All children’s names have been changed.

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness

Example by Silvia Reichel, Remscheid

In her first year at kindergarten Nayla (3;3 – 4;3) observed quite carefully what was going on in the group. When a conflict broke out she immediately interrupted her current playing activity, jumped up to go and stand right next by the scene and watch what was going to happen. She would do the same thing when it was one of us kindergarten teachers admonishing a child (for example: “Benjamin, you ought to clear these things away before you go outside.”) – within no time she would stand by and watch how that child reacted, whether it went about putting things back or not, and of course, our subsequent reactions didn’t evade her either.

She was on a daily quest not to miss out on any goings-on in the group room – and she sure didn’t. When thinking back of her early days here, I would say, she virtually ‘studied’ every single child. Today she knows for sure, just what makes each child “tick” and how it will react. This is, of course, very helpful when she tries to push an issue in the group: She knows exactly how to address an issue with any given child so that they “obey” her.

The first thing she seized control of was our dolly corner. What’s more, she not only gets the children she is familiar with to support her opinions, but she even easily persuades children she is barely aquainted with to follow and support her. Recently this led to a situation where Nayla actually managed to obstruct a guided group activity: She got 12 children to refuse to sing along when a new song was to be introduced. It must be noted, that this was a randomly assembled group of children, far from consisting only of her closer friends. Still my colleague eventually found herself singing alone. And no matter what she did, she couldn’t get the children to sing along. Not until she had Nayla leave the room, she was able to introduce the song.

It must be emphasized that Nayla disposes of a rare inner strength. Since she only has to worry about us teachers in order to seize control over the entire group, there are many situations in which she is testing us and we find ourselves having to stand up to her. And it is actually me, a trained pedagogue, who needs to straighten his posture, think a few seconds and remind myself that it is me who has the say in this room, not this 5 years old girl, when she starts arguing. (Her mother had mentioned a similar situation at home – this was a year ago).

Date of publication in German: 2011, December

Example by Anke Cadoni, Mechernich

I asked three children to tidy up the dolly corner, as I knew the three had been playing there. Jonas (4;1), however, I had not mentioned! He came up shortly after and said to me: “I played here, too, I have to tidy up, too!” This shows a remarkable social competence and emotional maturity.

Jonas also disposes of a strong sense of justice. I believe he would have felt rather uneasy about it if he hadn’t come to help in this situation. He is rather sensitive and irritable especially when it comes to criticism. Possibly he himself is – as many gifted are – his most critical critic; that means, he knows and understands immediately if he hasn’t succeded in something, if something didn’t work out and he didn’t manage it. His own failures hit him very hard. So when somebody else on top of this criticizes him he gets hit twice as hard, because for him it is as if other person thought that he, Jonas, wasn’t aware of his failure and he wasn’t regretting this already.

(That is what has been observed in gifted children. Whether or not this is the case with Jonas we can only guess.)

Date of publication in German: 2011, December

Example by Inge Förster, Aachen

Felix (4;8) perceives his surroundings rather attentively and in great detail. He immediately notices the slightest change in the rooms of our kindergarten: “You have tidied up your desk…”, or outside: “There is a new plant on the shelf with the herbs, when did you plant it?” …, or with people: “… is wearing a new pair of jeans …” and so on.

He also likes to reflect on the way other children play and ponders their motives. His own feelings and moods and also those of the other children are recognized and named quickly: “… doesn’t want to play any more, because he doesn’t like playing the cat all the time. He’d rather play the father and boss everybody around…”

Date of publication in German: September 11th, 2009

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness