Cognitive characteristics of gifted and talented preschool children in Machakos county, Kenya
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The gifted and talented children are characterized by high performance abilities in many fields. Globally, these people have the potential for showing an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression, as noted by United States National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC, 2007: 40). Subsequently, educational systems in any given country, have a duty to find and help in the identification of these gifted and talented children. However, in Kenya, the gifted pre-scholars are normally treated like the average child and often their unique potential, hardly nurtured, and end up as underachievers. This study aims to examine whether giftedness and talentedness can be identified at the pre-school level and develop indicators to help identify cognitive characteristics. The findings are expected to enhance understanding on giftedness among pre-school children and inform educational policies. The study will adopt Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) which emphasizes emotion and the role emotion plays in personality, intelligence, and behaviour. The review of the related literature clearly establishes major research inadequacy on giftedness in general and limited tools to explain how to identify children who are gifted and talented. This study will employ a descriptive survey design. This study will be done in the pre-schools in Machakos County in Kenya. The area consists of both urban and rural schools, and is a cosmopolitan area. The study will target the gifted and talented pre-school children and teachers. The total number of children and pre-school teachers in the whole division is 21850 and 392 respectively. A combination of sampling frameworks will be used. Stratified sampling will be used. The target schools will be clustered according to rural or urban basis. Purposive sampling procedure to gather information particularly from preschools in Machakos County, an area familiar to the researcher. Simple random sampling will be used to select the actual number of responds, from both girls and boys. A sample size of 30% ofthe schools which will comprise a sample size of 10 schools (5 urban and 5 rural schools) and consequently, 30% of pupils in the 10 schools will be considered. A total of 236 pre-schools from the urban and rural setup will be selected. This will constitute a sample of 279 children and an average of 2 teachers per school adding up to 20 teachers who will participate in the study. The sample population will thus comprise 93 children per school and 2 teachers per school, giving a total of 20 teachers in 10 schools. The study will use two tools namely: questionnaire and observations chart. The research instruments for the primary data will comprise semi-structured standard questionnaires. The instruments will be pre-tested in two schools selected using simple random sampling. Data analysis will be done mainly using descriptive statistics with qualitative methods to address the cognitive components. Findings will be reported in tables and pie charts. The data gathered in this study will be summarized so as to establish the fundamental results.