Awareness that families with a gifted child often have well established approaches to learning, places the professional in a strong position to be supportive. The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework’s Practice Principles provide effective guidelines for supporting young gifted children and their families. For more information, see: Practice Principles
Professionals can support families of gifted children by encouraging them to be advocates on behalf of their own child. Families know their own child better than anyone and information provided by the family is especially valuable.
Families can be advocates on behalf of their child by sharing their knowledge and information about their child’s learning at home with professionals and early childhood or school educators. This can also include sharing any formal assessments of their child’s advanced development.
Encouraging families to keep a diary of anecdotes about behaviours or examples of advanced ability is another way in which professionals can support family advocacy. Such anecdotes or examples can be dated which helps early childhood professionals to evaluate this evidence and use it as a basis for discussing the family’s understanding of their child’s learning and development. It is important that professionals invite families to share such information as research has shown that parents are sometimes hesitant to tell educators that they suspect their child is gifted.
When educators are seen as the experts in providing a stimulating curriculum and the family is seen as the expert in their own child, this provides a good foundation for a strong partnership that can enhance the child’s learning. Like all families, a family with a young gifted child will have their own distinctive way of managing their children and family life. Families can respond in different ways and have varying expectations of both their gifted child and the educational setting. Despite the challenges that many gifted children bring to family life, research has shown that most families adjust and respond well to the different demands that may arise.
For more information, see: Working with Families table (docx - 24.7kb)