by Ellen Görg


In the articles A 2-Years Old Girl Shows Signs of Giftedness (German version) and A Two and a Half Years Old Girl Solving Difficult Problems (German version), I already reported about little Isabel from my kindergarten group.

Isabel has already become familiar with the game „Heinevetters Trainer“, so far only with the simple variant. (Heinevetters Trainer – Kindergarten game – A game for pre-school recognition exercises at the age of 3-6 with automatic control.)
The aim is to identify objects from seven subject areas on 49 symbol panels and then assign them to the areas.

…in a nutshell…
Since Isabel continues to be enthusiastic about the game „Heinevetters Trainer“, the educator uses it to promote the little girl’s ever growing interest in numbers and counting and describes her observations.

Isabel is now 2;10 years old and continues to be very interested in „Heinevetters Trainer“.
But now that she has mastered the simplest game variant very well, she needs a new challenge.
Isabel shows – also in connection with the trainer game – great interest in numbers and begins to count. By playing with numbers I would like to further promote counting and their interest in numbers. These games should result above all from the everyday life in kindergarten, when dealing with everyday objects.

A new challenge for Isabel

What can I do to further develop Isabel’s interest in the Heinevetters Trainer?

I observe that Isabel is increasingly bored by the simple version of the game. She always finishes very quickly. When she plays with a small group, the pace of the other children is too slow. Then she breaks off her game or immediately puts in all the game material.

In order to show her more possibilities to try out, I would like to offer her the next more difficult game variant.
But my thoughts go even further: What if she finds the material boring and also needs new ideas in this respect? I’m looking for alternatives.

Since numbers are becoming increasingly important to Isabel, I’m looking for a combination: How can you combine familiar things like „Heinevetters Trainer“ with what interests you very much?
Perhaps another version is suitable, which our preschool children also use, the „Heinevetters Trainer – Eintrainer 1-5. 392 tasks for preschool form and quantity recording“. With this I want to give Isabel the opportunity to test herself. I want to give her more choices to satisfy her thirst for knowledge.

She took the next more difficult variation of the game by herself, but only looked at the original sheet. When I asked her: „Do you want to play this game together for once?“ she was immediately thrilled.

As before, I would like to proceed step by step and build on what she already knows.

On the first day I meet Isabel in the quiet room next door and ask her: „Today I want to play our game with you. Do you feel like it? If you want, you can play it alone or with me.“

Isabel is very happy that she can play with me again (especially just the two of us). Together we prepare the game. Isabel wants to play alone: „I can do it.“ She quickly assigns all 49 boards to the seven subject areas (vehicles, dishes, toys, clothing, tools, animals and furniture).

She attaches great importance to my recognition and praise for the correct allocation. Again and again she asks me: „Is that right, does it fit?“ – although she knows exactly that it is right. Because if a symbol is incorrectly assigned, it does not fit into the system. Isabel can therefore also check independently whether she has laid correctly or not. It takes her about ten minutes to complete the game – a great achievement. She is very concentrated and has a lot of fun; she often applauds herself and is happy.
Not even once does she ask for help.

The difficult provokes

When we put away the laying boards, their view already falls on the next leaf, the next more difficult variant. To be honest, I provoked this a little to make Isabel curious about it. It worked out. She looks at it with interest. I ask her: „Shall we lay the tablets with this sheet?“ She nods and says: „But not now, I want to go out.“

It remains to be mentioned that she also tried to count the boards in this game. By twelve, she can do it in the right order. She has a „hanger“ at six, then I count the seven, and immediately she counts on to twelve alone. I am very surprised, because so far she only ever counted to eight.
This child amazes me more and more.

On the second day we are alone again in the next room. Now it’s about the more difficult version of the trainer. I say: „Last time we played this game, you looked at this folio. Question: do we want to play this game together? The game is also more difficult, you have to look closely because the items look a little different.“ (In this game variant, the symbols on the game sheet are changed. They no longer exactly match the symbols on the laying boards. Good attention and concentration are necessary to recognize the corresponding symbols and to assign the boards correctly.

She wants to make it on her own

While I am still on my explanations, Isabel is already concentrating on the match sheet. I say, „Can you perceive the objects?“ It took some time. Again and again she looks at the playing sheet with the symbols on the laying boards. She doesn’t say a word. But I can see she’s making something up. Suddenly she starts to assign the boards to the pictures on the template. She’s not asking me to play.

I can see that it is a challenge for Isabel and that she finds it difficult at first. But she succeeds in assigning some symbols. When I asked her, „Why did you place this laying board on this picture,“ she explained to me which characteristics she used as a guide, for example for the duck on the head and beak. Again, she can assign the pictures she knows best – animals, toys, dishes.

Course administration’s comment:
She had to make an effort and was ready for it. She has grasped the principle and developed a system.

After about 15 minutes her concentration decreases and she doesn’t want to continue playing.

I’m surprised she didn’t ask me to play. Has she developed such an ambition to solve difficult tasks on her own?

Isabel wants to be with the other children. I praise her for how great she played the game and emphasize again that this game variation is much more difficult. That’s her affirmative. She doesn’t want to admit the game, it should stay that way. „Do you want to play later?“ – „Yes.“

No enthusiasm for small group work

Since I would also like to encourage interaction in a small group, I suggest: „We could also ask other children if they would like to play along. What do you mean?“ She says yes, but she doesn’t seem enthusiastic.
For me, the question arises: Why does Isabel want to play alone or just with me in such games, which are a challenge for her? On other occasions, role-playing or circle-playing, she also plays together with other children.

Course administration’s comment:
From you, she wants to learn something new.

I think even though Isabel is so young, she feels that I take her seriously, that I am there for her when she has questions or problems. Because my colleagues confirm to me that Isabel always comes to me first when she is busy. And I think she knows very well that if we do something together, she will get her money’s worth, there will be no boredom.

Course administration’s comment:
You answered that question well. But beware: On the second day we were bored after all. Basically you could have offered a new version faster, not after 15 minutes. Also the protection on the first day (Can she really?) was perhaps superfluous? You already knew she could. Why should she be dumber a few months later? It is difficult to understand the learning pace of gifted children. But at Isabel we advise you to have (even more) courage.

But I also experience it in certain situations where she adapts to the group (only externally?). For example, if we play a circle game in the gym, she is in the circle, but almost never participates, or participates only partially. That’s okay with me, because an invitation to play doesn’t help, she’s stubborn.

Isabel didn’t finish the game she started. I’ve offered it to her several times. She just stopped showing interest. After three days, with her permission, I was allowed to admit it.

Pre-school exercises for shape and quantity recording

Because Isabel is showing more and more interest in counting, I now want to offer her the „Heinevetters Trainer – Eintrainer 1-5. 392 tasks for pre-school shape and quantity recording“.
There are 49 laying boards, ten applications (ladybirds; ducks; chicks; mice; butterflies; apples; cherries; leaves; balloons and stars).
Each application has 5 panels, where the applications are shown from 1-5.

The quantity of objects must be recorded and correctly assigned. The objects are shown differently on the boards than on the picture – only the number of applications is correct.

In order not to overwhelm Isabel with the multitude of laying boards, I choose from the ten areas four: Balloons; chicks; stars and leaves.

At first only the laying boards are on the table. Tell Isabel to look at the boards and to name them. This is not difficult for her, she names all applications correctly. Next she has to count the objects – for example four balloons or three leaves. She’s in trouble with that. She usually counts down more: four sheets are shown and she counts to five or six.

I try to count with her, but she keeps counting. Is it still difficult for Isabel to count items correctly, even though she can count to twelve in the correct order?

But I still want to test whether she can enter the correct quantity for the laying boards and assign it to the image on the template. I’ll show her the game template and explain the principle. I leave it up to her which object she starts with.

Isabel immediately shows great interest and starts her job without me having to explain much to her. I am surprised that she can see at a glance the number of objects on the board and where the board belongs on the picture (recognition of similarities and differences – sorting thinking). I am fascinated by the speed with which Isabel assigns the boards – especially since more applications are shown on the template sheet, but Isabel has only a small number of laying boards. She is not distracted by the other pictures.

I can hardly believe it.

The number of ranges is sufficient for Isabel. She spends about 15 minutes and manages to assign all the laying boards. When she assigns the stars, she sings the lantern song „Sonne, Mond und Sterne“ (Sun, Moon and Stars). I find it remarkable that during her work, which requires a high concentration, she is also able to establish connections to other areas – as in this case to music. But at the moment many lantern songs are sung.

Course administration’s comment:
The fact that she starts singing spontaneously shows her good mood: excited, but not tense.

Isabel continues to signal great interest. She’s asking me to play it again. Furthermore, she shows no interest in playing in a small group. She’s about to tell me she wants to play with me alone.

Course administration’s comment:
She is a clever child and suspects that you (and she) would then be distracted and then she would not get her money’s worth.

Numbers in everyday life

In order to further promote her growing interest in numbers, I would like to give her the opportunity to practice on everyday things and to awaken more and more pleasure and curiosity in numbers throughout the day.
I want to give Isabel as much impetus as possible:
– by finger games and
– through number games with instruments (she is also musically very interested) and
– collecting acorns and chestnuts and
– with signs on our registration and deregistration board. (Explained in: A Two-Years Old Girl Shows Signs of Giftedness (German version).)

There are countless ways to teach children mathematics / numbers in everyday life.

(Instructor’s note: See also the manual contributions in chapter 4.4.1.)

In any case, I want to ensure that I always make Isabel offers according to her needs, where she gets new challenges.

My most important goal is not to underchallenge Isabel.

Because I am convinced that she has an above-average talent.

Course administration’s comment:
In the first two reports on Isabel, you were more afraid of overtaxing her!

We count when setting the table and making music

How many plates do we need at this table? We count the chairs, because every chair at the table comes with a plate. We count together: six chairs. „How many chairs are at the table? Isabel, please count it again.“ It still happens that they are miscounted by one or two. But it is not dramatized. We try it again and again on suitable occasions. There are six chairs at the table, so we need six plates. Together we put the plates on the table and count if there really are six plates.

Course administration’s comment:
You have closely observed and seen that she can intuitively capture small quantities, but not yet count them safely. And that’s where you challenge and encourage her.

We make music in a small group and Isabel enjoys it very much. Before we play with instruments, we have to hear how they sound – the tonewoods, for example. „Look at me, I’m counting how often we beat with the tonewoods“ – and everyone participates. This is combined with loud, quiet, fast and slow striking of the tonewoods. Isabel is very concentrated, watching my movements very closely.

These are just a few of the many situations in which I take the opportunity to count. It is important to me that I always offer this to several children who are interested and enjoy it. Isabel should also gather positive experiences in small groups and possibly also incorporate her good ideas.

Have I reached my goal?

Yes, although I had some doubts at first. When I introduced the more difficult game variant of the first „Heinevetters Trainer“, I noticed that interest in Isabel was waning and she didn’t want to finish the game.

What could be the reason for this? I think it wasn’t interesting enough for Isabel because she already knew the symbols and the process. She needed a new challenge in terms of materials and her new field of interest „counting/numbers“.

Since she showed interest at the beginning, but noticed during the game that she knew the principle of the game, her interest simply waned. I suspect that she wanted to signal me: „Give me new, more interesting impulses that meet my needs.“

Could this also be aversion against routine tasks and repetitions?
(Instructor’s note This characteristic is also listed in the references to a possible intellectual giftedness: Aversion and Even Unwillingness to Perform Routine and Repetitive Assignments in: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness.)

With the offer of the new „Heinevetters Trainer“ for preschool design and quantity recording, I was able to meet her needs. I didn’t expect Isabel to react like that: With what speed she has grasped the principle of the new trainer and assigned all symbols correctly! I’m still very surprised. This brings me ever closer to my assumption that Isabel has an above-average talent.

Course administration’s comment:
Giftedness is not a small deviation from the average, but a really big one. It’s great how Isabel can show you that.

Since I have reduced the number of laying boards of the new trainer in order not to overwhelm Isabel with the multitude of laying boards, I will increase the number of laying boards in the near future, together with her. Isabel is to decide for itself on the number of laying boards.

Furthermore I would like to offer the game in a small group. Because I hope Isabel will have a positive experience for herself, that the interaction with other children is a lot of fun and that one can also learn something new.

And so it went on with Isabel:

Isabel (3:3) Learns to Play „Halli Galli“ (German version)

Isabel (3;8) Finds Adequate Playfellows for Number Games


Date of publication in German: June 2015
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.