Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. (22 Pa. Code §16.1).
Identification procedures have been determined by the District Pupil Services Department.
Curriculum for gifted students is built on student abilities and needs. The basis for appropriate K-5 gifted curriculum is to build a foundation for intellectual questioning that will continue throughout the students’ lives. This foundation is laid in many areas, regardless of how the student’s program is configured. Thinking skills need to be taught and developed to build toward more abstract and involved thinking. These skills need to be nurtured so gifted students can begin to see a broad picture, in which issues may not have right or wrong answers, but be open to many interpretations.
It is important for young children to form a knowledge base to draw upon for later decisions. The process for acquiring knowledge is of great consequence so that the curiosity and hunger for knowledge that is easily identified in early school years is not lost.
In addition, gifted students need to develop listening and discussion skills. Fostering these skills at an early age ensures communication between individuals and requires thinking which takes into account the thoughts and feelings of others.
Equally, learners need a non-threatening atmosphere for the promotion of creativity. Intellectual superiority does not guarantee creativity and creative minds contribute significantly to the advancement of society.
Finally, gifted students should be encouraged to work in various groups as well as individually to develop skills in group dynamics and leadership. We live in a world with different types of people and gifted students need the opportunities to learn how to manage themselves in situations where they act as leaders as well as followers.