The BBC documentary Child Prodigies: Too Much Too Young? looks at the concept of "gifted" children and the other "G-word," Genius. You probably don't have to watch the show to answer the question in its title [which is good, because it aired three weeks ago, and appears to have been made in 2003], but you should definitely watch the clip of some prairie mom flashcarding dictator photos at a kid at about 120 bpm.
Says BBC Editor Tom Ware:
For me, one of the documentary's most impressive facts is how culture-specific the whole idea of giftedness is. Through the insight of Joan Freeman, who has spent over 30 years studying gifted children, we learn that in countries like Japan it's willingness to work hard rather than the suggestion of potential that gives children privileged status. And it comes as no surprise that it's in America, where education standards generally are lower than in most developed countries, that giftedness is given its greatest credence.CHILD PRODIGIES: TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG? [bbc.co.uk via boingboing]
Video Clip: "Teach your child to recognize dictators." [realmedia]
Director John Das interviewed about gifted kids: "In fact there is both a freak show fascination and also a jealousy and resentment as well."