DEVELOPING PRESCHOOLERS’ GIFTEDNESS
On 13-14 November Moscow held the All-Russian Network Forum with International Participation ‘National Strategy for Action on Children: Towards the Decade of Childhood’. One of its discussion platforms was dedicated to a notion of children’s giftedness. It is interesting, that the majority of psychologists, teachers and scientists who participated in the platform are women. Elena Belova, Candidate of Psychology, leading research worker of Psychological Institute of Russian Academy for Education made a report on the topic of ‘Preschoolers’ Giftedness: How to Identify and Develop’.
The speaker highlighted, that preschool age plays important role in child’s personality formation, developing their cognitive processes, and identifying their skills and talents. That is the age when creative potential can be identified which is the basis of giftedness. It is important to remember, that children cannot develop their talents purely by themselves; they need parents’ support. Thus, it is important for parents to identify their children’s talents early.
Now, many concepts of giftedness exist. They are all common in presenting it as a developing complex structure. Elena Belova highlighted, that “Preschool giftedness is often considered as a potential or high capability in the context of asynchronous patterns of development. For instance, a child can be gifted in any specific sphere while being on average level in other”.
Elena gave special attention to the theory of A. Matyushkin. According to it, creative potential makes the basis of giftedness. Such potential is inborn and is able to develop in any sphere in the course of time. A. Matyuskin highlighted in his research, that talent’s development could be delayed or stopped at any stage. Thus, psychological aid and support are required for the process.
According to Elena, giftedness as a developing creative potential can be characterised by the following features: high cognitive need and cognitive performance, initiative, active creative process, high rate of new ideas’ development, and strive for creative self-expression. She also communicated children’s art being different from that of grown-ups. They both require different estimation criteria and lines of development. Some modern psychologists, in turn, suppose that complex approach is the most important condition for identification and development of schoolchildren’s giftedness. Their study also deals with creative potential. However, psychologists consider it necessary to take all development areas into account. The areas are intellectual potential, self-organisation, self-regulation, emotional and personal characteristics, communicative and play activity features, and special skills.
Psychological Institute of Russian Academy for Education conducted a research on specific character of preschool giftedness. 230 preschoolers from 5 to 6 years old and 60 preschoolers from 6 to 7 years old participated in it. According to the research’s results, 13.6% of 5-6 year-olds and 15% of 6-7 year-olds under study were considered gifted. Elena Belova explained: “It was found, that preschoolers who were considered gifted exceed their peers in creative and intellectual development, communication skills, and vocabulary. Alongside with that, cognitive need and strive for creative self-expression of such children are advanced. Such differentiation is statistically essential”. That, however, does not mean they evade problems, as such creative and intellectual superiority do not equal the overall one. For example, it is common for a child to both be of high creative potential and lack talkativeness, proper speech formation or attention. However, it is unacceptable to differentiate gifted and non-gifted children. It is important to help children develop their skills and overall potential.
Elena Belova named several ways of solving the preschool giftedness problem. Among them are uniting the aspects of age progress (features of gifted preschoolers connected with superiority in creative development and relative gap in other spheres) and special training of psychologists and teachers to work with gifted children. According to Elena’s report, there are 3 main aspects of solving the problem. They are modern concepts of preschool giftedness, principles of studying and development of preschool giftedness, and balanced development of children’s potential. Elena Belova is sure, that helping child at such young age will help them develop properly in the long run.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Boykov