My almost 4 year old is nearing the end of his first full year of school, and we’re trying to assess whether the school he’s going to is a good fit and whether there might be something better for him.
He is very smart, already starting to read (tells me to stop when I’m reading to him so that he can try reading it himself), likes to play arithmetic games and solve riddles, and is always asking to watch videos about how things work. He complains to me that he doesn’t learn anything at school and “we just play!” He has also seemed to me somewhat socially isolated. The classroom has kids age 3.5 to 6 all together - the older kids don’t want to play with him because he’s still only 3, and the younger kids often don’t understand him (he’s been regressing his speech - leaving out “r” sounds and stopping fricatives and choosing simpler vocabulary - to try to get them to play with him, but he is still usually playing by himself when I pick him up from school).
All of these things have made me think that he needs a school environment that is different. More academic, with kids who are more like him. I have not had him tested for “giftedness,” but in some ways going with a gifted school seems like it might be the easy solution to both of these problems.
I can think of ways in which this could be less than ideal though - most gifted schools don’t start until age 4.5, so my son would still likely be one of the youngest kids. Also gifted schools tend to be small - I went to a small school and believe I suffered somewhat from the corresponding reduction in available opportunities. Also, I’ve had a couple of people mention that it’s important to learn to deal with and connect with “normal” people (whatever that means), and that moving a kid to a more insulated environment could reduce their acquisition of necessary social skills.
I guess I’m looking for answers from people who either went to or had kids go to gifted schools/programs, and whether they think that was a good decision. What were the costs/benefits, and did the benefits outweigh the costs? Answers from people who have experience with more than one system would be especially welcome.
Edit: My husband was a gifted child who went through traditional schooling, and he resented his parents for not putting him in a gifted school (still does). However, his experience may not be representative, so I would also be interested in answers from parents/students who have experience with gifted kids in traditional schools as well.