Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (2.95 MB)

Catering for the needs of intellectually gifted children in early childhood: development and evaluation of questioning strategies to elicit higher order thinking

Download (2.95 MB)
posted on 2022-03-29, 00:48 authored by Rosalind Lee Walsh
Young intellectually gifted children differ from their age peers in their cognitive and socio-affective development. It is important that early childhood educators respond appropriately to these children’s characteristics. The literature in gifted education contains descriptions of promising curriculum practices that foster young gifted children’s intellectual development in early childhood, but few of these have been evaluated empirically to assess their effectiveness. Furthermore, few early childhood educators have any specific training in meeting the needs of young gifted children. In the current research, the effectiveness of a researcher-developed higher order questioning intervention was evaluated using a single-subject research design. Eight preschool-aged children, who had been assessed as gifted on standardised measures of intellectual ability, were asked lower order and higher order questions during storybook reading sessions. Their responses were recorded and analysed for linguistic complexity and abstract thinking. The results indicated that the young intellectually gifted children often used more linguistically complex responses when answering higher order questions than when answering lower order questions. Additionally, the children’s responses demonstrated more abstract thinking when higher order questions were asked. The implications of these findings for early childhood educators are twofold. They demonstrate that young intellectually gifted children have the cognitive capacity to respond to higher order questions, despite their reported infrequent use in the early childhood classroom. Furthermore, young intellectually gifted children who are asked the lower level questions typical of the early childhood classroom may not demonstrate their ability to function at a higher level unless challenged to do so. Changes to questioning practices and effective professional development are recommended for early childhood educators. Further research is needed to investigate the application in early childhood settings of questioning techniques used in the study.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Same age, different page : overcoming barriers to catering for young gifted children in prior-to-school settings -- Chapter 3. Searching for evidence-based practice : a review of the research on educational interventions for intellectually gifted children in the early childhood years -- Chapter 4. Are we asking the right questions? An analysis of research on the effect of teachers' questioning on children's language during shared book reading with young children -- Chapter 5. Evaluating interventions for young gifted children using single-subject methodology : a preliminary study -- Chapter 6. The effect of higher order questioning on the complexity of gifted preschoolers' language -- Chapter 7. Why would you say goodnight to the moon? The response of young intellectually gifted children to lower and higher order questions during storybook reading -- Chapter 8. Discussion and conclusions.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institute of Early Childhood

Department, Centre or School

Institute of Early Childhood

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jennifer M. Bowes

Additional Supervisor 1

Coral Kemp

Additional Supervisor 2

Kerry Hodge


Copyright Rosalind Lee Walsh 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (x, 232 pages) tables

Former Identifiers


Usage metrics

    Macquarie University Theses


    Ref. manager