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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Foreword Teaching young children is complicated. The most experienced and respon- sive teacher can be thrown off her game when a three-year-old asks how elec- tricity works or what numbers are smaller than zero. This book, Challenging Exceptionally Bright Children in Early Childhood Classrooms, helps early child- hood educators prepare for those moments in their day when a child’s inquiry takes learning in a new direction. The author, Ann Gadzikowski, provides big ideas and essential understandings that will guide teachers to be responsive to unpredictable moments and students. Gadzikowski threads three major ideas into every chapter of her book. These are the ingredients for challenging young children: differentiation, conversation, and connection. This book is filled with practical suggestions and numerous examples of how to challenge young children by connecting new learning experiences to what they already know, by paying attention to individual differences regardless of how gifted a particular group of children or an individual child may be, and by engaging children in conversations that scaffold their learning processes to provide authentic and meaningful learn- ing experiences. Of particular value to the teachers who read this book are the rich and vividly described examples of actual teaching situations. Gadzikowski recognizes the diversity in all early childhood classrooms and emphasizes the need for teachers to build upon children’s interests and to treasure young children’s misconceptions or mistakes as opportunities for deeper learning. She addresses with boldness the looming question in gifted education: Should young children who are cognitively and academically ahead of their age peers be separated from them? She responds to that question with substantiated research and literature that promotes the connection between cognitive, physical, social, and emotional growth. In chapter 6, she states, “Most young children will best benefit from a core classroom experience that is part of a general early childhood program serving a diverse population of learners” (59). Gadzikowski illuminates best practices of constructivism, ix COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL