Q:

What do you think about accelerating my daughter, who is in kindergarten, to first grade, as she's doing work well past what is expected of her in kindergarten? The only negative as I see it is she's physically smaller than average. The school suggested moving her. -- Move or Not?

A:

You are not the first parent to face this decision. It's best to make this decision with the help of school personnel and even psychologists. Plus, it's very smart to learn as much as you can about acceleration. Two really good Web sites with solid information are: the National Association of Gifted Children (www.nagc.org) and the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration (www.accelerationinstitute.org).

You need to realize that skipping a grade is not the only form of acceleration offered by schools, especially for older children. Another popular alternative is advancing a child for a single subject.

What works for one child may not work for others. In general, skipping a grade should create a better match between children and the level of instruction they are receiving. Compared to peers who have not been accelerated, those who have been skipped are usually more advanced academically and often have improved socialization skills. On the other hand, not all gifted children should be skipped, especially those who are not socially and emotionally ready or academically advanced across subjects.

It is good that you are being proactive. As a parent, you need to look out for your child, because educators don't always focus on the needs of the gifted. Also, students who are accelerated do have the advantage of getting through school faster and are able to obtain more advanced degrees.