by Anja Kintscher


Lea (name changed) originally caught my attention because of her verbal skills. She came to our kindergarten some 4 months ago. She was 3;6 years then and she is 3;10 years old now.

I was in charge of management and administration at our facility and worked only part-time in direct contact with the children. Therefore I was strongly dependent on my team. In addition to the observational questionnaire we were using at our kindergarten I have also handed out the Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness, which I had brought back from the first seminar of the IHVO Certificate Course.

These are some excerpts from our observations:
Especially during her acclimatisation phase Lea had many questions and showed unusual trains of thought. For instance, she wanted to understand why she had to stay in kindergarten without her mom. Her mom explained “so that you can play with the other children” and Lea’s response was: “We can do that too, when you’re here, mom.”

In the course of the day Lea wondered repeatedly what her mom might be doing at that time. Furthermore she wanted to know, exactly when her mom would be picking her up, and we had to illustrate it using the clock.

Lea’s favourite playfellow is Clara (name changed) and they spend most of their time in the role-playing area, where they impersonate siblings, mother-daughter, birthday children, fine ladies and so forth. Here it is oftentimes Lea who has the ideas and develops the plot. Imaginary Pepe (a budgie) and imaginary Mimi (a light-blue and pink cat) are regularly admitted into the game, while Lea does not like other children join the game, preferring to play only with her friend Clara, whom she had met early on when she came to our kindergarten.

In these situations she easily draws a line and makes it clear: “You’re not in this, Anna.” When pointing out to her, what that might make the other child feel like, she shows empathy and – depending on circumstances – is capable of changing her mind.

At times when her friend Clara is absent, she will turn to a kindergarten teacher, preferably getting involved in planning the entire course of the day. She demands attention. If the kindergarten teacher cannot give her the desired amount of attention, she will resort to playing by herself or goes into observation mode.

Lea enjoys talking to adults. In such conversations she contributes rather original ideas.
Example 1:
A kindergarten teacher has just finished tidying up a shelf.
Lea: “I can tidy pretty well too.”
Teacher: “Really? Why don’t you come around to my house some time and help me there.”
Lea: “Where do you live?”
Teacher: “In Schwerte.”
Lea: “Naa, that’s to far away for me, my mother can’t take me there.”

Example 2:
A kindergarten teacher is talking about her tomcat. Lea tells her about her imaginary cat Mimi. During this dialogue she says the following:
“Mimi is still very small, this big, a baby (shows it with her hands). Sometimes she follows me and then she dashes ahead between my legs. (Lea runs a few steps ahead and shows what it looks like.) When I’m playing, Mimi wants to join me. One time, when we were playing, she suddenly jumped on the table. Mimi is not a tiger cat, she’s light-blue and pink …”

Beside role playing Lea likes to exercise, she dances and hops around anywhere, not only in the gym. When drawing, she might hop to the shelf, if she needs something, or she hops all the way to join another group (everybody else would be running!).

Lea loves having something read out to her, she joins handicrafts activities, gets involved in games, which are played in a circle of children, and will definitely join any activity in the gym. She is open for many things. When a “new” activity is being offered, she will be right there; in such situations she shows her high learning tempo and apprehension.

For instance, she sits down at the table where “Heaven and Hell”-animals are being folded from sheets of paper. She patiently waits and observes. When it is her turn, she hardly needs any assistance, she immediately manages to reproduce the exact folding procedure.

Verbal skill

Lea is remarkably communicative. She talks about goings-on at home, relates experiences she has had, tells stories (from books) and verbalises her thoughts. This is where her good memory comes in really handy. For example, she talks about different vacations and she is able to name these with regard to time and place (“in the winter holidays”, “during skiing holidays”, “in Austria”, “last year”). She gives detailed accounts and precise descriptions, so that the listener – without having to ask for clarifications – can easily follow and understand exactly how something happened and came about.

Lea commands a rich vocabulary and makes differentiated use of it. She speaks at different pitches and emphases, she illustrates her words with gestures and mimics. This is how she makes her stories exciting to listen to. She uses expressions like “all of a sudden” and “next thing …”, and her grammar is flawless.

In many situations Lea’s quite original ideas and unusual thoughts come to the fore:

We are sitting in a circle on an Advent. Lea approaches our Advent calendar and easily spots the little gift-hanger bearing her name in an arrangement of 15 other hangers. “That’s mine. It’s got my name on it!” When it is her turn to draw a name for playing secret Santa, she draws a green name card. “That one just jumped the queue!” (She was going for a name card with a different colour.)

An utterance she made in an Advent’s circle: “My secret Santa has tidied up the room and I’m going to take him with me in my skiing holiday, so that he can watch out for me.”

When the children were drawing name cards to determine the participant to whom they would be giving their Secret Santa gifts, Lea tweeted with a feigned voice: “No, no, I’m for Bärbel, I want Bärbel to be my secret Santa.” Two days earlier Bärbel had declared that she wanted to draw a green Secret Santa card.

In February, that is two months after our Advent festivities, a child asks: “Where does all the snow come from?” Lea answers: “Well, my secret Santa turned on the snow machine last Friday, and then, somehow, the snow was everywhere.”

If Lea finds something interesting, she will memorise it well and process the information:

During one of our children’s conferences we played the play-along story “The Grim King”. Lea observed this with great interest. The next week she not only spoke along, in the exact wording, but she even changed one of the moves in a way that really made sense.

When Lea tells us about a theatre play she has seen, she not only gives an intelligible account of the plot but frequently she will even impersonate one of the characters and thereby interpret it.

Personality development

Lea is an intelligent, alert and cheerful child with a lot of fantastic ideas. She knows what she wants, she is self-confident and in many areas she manages to get her way with regard to her needs and ideas. She is critical of adults. If she doesn’t get what she thinks is the degree of attention she deserves, she may decide to “punish” them:

For her 4th birthday it is Lea’s wish that a disco event be organised. She has exact ideas as to the programme. Asked which kindergarten teacher she wants to help her with this, she replies: “I want Beatrice to take care of it with me!” In saying so she is looking straight into her primary kindergarten teacher’s (Barbara’s) face, giving her a fat smirk. Upon checking this with Barbara, she tells me: “I haven’t been having a whole lot of time for Lea lately. I guess, I’m being punished.”


Pepe at the Window by the Cherry Tree


Lea loves books, stories and theatre plays. Here she often gets excited about the little things, that might not mean anything to other children. After having seen the theatre play “Petterson and Findus”, she describes exactly how the cat was tiptoeing and acts it out with great joy. She also gets a great kick out of her own stories. Giggling, she claims: “Pepe is my budgie and I let him sleep in my bed under my blanket.”

Lea is very well developed in all areas. She is self-reliant, disposes of appropriate social behaviour and has good gross and fine motor skills.

Lea’s outstanding talents are in the domains of speech and acting. Furthermore she is creative and comes up with extraordinary ideas, such as drawing speaking doors, which she decorates with letters and hieroglyphics.


In my opinion Lea is an exceptional child with extraordinary talents. With reference to Gardner’s “multiple intelligences”, it becomes apparent that Lea disposes of verbal-linguistic, intra- and interpersonal intelligence. In addition she shows tendencies of bodily-kinaesthetic and naturalistic intelligence, expressed by excellent exteroception and motor skills on the one hand and advanced observational abilities on the other.


Date of Publication in German: 2009, September
Translation: Arno Zucknick
Copyright © Hanna Vock, siehe Impressum