How Gifted and Talented Test Prep is More than Test Prep
We’ve been trying out Bright Kids Tutoring Service here in NYC and our son is having a lot of fun learning and playing there while unknowingly doing gifted and talented test prep. But we can’t help but ask ourselves if this is worth the trek and the time. Honestly, we will have to wait and see. But, in the short term we are hoping that it will help him think more critically, focus better, see more patterns and connections, articulate himself more clearly, think more spatially and enjoy puzzles and solving problems. Sure, these are all things that are tested on the highly competitive G&T test but we aren’t sending him to Bright Kids in hopes of forcing him to pass the test. We are sending him there to help him develop his mind with trained professionals and have fun doing it. As much as we like to guide him and share in his learning experience, and also leave him alone to discover things on his own, we know that sometimes there’s nothing like a little professional help to take things to the next level. We know that what he will learn at Bright Kids are skills that will help him explore his passions and solve his problems more effectively and confidently throughout his life. We are super excited to see what path these important skills enable him to travel.
We were lucky enough to try out Bright Kids’ Skill Builder program prior to kicking off the Bootcamp. That gave our son some basic exposure to the different types of games and puzzles and vocabulary that they will be covering in the Bootcamp. He attended 6 sessions and really enjoyed it. He was always eager to go and knew it was something special for him where he gets to go play special games and he never put up an argument when it came time to head there. He came out of that program knowing more conversational math concepts and some spatial reasoning that he
Now, we’re on to trying out the 10 session G&T Bootcamp
It starts out in a similar way to the Skill Builder program with an initial diagnostic. This time, they ask questions in the diagnostic exactly like they would on the G&T Test. They ask once. They give minimal instructions once. Then, they see where the child’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
The next four sessions will be spent building on his those strengths and weaknesses. They balance the instruction so that he builds confidence and new skills and understanding at the same time.
The sixth session is a Progress Test to expose the child to the testing format and is an excellent way to gauge improvement in the various skills needed to do well on the test. Then, the results are used to develop his final four sessions’ content.
Every session is ended with a parent conference where they review the days’ work. We find this super helpful in knowing what he’s working on so that we can weave it into our daily life.
Everything is tracked carefully and uploaded to a portal that both parents and instructors can review regularly. If there is anything that we want them to work on, they are happy to comply. If there is anything that they would like us to work on at home, the can share that in their notes as well.
And, they give you a Bright Kids G&T Workbook Publication to take home for extra practice! You get it at your first session and can use it as much or as little as you’d like at home. I find it useful after seeing the session report. We can look up questions relating to the areas where he needs the most work and try to find ways to work on it in the framework of our daily life as opposed to using the book with him.
We like that he sees a different tutor each time so that he can get used to testing with different kinds of people and their varied communication styles. He will have to take the test with a stranger so we think that this is a big plus to the Bootcamp service. Kids can get comfortable working with unfamiliar faces and feel prepared and confident on test day.
So Far So Good
We are a few sessions into the Bootcamp series and everything is going well so far. The only time slots available were right around nap time so it has been challenging getting him to wake up from a nap and getting him into a frame of mind to do these mental workouts. But, he still likes going, so we’re still going. The reports are super helpful to see strengths and areas for improvement. The instructors have all been professional, kind and generally good with kids (not scary or mean or cold). We will report back again at the end of the session series and again after we get the test results. We’ve signed up for January 20th to take the test and will get results in April, probably. It will be interesting to see what happens!