Will Help the Advanced Child
by Emma Snow
Do your children excel in school? Have they mastered the skills
of their grades? Should they skip a level? If a child is out-performing
other children, should they go forward in their schooling faster?
These questions may be hard for a parent to answer.
However, according to child development experts, the answer is
usually no. Too often parents are so flattered by their child's
advanced skill level that they want to move them through school
faster. This idea plays more toward the parent’s sense of “raising
their child right” than interest in the child’s well-being in the
long term. Unfortunately, quicker is not always better. A child
may advance intellectually, but will remain on the same social level
as his/her same-aged peers. Allowing them to stay in their grade
will increase the opportunity to develop friendships and gain communication
skills that will benefit them throughout their life. Children understand,
communicate, and interact differently at each stage of development.
Only with time can children polish those skills. Children also develop
different interests as they age. There is a difference between children
in 1st grade and second, although it might not be evident at first
glance. Social interests also change as children improve physical
skill. Fourth graders want to play with children who are at their
same level of competency in games and activities. If a child moves
through school quickly, they might struggle to develop friendships.
Social interactions play a large part in a child's self-esteem and
development. For these reasons it is in a child’s best interest
to stay at their grade level and instead be challenged with content
appropriate for their age.
Helping a child to advance academically is a good thing, if it
is done appropriately. If you have a first grader who consistently
earns good marks in subtraction you may be tempted to move on to
multiplication. A better choice is to expand their knowledge within
the realm of subtraction. Numbers do not mean anything until they
are applied to real life, situations, and problems. Advance the
thinking within subtraction. This helps children not only increase
their mathematical skills, but reach a deeper level of understanding.
Multiple-step problems, word problems, and puzzles challenge different
parts of the brain and increase comprehension. These exercises provokes
deeper thought, and requires children to think in steps, expanding
their understanding of what subtraction is. Because they will develop
life skills they will be more useful as contributing adults to society.
They can do more than just spit out numbers and facts, they can
apply it. This is a powerful skill.
There are many puzzles that will challenge the advanced child.
One example is Sudoku. There are many levels in the game and all
ages can play. Other puzzles include: riddles, anagrams, doublets,
picture puzzles, chess problems, math puzzles, and logic puzzles.
Is one puzzle better than another? No. Puzzles should be geared
toward the interest of the child. Tastes, skills and interests form
at a remarkably early age. Use your child's interests to enlarge
and expand their thinking. By cultivating interests and introducing
puzzles your child will be successful academically and socially.
About the Author:
Emma Snow works a pragmatic puzzler at the Puzzle Place http://www.puzzle-place.net
and Chess Strategies http://www.chess-strategies.net
leading puzzle portals.