By Jessica Houben
Emily was six years old and a first grader in elementary school. Most of her classmates were still learning to read. Emily had read all of the Harry Potter books before she began first grade. Every time she would sit through reading lessons, she would skip ahead and finish the story before her classmates reached the second page. The teacher would ask the class what they thought would happen next, and Emily had all of the answers. Her teacher came to her desk and looked at her disapprovingly, telling her that she was not to read ahead. This was not the first or last time Emily felt like she did something wrong, just because she was more advanced.
Emily’s mother looked for outside opportunities to challenge her daughter. She saw a flier for enrichment classes offered in her neighborhood through IEA’s Academy. When Emily joined the Academy, she made friends quickly with the other children. They were just like her! She was able to talk to these children about all of the stories she read, because they had read them, too! Her Mythometry class taught her to read stories that challenged her to analyze and think critically. She began reading college level material, and she was even encouraged to write her own stories!
IMAGINE THE IMPACT if Emily’s teacher had allowed her to be herself and read ahead in class. Imagine if students were told to move as fast as they’d like through school, instead of moving at a pace where they become bored and disengaged and are told to slow down for the sake of the group. For most Academy students, their enrichment classes are where they can be themselves, learn at their own pace, and be challenged to rise to their greatest potential. Imagine if gifted students were able to get experiences like this in school, where they learned with other advanced students and were challenged on a daily basis. Imagine if programs like this were available to all gifted students, nationwide, both in and out of school. Imagine what those children would achieve.
What experiences have your gifted kids had in school? Let us know in the comment section below!