father. All we could think of, was the time they had began to watch Beavis and Butthead together about a year earlier, and I had made a fuss that it was "rude" and the boy wasn't to watch it.
The school never acknowledged their failure to manage the social situation in placing a 5yr old with a bunch of st wise 7,8&9yr olds - who knew better than to make such gestures themselves, while encouraging a younger child to make them in front of adults. And the adults in the situation all responded appallingly, and further confused the child.
I think that this less than ideal introduction to sex education was the only effective "accelerated" or "extension" learning my son has had at school, not only during his period with older children.
We moved him to a different school, where he was placed back with Yr 2 (his age group) and while he continues to drive teachers up walls, and doesn't seem to acquire much new knowledge at school, as he picks and chooses what he will do (no one can make him do anything), he has friends and is doing fine socially.
Our experience was very disturbing and totally unnecessary. But the boy coped fine with content and with the older kids - it was just the adults who couldn't cope with what he learnt from his peers and how he used that knowledge to most disruptive effect.
I think that placement of children is much more than simply about course content, and that it takes attentive, observant, pro-active adults interacting with the children to ensure things go well if in mixed age group OR in mixed ability group. And it seems that appropriate pitch of course content is a small part of what engages my child, it is more to do with interesting, fun and respectful adults who can win compliance and positive encouragement to apply himself to whatever task that sees excellence.
If my son were to skip any level in int. or high school, I would be worried about managing possible premature exposure to adult themes.
My daughter skipped year 2 and went from Year 1 to Year 3. It has been brilliant and at the beginning of last year after the standard school testing and her still coming out ahead of all her 'new year' I actually was told that I had made the right decision pushing for it! Yeah!
Points to note however and the reason the school allowed it is that she is an all round gifted child, confident and well spoken so she didnt have any areas that were likely to be a weakness other than age itself. If she was highly gifted in only one aspect I am not sure I would have gone down the same route.
Year 3 was fine particularly as when she was skipped she was in a Year1/2 class so she just moved on with the Year 2's and no-one was any the wiser. It is only now that parents of those age wonder why she is a year ahead that it is even mentioned. She is currently Year 5 at 8years (9 in August).
The only time her age is a factor is in PE as they do year grouping and she is small for her age anyway. She has come to terms with being the youngest and shortest in her class.
I agree that the earlier the better is ideal - however I would have to think twice before allowing her to skip a second year I think.
I thank you all for your replies and have also noted that most of you have daughters that have grade skipped. It is helpful anyway and has given me alot of things to think about. I have spoken to an educational psychologist and now have my son on the waiting list to be assessed which I hope will be helpful.
Jane I feel for you and your son in that situation, this is what I worry about with the whole grade skipping thing. It is great to hear that your son has settled into a new school nicely.
Author: grown up and grade skipped
Date: 03-05-10 15:52
My experience was that I was put up classes early in primary school. (that's what it was called then). I started uni at 17 (not terribly early), and uni was fine. As was high school (apart from being painfully boring). In fact uni was particularly great once into the specific course I did, as finally, finally I had a peer group!
I just share the story, as high school and uni can be just fine for some people .
My son (now 12 and in Year 9, 13 in August) skipped Year 2, after he had switched off learning, and I then had him assessed. The recommendation by the Psychologist was to grade skip immediately and then again if necessary at Year 7. I had support from the principal but not from the AP at the time. This was the best decision for my son. We didn't grade skip again, as he is very small for age, and I felt it would be hard for him to feel accepted. He still didn't have a particularly happy primary school time, and even though he was a year younger than most of his classmates, he was way ahead in all aspects of accademic work. It is only now that he is at a co-ed high school he tells me how happy he is, and that he feels accepted. He is in a large class with other very able students and I am just so relieved he is now smiling each morning, and not asking to stay at home!!
My son skipped Year 10 and year 13 and went to Uni at 16. Absolutely the best thing and realise how boring many subjects at school must have been. He is not a generalist so being able to get into what he was destined to do from probably 8 years old is just great. Plenty of like minded peers around who prob don;t give a toss or know how old he is!! Only drawback is have to wait another year to drink with the engineers!! It was just a passing thought to skip Yr 10 and yr 13 made sense. What a disaster it could have been if we hadn't.
I am so scared of having our son skip a year or two ! ... I think the most worrying thing for me is- what if he doesnt learn how to write a paragraph or some other part of the "curriculum" that he may need later in life! HELP !
I expect a lot of people have heard my story before but to help those who havent, I have 2 children who were grade skipped.
Daughter was skipped 1 year at age 5 and noone ever noticed. She did very well at school, never had any social problems. She is now married and is a lawyer in the US and still does very well. Of course I'm not biased!!
Son was skipped 3 years at age 9. We were desperate and he was in danger of self-destructing and destroying our family completely. Acceleration was the best thing we ever did. He started high school at 10. Although we had some interesting moments I will guarantee it would have been much much worse had he stayed with age mates at school. He went to Uni part-time at 14. He has never been plain sailing but he got his first full-time job in Wgtn at 17 and just left his job to set up his own company a couple of weeks ago. He is 20.
He will always push the boundaries but driving and drugs have never been an issue with him.
As for other boys being grade skipped, my father was skipped 2 years, my brother was skipped one year, my husband was skipped one year and his brother was skipped 2 years. They are all very successful and happy adults.
Hi I was wondering how you went about asking for a grade skip at age 5. Did he skip a grade straight away or after a little while after strating school. I am guessing you had him assessed before asking for a grade skip?? Hope you don't mind me asking these question. cheers
Our daughter was skipped 1 year at the school's request, not ours. I think she had been at school for 2? weeks. We agreed whole heartedly. She has never been formally assessed. She entered school able to read fluently, write neatly and do basic arithmetic. She was also cooperative (usually) and tidy and very mature socially.
Although our son is much smarter than his sister and parents, all the school could see were 'behavioural problems'. We only managed to get him accelerated when we (and he) were desperate, and after a concerted effort from a psychologist who had assessed him formally. This was when he was in Intermediate school.
He entered school unable to read (he learnt at 5.5 yrs), unable to write neatly (still can't, like his father) but he could do sums with negative numbers (which he taught himself) and explain quite complicated physics and do controlled scientific experiments. But most schools don't test these things in new entrants!! However, his NZ primary school only saw him as trouble, not gifted.
My daughter just went straight into Year 1 - there was no talk of starting her in Year 0. She had not been assessed but was reading and writing well and could concentrate for long periods of time. It is not uncommon at our school for children to skip Year 0.
I was put up one year in primary school when I was almost eight years old. It was a really hard time for me as I was not really emotionally ready and I lost a lot of my playmates I had been in class with from age four. My new classmates were at least 18 months older than me. The teacher wanted me to go up another year but my mother refused and I am so pleased she didn't. I was playing with Barbie and the other girls were looking at boys at Intermediate, and I always had younger friends, right through high school.
My five-year-old son just got tested and is "gifted", and if we lived here in NZ he would have been recommended as a child to skip grades. But, he is not emotionally mature, and in his mixed-aged school in Taiwan mixes mostly with younger kids. I saw a "Gifted and Talented" class at my old school this week and I think this is great, as we didn't have this when I was in school. I think my son would benefit from that, where he could work with like-minded kids but still have a chance to learn in a classroom more socially-appropriate for his age.
I have a daughter who has skipped a year. She is at the top of that year group by a long way and we now have to consider another skip. The school is very impressed with her work. She is not noticeably any different physically from her classmates currently. If she moves up another year then she will be more noticeable.
My partner and I loved university. We don't think she will have such a great experience if she starts at 15 or 16. But we don't want to hold her back. She is EG in all areas.
When making decisions about whether or not to 'grade-skip' I agree that the child's social maturity is a really important consideration, and that the school and parent should work through the ramifications together - but the child themselves should have an active role in the decision-making too.
It was suggested that my daughter at age 5 be put up a class - not for the full day, but just for the language-intensive morning. This would have been a great option as far as we and the teacher could see - she would have a group to work with for reading in particular and be able to talk through and work through activities with others nearer her level. However I talked it through in depth with my daughter and she was not at all keen. I believe that most of our children really do have a feeling for what is best for them, as long as they are given the time and opportunity to explore all ramifications with their parents.
Our highly gifted daughter who turned 5 in May was left in year zero by her previous school with no flexibility of accelerating even into year 1. Having now moved to a new city in August we met up with a forward thinking principal who after one meeting and having read our psychologists report (recommending acceleration which we entirely supported) placed her straight into a year 2 class where her general abilities and maturity were matched though her gifted reading ability is still off the scale but manageable.
The school have now had a good look at her and concluded it is best for her to move her up with her class to year 3 to let her stay her new peers but also to avoid the boredom of starting year 2 again. There is no ODS in this area and generally no other gifted children to match her with.
Generally most of the children have accepted her without question but there is one girl (popular and influential) and a couple of boys who have latched onto the fact that she is only 5 and they are all now 7. They undermine her, suggesting she can't join in certain activities because of her age. She still appears quite happy but has started talking about being 'picked on'. Any experience of this and advice to share would be great.
The school want to talk to us to make a joint decision about whether to move her with her class to year 3 but having read this whole stream on the forum we can see there are many aspects to consider. She is tall for her age, confident and emotionally mature but could we be depriving her of those age 5 and 6 years and the opportunity to be a leader? the alternative is she is top of her class but unchallenged and could end up doing a lot of work on her own, and teachers only have so much time to devote to one child. We believe its the right thing academically to move her forward to year 3 and having got to this stage with year 2 are concerned now also about the message we send to her if we make her 'repeat' year 2. At risk of repeating yourselves we would like to hear from you.
My son started a new school at 6 after a disasterous 1st year elsewhere and was moved into Yr3 (November birthday so a good year to 18 months behind others, although not the youngest there was one other younger than him). He did get some resistance from a small group of kids with similar issues as you mention but he is quite confident and stubborn so managed to hold his own, then made a couple of firm friends.
There was suggestion of him repeating yr3 to help socially but because he was so far ahead academically it was agreed he should move up with the others. I think this helped because as the year has progressed and he stayed with the same kids that gave him problems they now appear to be over it and he is just accepted as one of them and the age thing has really died away.
He is certainly much happier this year and we are glad we stuck it out. He probably learned some life lessons quite early on but he is going to need them going forward anyway. We have also noticed that he is maturing in leaps and we put it down to having older role models to emulate and not dumbing down to the younger kids.
I have two EG children, both younger than their classroom peers due to double grade skips. We've had lots of issues with our elder child at school - both before and after the accelerations and last year was quite bad. M gets bullied but we are also well aware that because M is so different to peers, if he wasn't bullied because of age, he would be bullied because of something else. Given how far ahead M is academically and emotionally, I would never hold him back just to avoid age-related bullying.
**Kids who are bullies don't need age as an excuse - they'll pick on anything**.
And there will always be one. No matter where M goes, no matter what his relative age, there is always ONE, usually the 'top dog' who is threatened by, and has an issue with M.
I think this is something that those who have doubts about acceleration tend to overlook at times. Certainly it's not for all kids but keeping highly gifted children with age peers because of possible social concerns with older kids kind of ignores the fact that there could well be social issues with age peers as well. Your daughter is highly gifted - she's going to be 'different' to classmates whether it's because she is younger, more verbal, quicker to learn, reads higher-level material, enjoys different games, has concerns about fairness, emotional intensity, different friendship concepts.
M's younger sibling is in with the class that M "should" be in with, based on age. M's younger sibling even seems far too old for this class; I cannot imagine how M would cope in this class.
Our experience has been that the social issues are easiest when the teacher is right behind the acceleration. The teacher needs to ensure that your daughter is treated like the others, given leadership opportunities etc. That can be *very* difficult - most older kids do NOT like younger kids being leaders and it's been a struggle. But, with the right teacher support, it CAN work.
It is also important that your daughter is not simply accelerated but that she is with 'like minds' as well. A highly gifted child will catch up pretty quick and if you're accelerating for her to fit in with her classroom peers a bit easier, then you also want to know that there are other kids who think like her, not just kids who are a bit older. And kids who may share some of her special quirks that accompany giftedness. Things are better for my elder child than they would be if he was two-years back, however, it's not as good as it is for his sibling who was accelerated into a group with more highly gifted kids.
You can probably tell that I seem quite in favor of acceleration. But I don't think it's 'pro-acceleration' so much as realising that the alternative - with age peers - would be very difficult for my kids. I share your concern about 'missing out' on those years, both for the child and for us. I would have loved for my children to have two more primary school years. They are being forced to 'grow up' too quickly and there is a bit of a grieving process to go through for what is lost. I really wish it was different. You and your family need to decide how important that aspect is to you of course, but, it's hard. Best of luck. I'm frequently shedding tears for the 'lost childhood' and absolutely LOVE IT when they act like kids, not little adults. A
Finally, although sometimes highly gifted kids are globally advanced, I have each kid in a fairly structured outside activity where their skill level is close to that of age peers so that they do get to experience being just like kids of their age, at least in something. (That's particularly difficult to find for one who seems to excel at everything; that child is in with other advanced kids of the same age).
Thanks for your replies, both helpful and reassuring. After meeting with the principal this week it seems clear she will be better off moving up to year 3, and the whole 'picking on' incident was dealt with swiftly. We have the full support of the school and her new teacher for next year is actually the gifted and talented specialist who is thrilled to have our daughter on board. There is also a g&t programme running, with opportunities for mixing with others from different age groups, so overall we couldn't be more comfortable with the decision. Very lucky to have found such a great school we think!
Her younger sister keeps her young at home so hopefully long may that last.
I have a son who's born in July 2006 and the teacher is most likely putting up to Year 1 in the next few weeks. The debate my husband and I have, especially as he's our first son and we're not familiar with the school system, is there any difference academically at this age, and how would it effect him when he gets to high school on the sports ground. (which is my husband's main focus) he is small for his age, though nuggety. People have told us he is has young shoulders with an old head. What's everyone view's there?
There are many threads on this forum about this issue, and also many research articles on acceleration. Read around here, and also try www.hoagiesgifted.org, which I found to be a great starting place.
First, be very thankful you have a teacher who has noticed his needs! Your son is off to a great start with that. And yes, there can be a difference at this age. As an example, when my first child started school he could read fluently and do arithmetic - subtract, divide etc. Some of his classmates were still on letter recognition and counting to 10. (Note that if your son can't divide or read fluently it doesn't mean he is not gifted or ahead of his classmates. My kids are what is called 'exceptionally gifted', and, giftedness is so much 'more than' being able to do math. The 'old head' sounds very much like my younger child who has always been so very "old").
Second, be mindful that although your son might be skipping Yr 0, he may not necessarily be that much younger than classmates when he gets to highschool, especially if he ends up going to schools where acceleration is not uncommon. At some schools, if his birthday was in April (cf July) he'd be going into Yr 1 anyway.
Third, if your teacher has noticed he needs to be advanced, there is a chance he *could* end up in highschool younger, and smaller, than his classmates. It's an individual decision and you would need to take into account his physical development, social and emotional development, and if his needs could best be met in his age group. For us, there is no question that our kids needed accelerating.
My elder child is two-three years younger than some classmates and I do have to say that despite being physically quite talented, he can struggle in the playground, and, during PE. Typically what happens is he doesn't get passed the ball because he is young and small or at lunch will not be able to keep up on the basketball court. In all other ways he simply NEEDS to be in this class. Fortunately, he doesn't care too much about sport.
If he did, these issues can be resolved though. My younger child does care, a lot, about sports and is a talented athlete. He was very disappointed that he couldn't make the school's senior A rugby team - he has been accelerated, is in Yr 5 but in a composite Yr 5/6 class. Consequently, some classmates are 3 yrs older than him, which at primary school is a lot. We deal with this by having him in age-group sports out of school where he plays with kids only one year older than he is, not three.
There are so many more issues to consider. Do read around the forum and have a look at the Hoagies site. My own experience is that acceleration was absolutely necessary for our kids and although it has caused some issues with sport, we rely on clubs outside of school for this.
Two other points: First, Attitude of the teacher is everything. If your son is going to be moved, make sure the receiving teacher is supportive. He will find things A LOT easier if he has a teacher who thinks he belongs in the class and isn't 'too young'. Second, although a Yr 0 class could bore clever kids to tears - and result in lack of motivation etc - it helps if the school can respond by doing more than just 'moving them up'. Ideally your son would be placed with other kids like him, not necessarily just 'older' than him.
High School children come in lots of different shapes and sizes. The girls in Year 9 (at my daughter's school) vary hugely and some are full adult size while some are still prepubescent. In my opinion determining your son's academic future based on what size he will be in Year 9 shouldn't be a real concern. Having your child's brain under utilised for 8 years is.
July birthday here. He started school in a Y1/2 composite class and went to Y2/3 the following year. Now Y3 class with going to y4 maths. Team sports haven't been a problem as they are age-based. School sports days are a little difficult as he's smaller but it's good for him to not be top at everything and is very helpful to keeping him challenged for team sports (where he excels due to pushing himself in class sport).
Hope this helps. I have found that sticking the kid in the right place academically is the most important thing. Everything else can be worked around.
I have heard of families giving their accelerated child a gap year before high school - this could always be a back up option if you felt it was warranted then, having had the advantages of the acceleration for primary school!
I totally agree with this - children come in all shapes and sizes at all ages. My son is year 9 and the range in his year is huge, from tiny to full grown men in size. My son is on the smaller side but has no trouble keeping up with his classmates on the sports field, after all there is a huge range of sport available at high school so most boys can find something they can excel in. What is most important to me is that his academic needs are being met, he is being challenged and extended.
I have a daughter who was accelerated a year and is one of the smallest in her year - but she manages to do well in sports, size isn't everything!
Can I play devils advocate here and ask why the meeting of academic needs takes precedence??
FWIW, I have two EG kids. As is the case with many like them, they appear to be "multi-talented" and gifted in many areas: academics, sport, music, art. They are radically accelerated at school and in activities out-of-school. Following their leads and obvious interests, it is clear that they personally benefit the most when they are placed in classes that best meet their needs for various "non-academic" pursuits. They each have non-academic passions, passions they're lucky enough to truly excel at, and if they are fully engaged in pursuing these passions, everything else follows.
I've had people tell me to concentrate on their 'schoolwork' rather than other activities. With my elder child in particular, we do what's best for the other interests, and school slots into place around that. What sparks this child is growth, improvement, challenge, and success in the other 'non-academic' areas.
My children absolutely NEED extension in school, of course, they're EG. But it's obvious that even from a young age, what is more important for them is being appropriately placed for their 'other' pursuits.
Just throwing it out there. Many of us are on this forum because of difficulties getting the school system to meet the academic needs of our kids. Like many, we've personally struggled, and had some real difficulties. Yes, it's vital that academic needs are met. But it doesn't always necessarily follow that "schoolwork" should be the be-all and end-all for these kids. Some *are* happy with 'adequate' schoolwork if they have another outlet for their enthusiasm, passion, desire to learn and improve.
Always great to see a devils advocate to add to the discussion.
Unfortunately in my situation with gifted child they don't have any outlet for their enthusiasm, passion, and desire to learn and improve, especially since the only outlet they did have was academic and then the school lets them down.
Unfortunately not all gifted kids are extremely talented in other areas as well. Gosh I wish mine was.
FWIW I agree with you devils advocate. My academically gifted son is doing well in school and I never thought to ask for him to advance as he isn't gifted in all areas. Now he is in year 5 and I get the impression it's probably too late to think of grade skipping and I'm keen for him to sit scholarship application tests next year. He cruises along at school, and this is the first year he's got in trouble for misbehaviour, because he talks too much and is having such a fun time socially. One other change I've noticed this year is an increase in arrogance which is a worry. He seems to derive all his intellectual stimulation from the work he does at home, his dad takes him to the central library most weekends and we let him research all he wants on the internet. I'm interested in any comments or advice on how to deal with the newly developed arrogance (toward family members). Maybe if he went ahead a year or two and had to actually try he might pull his head in, but that feels pushy and a bit mean, to me. I suppose I could take the issue up with his teacher
I was in an accelerated class at high school so age was not an issue. My thoughts on high school are that it was dull, even though I was being academically challenged and surrounded by my age and intellectual peers.
I loved the chance to choose subjects at university and I am pleased to have got to Uni as soon as possible. I went to Uni at age 16 before they cracked down on drinking so socializing with my fellow academics was fine also. Age was not an issue academically even though I am a small chap.
When I decided to get a girlfriend at Uni it took a while. Not sure if it was because I had to wait for girls of my age to turn up, or if it just took a while to develop the skills.
In the end, the whole point of an education is to get a decent job, and I think that we earn just as much money in the workforce whether we have skipped classes or not, so the focus should be on achieving the least unpleasant experience through school for the kids.
Having said all that, we haven't decided what to do with our daughter once she has completed the year 8 curriculum at her primary school.
Hi - does anyone have experience of taking the early entry option which ACG Senior College mentions is possible on their website - ie entering Yr 11 directly from Yr 9 at another school? My child is already accelerated so would be 13 and a half entering Yr 11 if this option was possible. I am very unsure if this would be a good choice as the school seems to emphasis "young adults".
Also, comments on Senior College generally would be welcome. Does it live up to its promises of encouraging excellence etc, or is there a significant body of kids there trying to grow up too fast, test social boundaries etc?
Senior College is great, Kathy Partker the Principal gets that kids have different learning needs, and those with special learninging needs have action plans developed with parents so taht each teacher has a one page summary and agreed plan for that child. The child then meets with their Dean at least a couple of times a term and with their tutor teacher each week so any difficulties can be quickly addressed. The thing that makes it differnt is that the school 'get' different kids, and they get that some kids are ready for a more mature transitiion process to tertiary than might be offered by regular school.
My daughter went through SCONZ and loved it, she has thrived - she was accelerated one full year. Yr 11's mix with Yr 13's without trouble. her best friend went through the school graduating at 15years old and has also gone on very successfully to Univerisity.
We left out middle boy at Parnell College and in stark contrast, he had a very very disappointing experience! Needless to say the youngest has gone to Senior and true to form is absolutley thriving there.
The research evidence on acceleration is really clear- if acceleration is supportedby the child, the family and the school then overwhelmingly it has positive effects academically, socially and emotionally. Google "A Nation Deceived" for a full report on the research" fantastic to hear a school supporting this very effective means for catering for a highly gifted student. Research also shows acceleration in the form of grade skipping is easiest in the primary years. I would go for it!
I was a founder pupil at SCONZ spending two years there. There were a number of kids who had been accelerated (not me, lol) and they were fine, in fact they thrived! It is such a great school for different kids, whether academics or social or creatively different. I can not recommend it enough, I only wish they had an ACG primary in Christchurch that I could send my daughter to!