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Volume 4, Number 2 - October 2015

The well-being of gifted young children: Perceptions, pedagogy, and governance

This article considers the effects that the beliefs and understandings of giftedness, held by teachers and by those in wider society, have on the well-being of gifted young children within ECE services in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Young gifted children in ECE services make up a heterogeneous population of individuals with many diverse abilities. Societal and culturally constructed perceptions of giftedness held by teachers and significant adults can affect the self-concept of gifted individuals from an early age. Gifted children, like all children in the early years, learn in an interdependent environment and their social/emotional well-being is reliant on the attitudes and understanding of those around them. Feelings of well-being can be promoted through the trust that the gifted child and his or her whānau (family) have in their relationships with educators who have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the characteristics and the complexity of learning for gifted and talented children. This understanding is hindered by discrepancies in provision of information for teachers of young gifted children. Knowledge about the characteristics of giftedness can support gifted children’s learning through the dispositional learning framework. The well-being of gifted young children in the early years would be enhanced if all teachers and related professionals were trained in gifted education at the pre-service level. Further support at the governmental level for gifted education in the early years is needed for early childhood teachers.


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