Learning characteristics of gifted children



A gifted child’s level of learning will vary from individual to individual and often reflects what is available to them to learn about in their everyday world, as well as their individual learning strengths.

Some gifted children may have shown early development of academic learning, such as reading and maths, others may not. Just as with all children, the combination of learning characteristics and learning needs will be individual.

A parent is likely to be the first person to become aware of their child's advanced level of knowledge. This advanced knowledge may be seen in the form of an extensive vocabulary, being a great story teller, having extensive knowledge about a specific subject, such as trains or frogs or dinosaurs, learning to read early or showing advanced maths knowledge. 

Learning attributes

Often it is the 'learning attributes', the intellectual and thinking capacities that a child is able to use in their learning, which indicates they are markedly advanced for their age.

These 'learning attributes' include:

  • showing a high level of alertness
  • being intensely curious
  • having an exceptional memory
  • displaying great concentration
  • demonstrating intense task commitment (especially to a task of own choosing)
  • synthesising knowledge to come up with greater understanding
  • learning very rapidly - needs few if any repetitions
  • being highly imaginative and/or creative
  • asking probing questions, such as 'If our weather is affected by ocean currents, what affects the ocean currents?'
  • analysing answers given by others and asking further pertinent questions.

These aspects of a gifted child's learning are frequently qualitatively different from those of more age-typical children and signal they are learning in an advanced way.

Understanding the gifted learner

In understanding the learning characteristics of the gifted or high-ability learner, it is important to understand that being gifted generally influences a number of behaviours. 

For more information

For more information, see: