Case study 2: identifying gifted children


Amin has just turned two and attends an early learning centre in the one-two-year-old group. He is a quiet boy who, despite his young age, could be described as thoughtful. English is his second language.

He tends to like being with the older children when the different groups mingle outside or at the beginning and end of the day. He particularly likes playing with older girls, and participating in their pretend play. Amin also likes being with the educators, and enjoys them reading to him.

He does not talk a lot, but when he does he speaks clearly and has quite an advanced vocabulary, considering English is his second language. He also appears to have a level of comprehension advanced for his age. He is very observant, learns quickly and has a very good memory.

As well as looking at books and doing ‘hard’ puzzles, he likes to build and construct. He spends a lot of time in the block area or with construction materials, almost always working on his own, producing unexpectedly complex creations.

Amin’s family

Amin lives with his extended family who are refugees. Both parents were professionals in their home country, but currently work in non-professional jobs in Australia.

His father is studying part-time. Amin’s older sister Alia has been identified as academically talented and is in an accelerated class at her school. She often comes to the centre with her grandmother to pick Amin up at the end of the day. Alia has mentioned in passing that she has begun to teach Amin how to recognise letters and to count, in their home language and English.

Amin’s educator: Eliza

Eliza is Amin’s primary educator at the centre.

She is pleased that Amin’s English language skills are coming on, and has noticed that he is very interested in construction, and that he can do all the puzzles in the room. She tries to provide a variety of construction resources for him, as well as bringing in some puzzles from the older groups, to keep him challenged.

The room is always very busy, and it is sometimes hard to get though all the daily routines and find time to sit with the children. Consequently, she only occasionally gets to read to Amin, and never for as long as he would like.

She worries that he plays mostly with the older girls, and is trying to encourage friendships with other children his own age. She feels that most children are 'good at something', and for Amin that is puzzles.

A place will be coming up shortly in the two-and-a-half to three-year-old group, but Eliza feels that Amin is not yet ready for moving into the older group, and that he needs more time in the younger group to develop his English language and his social skills.


As a professional working with young children, how would you respond to this scenario?

Do you recognise behaviours similar to these in any of the children you work with?