How to Support Your Child When They Are an Advanced Learner in a Public School Classroom

This seems like a super niche blog post topic, right? But actually, when your child was a Montessori student for her preschool years and then enters public school, she’s already going to be ahead academically. Montessori education simply introduces certain concepts much earlier than mainstream preschools do, so it’s not uncommon for a Montessori child to enter Kindergarten already knowing all of their letter sounds, possibly even reading, and most likely with a firm grasp on numbers (with manipulatives, anyway). Or maybe your child has always been in mainstream schools, and she’s just super bright and always ahead of the rest of the class. When you have an advanced learner, it can seem like they’re not getting everything they need in a public school classroom. But there are ways to support your child through that!

The first thing you can do is to think about some things your advanced learner can still gain in the classroom even if absolutely none of the academic information is new for her:

  • social skills and friendships — strong academic learners may not be as strong in the social skills department, so they can still learn a lot from interacting with others
  • leadership skills — as an advanced learner, your child may take the initiative or be asked to help other students who are struggling

School is NOT all about academics! Especially in that first Kindergarten year of public school, most of it is about social skills, independence, and learning how to exist in a group environment. And that’s okay!

Next, you can always supplement or follow your child’s interests at home. Academics don’t have to ONLY happen at school! You can do things like:

  • provide a variety of high quality reference books for kids for your child to explore at home — we love PaperPie (formerly Usborne) books!
  • when your child has a very specific interest, suggest that they make a poster or a model of it along with some facts that they’ve learned, like a research project
  • take educational field trips based on your child’s interests
  • participate in your school’s Science Fair

Finally, you can work together with your child’s teacher to make sure she is still getting everything she needs in the classroom. But don’t go in there with guns blazing — give your child’s teacher a chance to see what your child is capable of first! There’s a good chance that teacher has some ideas for enrichment activities that you never would have thought of, so working together is key. At parent-teacher conferences, let the teacher know ahead of time that you’d like to discuss some ways to make sure your advanced learner is still being challenged at school, so she has time to prepare. Tell your teacher what you know about your own child, but also listen to what she has observed at school. You have 12 years in this school district, so build relationships instead of burning bridges to really give your child the best possible learning journey.