This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa (belinblank.org). The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (accelerationinstitute.org), and graduate programs and research in gifted education.

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Early Entrance to Kindergarten for Academically Talented 4-Year-Olds: Information and Resources

General information

Parents sometimes consider early entrance to kindergarten for their academically talented child. Daycare providers and preschool teachers typically are not taught about giftedness in their early childhood education training. Educators who do not recognize the needs of young gifted learners often overlook children who would benefit from early entrance to kindergarten or first grade. Parents of young gifted children often have no source for information on how to assist their children or how to advocate for them.

Some good advice

Selection of Candidates for Early Admission to Kindergarten and First Grade, by Nancy Robinson and Linda Weimer.

What are the policies in your state?

  • Some states have a specific process outlined for early entrance to school.
  • Some states allow individual school districts to decide what to do.
  • Some states specifically prohibit early entrance to kindergarten.
  • Learn about your state's policies.

Iowa Acceleration Scale

By Susan G. Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Jonathan Lipscomb, and Leslie Forstadt. Published by Great Potential Press.

The Iowa Acceleration Scale, 3rd edition, is a tool to help schools make effective decisions regarding a grade-skip. It is designed to take personal bias out of the decision-making process when considering a child for whole-grade acceleration. The IAS requires test data and other information and utilizes a child-study team format to come to agreement on questions related to the child's motivation, relationships with teachers and peers, etc.

Websites

Gathering information needed to make decisions about early entrance to kindergarten

If parents are wondering if early entrance to kindergarten would be appropriate to consider for their child, the Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic may be able to assist you.

Step 1: Schedule an appointment with a local psychologist that would include a full intellectual battery (WPPSI-IV or Stanford Binet-5) and full achievement test (Woodcock Johnson-IV). Achievement test results should be calculated using grade level and above level (usually one to two years) norms. Screening of the child's psychosocial functioning is also recommended. Your local school district, your pediatrician, children's hospital, or state psychological association may be able to recommend a psychologist. If you prefer to travel to The University of Iowa, an educational evaluation can be completed with a Belin-Blank Center psychologist. These assessments last approximately 6 hours and are conducted over the course of two mornings.

Step 2: The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic offers consultation services for families considering acceleration that do not require a trip to the University of Iowa. The Center's psychologists would review the assessment report (from Step 1) and speak with you over the phone to assist in decision-making. Following the phone consultation, the psychologist will provide parents with a written report that includes recommendations for meeting their child's educational needs. There will be an hourly fee assessed for this consultation. These types of consultations typically take a total of 1-3 hours.

Step 3: Schedule a meeting with your school personnel to discuss the results of the assessment and the recommendations provided by Belin-Blank Center psychologists. Collaboratively discuss appropriate strategies for meeting your child's educational needs, which may include early entrance to kindergarten. The final decisions must be made between the family and the school district.

For more information, contact the Belin-Blank Assessment and Counseling Clinic: http://www2.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/clinic/. You can request Clinic services including evaluations and consultations by completing the online form: https://itsnt842.iowa.uiowa.edu/bbc_portal/clinic/MoreInfoFull.aspx


Get Empowered! Check out the 2015 report, A Nation Empowered, which includes a chapter on whole grade acceleration and early entrance to kindergarten.. See www.nationempowered.org for more information.