A child with high potential is not just about an IQ level
In English, “gifted” (précoce in French) means "to have a gift, a talent". Being "gifted" is usually a positive peculiarity, but being gifted also means being different. The child's entire way of thinking is different and his extreme sensitivity needs to be acknowledged. A gifted child possesses skills and a reasoning capacity which makes him develop differently.
Fortunately, identifying gifted children at an early age is not uncommon anymore. However, diagnosing a high potential of a child is only part of the solution to the issue; a specific education is usually needed from early childhood.
Galilée School has adapted its pedagogy to their specific needs. Our personnel has been trained to teach this specific kind of audience and offers throughout their school years a dedicated support in enhancing their special sort of intelligence and in exerting their more intuitive than deductive way of thinking. They need to be intellectually challenged in many ways in order to avoid boredom and depression that may come with being a gifted child.
Considering a child and its character as a whole
A child with high potential is aware of being out of touch with its peers, which usually ends up in the child feeling like a "loser" and lowering himself.
Belonging to a reference group in which the gifted or precocious children feel normal among their peers, acknowledged and accepted regardless of their differences makes them feel reassured. Sharing the same interests, not experiencing a constant feeling of awkwardness and oddity will help create a bond between the children. They are interested with complex matters such as the universe and its origins, the boundaries between life and death, sciences, and all that sort of subjects which very seldom are discussed during recess when children chat with each other...
As one of the first places for socialisation, it is also the duty of the school to give those children an opportunity to form new friendships with children their age. Indeed, on many occasions their behaviour is labeled as "too much", "too sensitive", "too critical"... and this hypersensitivity sometimes leads them to extreme reactions.
Being kind to them, refraining from judging them, taking into account their emotional intelligence, which is also different from that of other people, are ways to gain their trust and de-dramatise the importance of those differences. Only then may they embrace their countless dreams and desires and go to school with a renewed pleasure.
Particular awareness to possible learning disabilities
Being a precocious child does not bestow immunity of any kind in that respect. On the contrary, those disabilities may in some cases be the consequence of their peculiar intelligence or in other cases even develop independently.
There is sometimes a gap between the acquisition of the reading skill, which they master very quickly, and writing skill, for which they are much more clumsy than other students. Their brain is running but their hand is limping. Their brain learns by connecting ideas and remembers only what makes sense according to it. "Learning" (and especially "learning by heart") is thus a challenging and painful task for those children who are afraid of failure and would rather "not do anything at all" than "get it wrong".
This is why we take great care in identifying those particular causes of academic or social failure, which are sometimes detected late in when those gifted children, who have the intellectual capacity to hide their difficulties and make up for them in some way.
Therapeutical and pedagogical strategies
Regardless of the origin of the problem, the strategies must be adapted to the student who is precocious.
Our school has been designed to support those gifted children in dealing with their sometimes complicated disabilities : DCD, SLI, dysorthography...
The school time of children who need medical supervision (SLT, psychomotor specialist, ergotherapist and so on) is adjusted in view of the recommendations of the various specialists selected by the parents, in order to make things easier for the families and the children who spend their little free time going from one appointment to another.
Learning a foreign language is important for a gifted child, since he develops his ability to "learn" and needs to put constant effort into it when facing this new knowledge to acquire. In this area, trusting his instinct is not sufficient anymore.
Small-size class groups allow teachers to dedicate time to each of those children who quickly feel isolated within larger groups and to customise the support that they give them.
The school's innovative, positive and caring pedagogy aims at preventing and correcting those gifted children's difficulties while respecting their differences.