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Summer Enrichment Advice from an Educator and Parent

April 9, 2010

While gifted children in the right educational program can make leaps and bounds forward in their development, without the proper reinforcement away from the classroom they can take almost as many leaps backwards.

The summer months are an opportune time for parents to involve their child in enriching activities to continue their development. Gifted children must be motivated on a continual basis so look for programs that appeal to your child’s interests and strengths. These programs should foster independence and self-confidence through their activities. 

Questions to ask the administrator of the program to determine if it might be right for your child include: Have you ever worked with children who are gifted? What do you understand this term to mean? Do you work with them differently than the other children? If they answer no or not sure to these questions you might consider finding another program.

It is also important to educate these new professionals involved in your child’s life. Today’s teachers, coaches and counselors are often under-educated about the needs of gifted children. It is often assumed that gifted children will be the best behaved and need the least supervision in a classroom or group setting. However, it is imperative to relay the information that you know is helpful for your child in terms of discipline and rewards in order for everyone to have a successful learning experience through the summer.

The best summer enrichment for gifted children is to engage them in the field they are interested.  Ideally, the program should be continuous throughout the summer because gifted children tend to focus on a certain topic and stay on it until they master it.

The best activities to look for are:

Reading: Library book clubs are free and offer a wide variety of books available. If your local library does not have the specific book they can get it from other libraries through TEXSHARE. Talk to your local librarian about available programs.

Math and Science: Local high school and middle school teachers can work with your child and help them progress during summer with one-on-one tutoring, fun experiments and hands-on learning. This option is less expensive and more productive for the kids who are interested in math and science.

Science: The web site www.NSTA.org has many free resources available and information that can be used to teach science at home and at your child’s level.

Emotional progress is also important to continue developing during the summer. Gifted children need a stable environment at home; becoming lacks on rules during summer can make your child resistant to authority outside of the home. If you have limited the amount of television your children can watch each day, keep it the same, if you limit their sugar and soda intake during the school year, continue this. Having consistency with rules at home makes a child much quicker to adapt to a new school year than trying to enforce a rule that has not been in place for several months. 

Keep your children active and foster their sense of curiosity throughout the summer with enriching activities and a consistent environment.

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Dr. Bhooma Srinivasan serves as Head of School for Riddle Street Montessori. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences from the University of North Texas and served on staff at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center during her post doctoral fellowship. Dr. Srinivasan has received numerous honors and awards and has been published more than 25 times in medical journals. And, she is a parent of two gifted children.

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