by Doris Lenz


The following story was made up by two girls together. Emma, my observation child in the IHVO Certificate Course, is now 4;11. Her friend Maike is 5;9.

You can read more about Emma here:

Emma’s Fortes

Project: Building a Flower Bed 

The story

A Christmas story.

Thomas wants a doll for Christmas. He thought he wouldn’t get it because his mum said he wouldn’t get a doll and he was very sad.
Thomas looks out of the window. A shooting star might fall from the sky. Lots of them fall and that’s why he wishes for the doll with all his heart.

Thomas goes to sleep. The next morning it is Christmas. Thomas looked inside a present. At first he thought there was no doll in it, but there was and he was very happy.

His friend Lilli comes to visit. They play together. Lilli throws the doll on the floor. They both want to pick up the doll and pull on the arms. The new doll’s arm breaks off. Thomas is in a bad way.

Then Mummy came into the nursery and scolded Thomas.
Mummy said, „Why did you break the beautiful doll from Christmas like that?“

Thomas told his mum: „It wasn’t me. My friend threw it on the floor. And then I wanted to pick it up, but then she snatched it out of my hand and then the arm broke off because she pulled on it so hard.“

Mum says, „The friend lives next door and we’ll bring her over in a minute.“
Then mum glued the doll back together with superglue.

Thomas said: „There’s still glue coming out of that side.“
Mummy said: „Oh, I’ll have to wipe that off quickly with a wet wipe.“

Because Mummy had glued the doll again, Thomas was very happy and gave Mummy a flower that he had tinkered.
Then mummy was very, very happy and if they didn’t die, they are still alive today.“

…in brief …

Emma (4;11) shows an amazing talent not only to think up a story together with her friend – she turns it into a little play with ease, keeping the flow of the story, the slight insecurity of her fellow actors and everything technical (venue, props) firmly in mind and playing the main role well herself.

She really thinks and acts like a director.

How does the story become a theatre play?

After Emma and Maike have told me the story, I ask Emma if she would like to play the story. She’s hooked and immediately gushes: „But we still need someone to play the part. I could ask Fee. I would like to play Thomas, and you, Maike, can play the mother. Fee will be the girlfriend.“ I point out to her that she should definitely ask Fee (5;0).

Props, stage and co.

I ask them what they need to act out the story. Together they think about what they need. I mention that in theatre we talk about props. It is important to me that Emma and Maike get to know new terms that are connected to the theatre world.
„A fir tree, because it’s Christmas, and a puppet,“ Emma says. Maike mentions the shooting stars. „And we need the flower for the mother“, she says. „We mustn’t forget glue“, Emma adds.

I point out our fir tree in the hallway. „We can play there,“ Emma says. Maike agrees and says that they could tinker the shooting stars and the flower. Emma immediately takes up this idea and they both go to the craft table in their group, get some paper and start drawing.

Suddenly Emma stops and asks, „What do shooting stars look like?“ Maike draws on a star with a tail.
„Oh, I see,“ says Emma and both children draw their shooting stars and then cut them out. Maike draws the flower on a piece of paper, which she then cuts out as well.

After they have both finished, Emma asks her friend Fee if she would like to play along.

After Emma explains to her what the game is about, Fee agrees.
We arrange to meet the next day for a „theatre rehearsal.“


In the morning I meet with the three „actresses“ in the hallway. Together we consider (with me giving minimal impulses) where the individual „scenes“ should take place. Here Emma is again in her element and takes over the direction.

Scene 1
Emma immediately has concrete ideas and chooses the corner of the sofa in the hallway. This is to be Thomas‘ room. „Thomas“, played by Emma, is in his „room“. Emma unceremoniously converts a higher shelf into a window. Emma climbs onto a small chair and looks over this shelf into the „sky“.

In front of it, the children place a partition covered with yellow fabric. Fairy is supposed to hide behind it. She is supposed to throw the „shooting stars“ over the screen at the appropriate moment.

While „Thomas“ (played by Emma) is in his room, the mother sits at a table not far from „Thomas‘ room“. I ask the children if the mother might have something to do at the table, to which Maike replies that the mother might be folding laundry. (Our kitchen worker often sits at the same table and does exactly the same work there). I send her to the kitchen to get towels from Brigitte (our kitchen worker). Maike sits down at the table and folds the towels she has fetched.
Emma gives further stage directions about the sequence of events. „I (so in her role as Thomas) then lie down on the sofa to sleep and the mother (played by Maike) comes and kisses me goodnight,“ she explains to the other two girls. „We still need Lilli’s home, she can live on the climbing frame,“ she adds, and Fee immediately goes there too.

The missing props are also gathered. Here I help with the torn arm. Since the doll has movable arms, partly made of fabric, I show Emma how she can best hide the arm so that everyone thinks it is broken off. Emma wraps the doll in crepe paper as a present and puts it under the Christmas tree.

Scene 2
In this scene, „Thomas“ wakes up and goes to the Christmas tree, which is not far from the table. As he does so, Emma says, „First I’ll look at the tags and then I’ll look at the present and open it.“
I find it interesting how she achieves an arc of tension for the audience in this way.

Maike and Fee don’t comment on „directing“ at this point, but they are still on task, listening and watching attentively to what „director“ Emma is saying and doing.

After the present is opened, „Thomas“ goes to „Mother“ and shows her the doll. „He“ is very happy about it. This is where Emma shows her skills in gestures and facial expressions.

While „mother“ and „son“ stand together, „friend Lilli“, played by Fee, is supposed to ring the doorbell. „Thomas“ opens the door and the friends go into the „children’s room“.
Again, Emma has a big part in directing. In the „children’s room“ both children play with the doll. According to the story, it falls to the floor. When they try to pick it up again, disaster strikes and one of the doll’s arms snaps off.

Emma in her role as Thomas plays a wonderful „crying fit“ until the „mother“ appears. Maike is not yet so firm in her role textually, but immediately receives support from Emma, who is able to spontaneously translate the sequences into dialogue so that the situation is clarified.

The „mother“ brings „friend Lilli“ home.
After „friend Lilli“ has been brought „home“, „mother“ and „son“ remain on site. The „mother“ repairs the doll and as a thank you „Thomas“ gives her a flower.

The rehearsal went very well. I ask the children if there is anything they would like to change or do differently. But they are also satisfied. It is agreed to perform the little play the next day during the kindergarten plenary.


The three children prepare everything the next day and perform their play for all the children in the kindergarten.

It is remarkable with how much self-confidence Emma (4; 11) goes about her work. Maike (5; 9) seems a little unfocused now and then and Fee (5; 0) radiates an absolute calmness in her actions.

The other children listen and watch attentively and reward the three actors with a big round of applause.


Emma was highly motivated during the whole development phase from the story to the theatre play itself, had everything in view, organised and once again showed her leadership skills, her strong self-motivation and her creativity in the implementation. Emma’s talents came out very strongly here in particular. In contrast to her often overly complex ideas, which she often fails to implement and organise, this project was a successful and well-rounded affair.

Emma (4;11) and Maike (5;9) were equal partners in the development of the story, but Emma was clearly the leader in the implementation. Fee (5;0) played a lesser role, as she joined the group later and took on the role of an extra, without appearing bored.

My role as kindergarten teacher

I kept a very low profile so as not to disturb the children’s self-education process. Only rarely were small impulses necessary. It was a lot of fun for me to observe and accompany the independent action.


In two months, we will have the theme „Theatre“ in our entire kindergarten.
Here, Emma will certainly be involved again with full commitment and heart. There will certainly be a connection to her interest in „singing and making music“.

Nevertheless, I would also like to integrate the two points indicated in the interest questionnaire, „Thinking about questions“ and „Solving riddles“, into the work with Emma in the coming weeks. I also wish to revive the „Little Philosophers‘ Round“.


Date of publication in German: January 2015
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see Imprint