About BKPlay Academy

To understand BKPlay Academy, it is first essential to understand what it means to be ‘gifted.’

Former U. S. Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr., in his August 1971 report to Congress, stated:

Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.

In the last several decades, all but two states have established definitions of giftedness. While the criteria for defining giftedness varies and sometimes changes to reflect current research, experts in education and psychology agree that identifying gifted students through assessments and providing them with differentiated educational programs is essential not only to academic success, but also to emotional well-being and social development.

Despite acknowledging gifted or highly capable students as a group requiring unique services, most public schools in Washington do not offer programs to gifted students until first or second grade. Parents and educators of highly capable preschoolers, however, will confirm gifted children crave and benefit from differentiated learning opportunities from as early as two years of age.

Luckily, Washington state laws have changed. Public gifted education is now mandated from kindergarten through 12th grade, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. Soon, preschoolers in Washington will be assessed for public gifted kindergarten programs. While this is an exciting acknowledgement of the importance of early assessment and intervention, and hopefully the beginning of greater public awareness and acceptance of giftedness as a special need; services for highly capable young children especially preschool children are sparse. And yet, if a toddler is suspected of being gifted, parents, caregivers, and educators should treat the suspicion with the same urgency as addressing any medical condition or developmental abnormality.

Gifted children can be fascinating, engaging, charismatic, and exuberant; however, they can also be intense, precocious, socially awkward, perfectionistic or highly sensitive. Over time, if highly capable children are not sufficiently guided or supported, they may become disengaged, absent-minded, or even depressed. They have unique emotional and social needs that require specialized attention from teachers who understand gifted students and who are trained to guide and support their passions, inquisitiveness, and eccentricities. Learning how to deal with their own characteristics and establishing effective social skills, healthy risk-taking strategies, and stress management techniques in early childhood is essential to prepare gifted children for a lifetime of success and to balance intellectual interests, personal passions, and interpersonal relationships. While there may be many gifted children in your neighborhood compared to national average, your local school may not be equipped to accommodate highly capable learners.

In summary, every child should feel belonged and have an opportunity to learn at school every day. This seems to be a reasonable standard for public education, but when it comes to our brightest students, that standard seems to be ignored. BKPlay Academy is an independent school serving preschool to 5th grade in Bellevue, Washington, which provides warm and stimulating environment for highly gifted students. At BKPlay Academy, we embrace the boundless energy and curiosity of highly capable learners, and work in conjunction with their families to provide a comfortable learning environment in which they can create, share, and shine.

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Advisory Board

  • Alice S Honig, Ph.D. Syracuse University
  • Jaipaul L. Roopnarne, Ph.D. Syracuse University
  • James E. Johnson, Ph.D. Penn State University
  • Eva L. Essa, Ph.D. University of Nevada Reno

Accreditation

BKPlay Academy is approved by Washington State Board of Education from preschool to 5th grade.  BKPlay Academy is a member of Washington Federation of Independent Schools.

Dr. Meera Shin


Director
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Dr. Meera Shin received her Ph.D. in child development and family studies with a concentration in early childhood education from Syracuse University. In addition to teaching at Syracuse University as an adjunct instructor, she has taught early childhood education programs at Bellevue College and Eastern Washington University and was an assistant professor at Kean University before moving to Washington. Kean University is the oldest higher education institute in New Jersey and currently produces the largest number of teachers in the state.

Since 1988, Dr. Shin has comprehensively researched early childhood education in Korea and in the United States, and has written numerous scholarly publications—covering language development from infancy to primary grades, teaching strategies for young children and cultural issues in parenting and education that have appeared in books and professional journals.

Dr. Shin has extensive experience testing children for gifted program placements and early kindergarten entrance for private schools and public school districts. She is a founder of BKPlay Academy and is actively involved in its operations—teaching, overseeing planning and curriculum development, and administering admissions assessments. Dr. Shin is a certified teacher in Washington with over 20 years of teaching experience and is a proud mother of a gifted child. She is an introvert by nature, but she can be outgoing when it is necessary.

Click for a list of Dr. Shin’s publications and presentations.