There is little agreement within the literature as to what constitutes high ability. In an early years context this lack of agreement contributes to the difficulty in identifying and providing for young children with high ability. One aspect that may affect this search and subsequent provision is the early years educators’ understandings of high ability and the correlation between this understanding and practice. This paper seeks to explore the symbiotic relationship between understandings of high ability and their impact on early years practice and identification. Forty-five participants working in early years settings and with no prior formal engagement with the concept of high ability completed a questionnaire. The results of the open-ended questions are presented here. Findings show that educators’ understandings of high ability are crucial to the identification of highly able children and to the creation of appropriately challenging learning opportunities for children.
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Keywords: high ability, young children, educators