I am the mother of two amazing sons. In February 2016, at the age of 6 I had my son assessed due to his advanced vocabulary and literacy for his age and learned about “giftedness.”
Like most parents of highly gifted children, I knew early on he was exceptional–accurate sentence structure in verbal speech at age 1, starting to spell at age 2, self-taught reading at age 3–yet thought he was essentially like other kids. It was only once he entered pre-school at age 3 when the parents of other children began commenting surprisingly on aptitudes that I began to pay closer attention.
He was at a “safe”, private school that he attended through kindergarten. The teachers understood him and he made some good friends. I volunteered monthly in class and was able to observe his typical school days. As kindergarten went on, he struggled more to fit in socially, was struggling with boredom in class and was becoming more emotionally intense at home after school. When it was time to find a place for first grade, I was at a loss. I was familiar with public school TAG programs, having frequented them as a child, and though they are helpful for level 1-3 gifted learners, they don’t offer individualized differentiation or individual coaching required to support the needs of highly gifted learners. After researching 27 elementary schools and interviewing 13 local principles, I made a reluctant decision to send him to a local private school that teaches a traditional model with smaller classes. The school has worked very hard to challenge him and make accommodations for his learning yet he is short-changed every day and hasn’t been afforded an opportunity to do what he loves best–learn.
So, Silverleaf School was founded in order to create a place for learners like him to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically through individualized learning taught in a team-based environment. Highly gifted children are vulnerable and they thrive when they are with other learners that think like they do and understand the experience of being a gifted kid.
To put a highly gifted child in a school all day not learning anything new is torture, as learning is their favorite activity and they love the promise of school. It would be like taking a kid who loves to swim more than anything else in the world, sitting them on the edge of a pool and telling them they can never get in. Would a child sit there wanting to swim 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 12 years? I’d lose interest in swimming fairly quickly, wouldn’t you?
We can’t risk our kids’ education and well-being. I hope that you relate to our story. I hope that you will connect with us and tell others about us.
Silverleaf may be brand new, but it’s great! This is the safe place where kids can know they are okay just how they are, and they are not alone or unique. This is a 21st century curriculum, designed to ensure these children are ready for a future world that normal schools are not preparing children for.
I hope you’ll join us on the journey to make the world a little better for these amazing kids.