A preschool program for highly gifted youngsters is scheduled to open this summer for four and five year olds with IQs of 130 or higher.
The Higley Unified School District has a specialized preschool lineup of programs at the Sossaman Early Childhood Development Center in Queen Creek. The program for highly gifted children will join other programs, including Mandarin and Spanish dual language programs.
“Parents are like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of for my child,’ ” said HUSD’s Director of Early Childhood Development Centers Patti Gleason.
Parents must pay to have potential students take the Stanford Binet IQ test, and children must receive a score of 130 or above to be accepted. In other words, they must place in the 99th percentile.
According to Warren Shillingburg, HUSD’s assistant superintendent for educational services, early identification of gifted students and proper placement is vital so they feel validated and accepted.
“Preschool-age children are egocentric,” Shillingburg said. “They think about themselves and think, ‘Everyone thinks like I do.’ It’s hard when gifted students meet other children and they’re thinking about math problems and the little kids just want to play in the sand. They don’t realize that everyone isn’t the same.”