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PDF icon. Identifying and providing for giftedness in the early years (PDF, 1 MB)

Booklet by Barbara Allan (can be downloaded for personal use).  Anyone wishing to republish the booklet will need to seek permission of the author, editor and publisher.

Characteristics of young gifted children

PDF icon. Signs of giftedness in young children (PDF, 19 KB)


From an early age it is possible to identify gifted children who have exceptional ability in relation to their peers.  It is important for gifted children to have these abilities recognised and nurtured as early as possible, so that they can be provided with appropriate educational support. 

Some early indicators of giftedness are as follows:

  • Advanced vocabulary
  • Abstract thinking
  • Excellent memory
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Strong motivation to learn
  • Sense of humour – delight in wordplay, fantasy
  • Ability to concentrate for prolonged periods of time
  • Heightened sensitivity
  • Vivid imagination
  • Keen powers of observation
  • Rapid learner


The ‘Giftedness in Early Childhood Scale’ (Allan, B. 2002) provides a range of useful indicators of giftedness, purposefully designed and trialled for use in New Zealand early childhood settings. The scale uses a range of behavioural indicators of giftedness, organised into the following four broad areas:

  • Cognition and language
  • Approach to learning
  • Creativity
  • Social competence

The scale is found in the appendix of the booklet by Allan, in the right hand toolbox.  


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