by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey
My observation child during my IHVO Certificate Course was Lina. Besides several other strengths that I could recognise in Lina, I was always struck by her pedagogical talent.
Here are two observations. Lina was 5;8 years old at the time.
Lina plays in the doll corner with Merve (4;8), a Turkish girl, and with Lennert (3;9). They are playing family. Lina asks Merve, „Where is our child?“ Merve explains, „The child is sick and must be in bed.“ Lina: „What’s wrong with the child?“ Merve answers again, „The child is sick.“ (She does not yet have such a large vocabulary in German, which is not her mother tongue).
Lina is not satisfied with the answer and now asks differently: „What’s wrong with it? Does it have a fever, measles or a cough?“ Now Merve understands Lina’s question and answers: „Cough and fever“. Lennert listens with interest, keeps looking at the speaker, but does not speak up.
Lina now wants to make the game more exciting by asking more questions, but she doesn’t find a partner in Merve. It is obviously too exhausting for Merve to talk to Lina and she wants to leave the dolls‘ corner.
Lina walks behind her and says, „Don’t you want to play any more?“ Merve replies, „Yes.“ Lina tells Merve, „You have to let me know if you don’t want to play anymore.“ Merve turns around, goes back to the doll’s corner and starts putting the doll’s dishes away. Lina explains to Merve, „You don’t have to put anything away, me and Lennert are still playing.“
Merve is a little irritated and wants to continue cleaning up. Lina goes straight to her and explains again, „You don’t have to clean up, Lennert and I are still playing.“ Merve leaves the dolls‘ corner.
Lina continues playing and tells Lennert that the child needs to be changed. She takes the doll off, Lennert watches, takes the rompers and puts them away. He doesn’t say anything, just looks at what Lina is doing and takes over the helping tasks. Lina holds the baby in her arms, goes to the cupboard, takes out a new pair of rompers and puts the doll back on.
Lennert suddenly starts to tidy up. He throws cushions and a blanket into a corner and wants to leave the doll’s corner without a word. Lina doesn’t notice because she is still busy with the doll.
When I ask Lennert to tidy up properly, he takes the blanket and says, „I can’t do it.“ Lina immediately comes to his rescue. She takes two corners of the blanket in her hands and tells Lennert, „Take two corners in your hand like me.“ At the same time she raises both her hands so that Lennert can see what she means. He looks for the corners and tries to hold them like Lina. Lina asks him to stop, walks towards him and takes the blanket from him.
Lennert looks at Lina, who finishes folding the blanket on her own and continues to explain to him what to do. She says: „You always have to put the corners on top of each other until the blanket is small enough. Lennert watches her and nods his head again and again. Lina seems satisfied and together they continue to tidy up the doll’s corner in silence.
– Lina likes to play with younger children and tries to respond to their play ideas, for example, she picks up the „sick“ doll and asks about the illness.
– She notices when she is not immediately understood and then knows how to ask.
– She does not press the children if they do not respond to her play.
– She is good at explaining.
Lina (5;8) has threaded and knotted a string of beads. Now she is finished and looks around.
She goes to Kwame (4;2) who is doing a number matching game on the floor. There are number cards from 1 to 10 in a row and underneath there are picture cards showing, for example, a pearl or a domino or a small ball of wool.
The task now is to look for the things in the group room in the corresponding number and to assign them.
Lina watches Kwame. She notices that he can’t get any further with the number 7 on his own. She goes closer to him and tells Kwame the number. Kwame wants to show the number 7 with his fingers, but only shows six fingers.
Kwame comes from a West African country and still has problems with the German language. I find it amazing how Lina adapts to this:
She points to the number 1 with her right hand, then to the symbol card underneath, a pearl, then she holds up one finger of her left hand. She continues doing this with all the number and symbol cards until she reaches 7.
At each number she says to Kwame, „This is like this and this is like that.“ Kwame listens and watches carefully to Lina’s demonstration and imitates it.
The symbol that is on the number 7 is a domino. Kwame goes off to get the dominoes. He counts up to the number 7, but only takes four dominoes and goes back to the cards. Lina has accompanied Kwame to the dominoes and has followed closely with her eyes and ears what he has done.
She brings three extra dominoes to Kwame and says, „You are still missing these three dominoes.“
Kwame accepts them and notices that there are no white dots on one domino. Lina notices his uncertainty and says, „It only has to be one domino – even if there are no white dots on it, that’s right.“ Kwame looks at Lina and nods.
Lina now looks expectantly at Kwame, wondering what he will do now for the next number. He looks at the number 8, and it is not quite clear if he knows this number yet. Lina waits until Kwame looks at her questioningly. She explains, „That’s 8 and you have to get 8 little balls of wool.“
Kwame replies, „Yes. Where are they?“ Lina walks with him to the basket with the balls of wool and Kwame tries to count the balls. Lina tries to do the same, but she can’t count exactly because Kwame is holding the balls with his hands.
He goes back to the cards and Lina follows him. Kwame puts the balls to the card counting, but is not sure if it is right or not. Lina has watched him again, recognises his uncertainty and demonstrates to Kwame with her fingers how many balls he has taken.
He has six balls, she shows six fingers and says to him, „There are still two balls of wool missing.“ Kwame counts again with his own fingers. Lina nods and now walks away as my colleague calls out, „Who wants dessert?“
Again, Lina’s social skills are evident to me here.
– She immediately recognises that Kwame needs assistance, takes on the role of kindergarten teacher without being asked, and doesn’t get an teacher to help either.
– She approaches Kwame, is there for him and supports him in his play. She thinks for Kwame, but does not patronise or take over his tasks.
– She acts thoughtfully, speaks in simple sentences. (Kwame started speaking German only four months ago. Lina has witnessed this development and observed it well).
– But Lina also lets him continue on his own when she would rather eat dessert, so she also respects her own needs.
Read about Lina also:
Date of publication in German: 2013, March
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see imprint.