Eden Mew, who turned 6 in March, is one of the youngest members of Mensa International, an organization founded in England in 1946 for people whose intelligence ranks in the top 2 percent of the population.
The society has accepted people as young as 2 years old, but most members are between 20 and 60, according to the group’s website, www.mensa.org.
Eden is the only child of Catherine Mew, a theater professor with Georgia Highlands College, and Tom Mew, a lawyer in Atlanta.
In March, Catherine said her daughter’s pediatrician, Enid Colon of WellStar Medical Group’s Pediatric Professionals in Marietta, encouraged them to have Eden take a full battery of intelligence tests.
Her parents received the results in early May, and the application to join Mensa was soon on its way.
When asked what IQ means, Eden answered, “IQ means an intelligence quiz.” She said being in Mensa “means that you are very special and smart.”
“She keeps us on our toes,” Tom said. “If she doesn’t know something, she wants to know.”
He said his daughter asks questions ranging from wanting to know how something was built to inquiring about a type of bird in a tree.
Eden admits she enjoys stumping her parents.
“She will correct me, and she will be right,” Catherine said.
This talent for speaking developed early on. Eden’s first words were ‘dog’ and ‘dada,’ and she quickly progressed to using pet names and pronouns, her mom said.
“I know she said, ‘I love you,’ when she was 9 months old,” Catherine said.
To document if their daughter was truly gifted, Catherine said she was advised by a family friend to keep a journal of the new words and sentence length Eden was saying at 13 months old.
In just a month and a half, Catherine said her Eden’s vocabulary reached over 1,000 words, with sentences eight words long.
“We firmly believed that this was just her early exposure to verbose adults around the dinner table,” Catherine said about Eden’s parents and grandparents being lawyers or professors with doctorates.
Catherine first accepted her daughter was well above normal intelligence when she would read street signs, such as “Beware of Dog,” without any help.
By the time Eden turned 4, she had already taught herself to read Dr. Seuss books.
When Eden entered kindergarten this fall, she tested at or above a third-grade reading level. By the time she completed kindergarten this past spring, her reading level was placed between the sixth and eighth grade.
She is now making her way independently through “Anne of Green Gables,” Catherine said.
Eden not only has limitless concentration for books and puzzles, her family says, but she is also a dancer.
“I really want to be a ballerina,” said Eden, who performed in a ballet recital Sunday evening. “And be like my mommy and be a director when I grow up.”
Catherine said her daughter was young when she started tinkering with compositions on her parents’ baby grand piano.
By age 5, Eden began to read music, listing her favorite song as one composed by Mozart.
Eden also enjoys playwriting and party planning, which she combined during a recent playdate at her house.
Her friends performed a play she wrote, influenced by her favorite musicals “Guys and Dolls” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Eden also said she has loved animals since birth, especially her rescued 141-pound Great Dane.
“It is just one of my personalities,” she said.
Tom and Catherine debated whether they should test their daughter’s intelligence, worrying about the pressure and stigma the results could bring.
“You want to avoid putting undue labels or burdens on your child,” Tom said.
In the end, he said they realized, “the more information you have, the better you can prepare your child.”
It was around the time Eden was identified as gifted that her parents started to explore private school options.
Although the family lives in Buckhead, the Mews decided to drive Eden to school outside of the perimeter to Marietta, where they feel welcome and “enchanted by the lovely focus on people not things we find there,” Catherine said.
Eden attended kindergarten at First Presbyterian Church, in the heart of Marietta on Church Street.
“First Presbyterian preschool is the type of play-based program where every child is honored as the unique, creation they are,” Catherine said.
This fall, Eden will attend first grade at Eastside Christian School off Lower Roswell Road.
“Eastside Christian is a school where the development of character, a deep appreciation of others and a rich faith walk are prized as much as, if not more than, all other educational accomplishments,” Catherine said.
Eden’s parents said they will rely on input from teachers and school administrators to determine if their daughter should move ahead of her peers by skipping a grade in the future.
“We want her to have lifelong friends,” Catherine said. “And that she has time to play, and time to be a kid,” Tom added.