by Astrid Thönnes


Agneta (name changed) (5;7) knows all letters, she can write them and assemble them to form words, but she doesn’t like hearing anybody say “she can write”. She wants no talk about it at all.

I notice her immediate unease when the talk about being able to write comes up. She sometimes writes words on other children’s pictures when asked, but only if nobody makes any fuss about it.

Then one day a new colleague picks up Agneta’s picture, stunned, and comes walking across the room towards me saying out loud:

“My God, have you seen this, Agneta knows how to write!”

This devastates Agneta. It takes several conversations to settle Agneta’s irritation. My colleague apologises to her.

Agneta seeks to talk and says to me:

“You see, some people just react stupid.”

I reply that I’m sorry she can’t do all the writing and calculating at kindergarten, as much as she wants to. And that I don’t think it so bad when people act funny sometimes, I just think to myself:

“So what?!”

She thinks that’s funny and she’s relieved.

From there on we let her do difficult things, for example doing a large jigsaw puzzle. She also helps us figure out our monthly statistics. It is the naturalness which makes life easier for her. She happens to have far advanced skills which are useful for us all, and now she does show them. If a teacher has not time to do so, she does the reading out. Good for everybody.

Date of publication in German: December 8th, 2009
Translation: Arno Zucknick
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see Imprint.