Frequently Asked Questions
Students are welcome from any school including homeschools. In the past, programs I have run have attracted students from every public school district in the Austin area and most private schools. They have come from many states as well as numerous countries. We encourage diversity and believe that it enriches any child’s individual experience.
We know that gifted children often have specific passions and interests. Consequently, offering students choices is key to their experience. New curriculum will be scheduled every year that is current and based on best gifted practices. Children look forward to the classes of their choice. In the afternoon, the staff selects the theme. We pick themes that are fun, but can also be taught using a multidisciplinary approach with lots of hands-on activities, similar to the philosophy we use in choosing and developing our morning classes. The afternoon tends to be a little more active and informal than the morning. Staying for the afternoon provides more time for social interactions with like-leveled peers, often an experience that is limited for gifted students in their everyday life, and one that gives them a greater chance for social validation.
That is simply the range for which the class is offered. In other words, kids going into these grades in the fall may enroll in this class. Most typically, children are grouped in double grade groupings, i.e. Ks and 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and 4th and 5th in the actual class. There may be some exceptions to this depending on enrollment, i.e., a drama class containing 3 grades.
Children are welcome for as many sessions as they wish. We accept students for one week if we have openings. However, there is no discount for coming for half the session because each enrolled child takes a slot that cannot be filled by another. Parents should be aware that classes vary in completeness during the session. In some there is a daily project, some complete something over a week’s time; others build for two weeks until the last day. Thus, leaving midsession or entering midsession can be different depending on the class.
Yes, if we have an opening in the alternative class. Our goal is for kids to have a great time and love their classes. We request, however, that students give their assigned classes at least a one-day-chance since it can take a day or so for the children to start getting into a topic and finish discussing class expectations. Often students find that the class they were least interested in turns out to be a favorite.
No, your child may take the afternoon session in addition to the morning session for a full day experience, but afternoon sessions cannot be taken separately. The goal of Inquiring Minds is to meet the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of gifted children by offering a well-rounded experience for your child. Research on gifted children supports the importance of allowing children to explore areas of passion – thus the significance of choice and the morning variety.
We set a limit of 15 in a class for most grades, and fewer for kindergarten-aged classes. The minimum is 6 students because we believe that part of the value of the experience we offer comes in the form of the social interaction between kids who are passionate about the same subjects. Larger groups almost always are assigned an aide in the classroom in addition to the teacher.
Children can be dropped off as early as 8:30 AM into our Game Room for supervised play at no charge.
To register, should I go by the grade my child just completed, or the grade they will enter in the fall?
Placement is based on the child’s grade as of the next fall. For example, a 1st grader who finishes in May will then be considered a 2nd grader for Inquiring Minds.
What if my child has never been tested in school, been too young to be evaluated for GT inschool or does not attend a school that conducts testing? How do I know if my child fits the program?
Many of our enrollees are in this situation. We suggest parents consider the list of characteristics of gifted children. Also, if there is giftedness found in a parent background or a biological sibling has been found to be gifted, the younger siblings are likely to test gifted as well since intelligence has a strong genetic component.
If my child is homeschooled, how do I estimate their typical grade level for placement in the program?
Most typically a student’s grade can be calculated by subtracting six from their age. There can be some variability by one with this calculation. Even if your child is doing academics several years ahead of this grade it is suggested that you sign them up for Inquiring Minds classes based on your child’s hypothetical grade level for the upcoming fall semester. This is because all our students are gifted and doing above grade level work. That said, if your child is highly gifted and belongs in higher level classes than their typical grade level, please contact the director. Correct placement is very important to us and exceptions can be appropriate.
We will confirm with you by email once we receive all your materials. To ensure that there is no delay in your child’s application, we recommend that you follow up with your child’s teacher to confirm that they have submitted their recommendation, either by mail or online. The Registration Form must be completed online, but the Teacher Recommendation Form can be done online or downloaded and sent in. The Behavioral Expectation Contract (signed by both parent and child), Immunization History, photo of your child, and $200 deposit per session (if submitted before May 1st), or payment in full must be submitted to hold your child’s place.
Please send all materials together by email, fax or mail. Do not submit them separately. We will not consider your child’s application until all online portions and mailed portions of the application have been received.
Yes, children can be assigned the same class if they are close in age/grade (we typically put K-1s, 2-3, and 4-6 graders together). If a parent wants their child in all the same classes as another student, their class choices need to match exactly because we assign classes in the order requested. If their second choices do not match, it may prevent them from being in both their second AND third classes together. Decisions about the order of classes desired must be made BEFORE application between parents as we do not try to coordinate the classes of two students when we are trying to assign all classes. That said, we urge parents to be cautious about making this decision. The research on gifted children shows the importance of supporting the individual passions of them and putting two children on the same schedule may prevent one or both from taking a class that they would love or pursuing a career in their area of passion.
If that is the case, we accept recommendations from a long-term nanny/babysitter, extracurricular teacher, long-term family friend, coach, tutor, or minister/rabbi, for example. It should be someone who knows the child well.
If I apply for my child close to the start of a session are they likely not to receive the classes of their choice?
Not necessarily. We wait to schedule classes until just a few weeks before the start of each session because at that point we can better determine interest in each topic and will work to create more sections of a class if there is interest. This is because research on gifted children has strongly stressed the need to support these children in pursuing their passions and interests.