All children’s names have been changed.

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness

Example, anonymous, from the notes of a mother:

Iris wants to become a drummer and marry a saxophonist. (Iris´ Papa is a musician.) Three months later she wants to become a pediatrician, finally a helicopter doctor and play drums in the evening. (But only after we had convinced her that you can make music as a doctor.) (3;4 years.)

„I can’t lift myself up.“ (3;6 years.)

„Mama, when you were little, did you have a mama then and was I still with you as a baby in your stomach?“ I explain to her that little girls don’t have babies yet. „When do you have babies in your stomach?“ (3;4 years.) A month later the second sex education follows. „How do the babies actually get into the stomach?“ Five minutes later: „And where do people actually come from?“

Date of publication: May, 2021

Example Related by Jordis Overödder, Kürten

Together with a little group of children I am working on the topic wasps (see: Adrian Studies Nature’s Creeps– German version).

Mara (5;9) disappears to spend quite a while in our workshop, she makes a wasp trap from some cardboard cartons, toilet rolls and plastic. The trap has windows so that you can look inside. The flap at the end of the tube, through which the wasps are to enter the trap, will only open inwards. Mara fills the trap with apples and positions it outside on the windowsill. It works!

Published in German: September 2015

Example by Lucy Rüttgers, Cologne:

A girl (3;5) in my group points at her feet and says: “I have the same shoes like you. Just yours are a different colour and size.”

Published in German: July 2012

Example by Alexa Kreitlow, Kürten:

The words of a girl (3;1):
“How come plants don’t have to pee, even though they drink all that water?”
“Where was I when mom was still in grandma’s belly?”

She wants to know what is going to happen to her parents when they are dead, where they go and what they do there.
She does not want to die yet, because then she would not be able to play with her toys any more.

Published in German: March 2012

Example by Christa Liethen, Rheinbreitbach

Upon the question „What do you want to be when you grow up?” Ben (5;9) answered spontaneously: „I want to be an astronaut or a fire fighter.“ Then, after thinking about it for a bit, he said: „Maybe fire fighter, just to be on the safe side.“ I asked: “What do you mean ‘to be on the safe side’?” He answered: “Actually I’d rather be an astronaut, but there’s a problem with that.” I enquired: “What? I don’t understand.” He responded: „I know how to get to the moon. I’ve seen the rocket launches, that’s easy. But I don’t know how to get back. On the moon I would be all by myself, and I don’t know how to fly from the moon to the earth, and that’s just too dangerous for me.” Ben is carefully considering risks and he doesn’t want to decide on his career before all uncertainties have been cleared.
Published in German: February 2012

Example by Renate Ashraf, Koblenz

Jonas (4;3) is sitting in the corner of the sofa rocking back and forth and making hissing sounds. Every once in a while he stops to watch what’s going on in the group. He gets up and takes a few small steps forward, then back again and slumps back onto the sofa. All the time he is puffing and blowing. He repeats the whole procedure several times, his face all red from all the heavy breathing.

I sit down next to him and start imitating him. He asks me whether I, too, find it hard to keep my hot-air generator going. I answer that I don’t really know how to operate it. Then he explains to me: “You suck in the cold air through your nose, in your head it gets warmed up. In your air tube it warms up even more and in your stomach it’s finally hot. Then you can begin to move. The hot air can come back out through your mouth.”
Upon my question what this generator is needed for, he explains: “For generating electricity, of course.” Another child comes by and they walk off to play something.

Published in German: February 2012

Example by Petra Cohnen, Herzogenrath

Ergün (3;10) is our group’s representative in our children’s parliament.

He is quite interested in all topics and many of his ideas are seized by the other children. Currently he is all over the topic “reconstruction/renovation” in our kindergarten which makes it an issue in parliament.

It was Ergün’s idea to put the blueprint on display in the “big corridor”. In children’s parliament he discussed it with the other children that the construction work had to be observed closely. And he had concrete ideas how this could be done.

So he keeps going to the spots where the work is being done at the time and observes everything, talks to the construction workers to get explanations and then carries his insights into the children’s parliament and into our group.

Published in German: February 2012

Beate Kroeger-Müller, Bonn

Jonas, 4;6 yeas old, is all absorbed by the pre-school group’s project “The Journey to Ancient Egypt”. He has visited the Tutankhamun exhibition four times with kindergarten and twice with his parents and his older brother.

Jonas is especially interested in the gold mask and the gemstones on it. Also the coffin lid, with Tutankhamun and his regalia, the sceptre and the scourge, fascinate him extraordinarily. Over the last weeks he has acquired a great deal of factual knowledge, which can be observed easily in role playing games and during free playing time.

Today he is King Tut again (he is wearing the cobalt blue cape with a golden lining) and he is asking for gold paper for making himself an Upper-Egyptian sceptre and crown, since the Lower-Egyptian crown he had already made together with his mother two weeks ago. Jonas is working skilfully and persistently. After 50 minutes of work he gives me a cue to sit down next to him.

I say: “Great, how you manage to make it look real.”

Jonas: “Yes, but it’s going to be much more beautiful with the emerald in the middle. But wait, have you seen my sceptre? I can keep all my enemies off of me with it.”

Jonas is waving it in my face.

I say: “That sceptre is scaring me. Who are those enemies it is supposed to defend you against?”

Jonas: “Well, every time the others are bothering me or when they are getting too close. Or when they’re so loud or this guy … with the pee-pants, I really can’t stand that smell. Sometimes the big ones tell lies, stories that aren’t true at all – and then I take my sceptre and say really loud >Stop it, already, because I’m the Pharaoh and that’s an order!<“

I say: “As Tut you can have it your way easily with your sceptre and your crown, any which way you want – and does that always work?”

Jonas: “Sometimes yes, but actually … not really. Everybody else can’t really play Egypt and Pharaoh with me – they don’t know enough about it – and I don’t really like that, just to play stupid stuff – but then I have nobody to play with at all.”

I say: “That’s even boring for a Pharaoh.”

Jonas: “Yes, that’s true. But Irina knows a lot about Tutankhamun and she also wants to be my wife Ankhesenamun and help me reign. But in any case I’m stronger than Irina!”

I say: “I understand. You, Tutankhamun, – the youngest Pharaoh of Egypt – like to be strong, yet, you don’t want to be alone. You want to have the say and dictate everything that happens in your kingdom. You like it when it’s not too loud, when nobody gets too close or bothers you. You don’t want to listen to lies and you don’t want any odours around. Is that all, or did I forget something?”

Jonas: “Yes, you did, – I want you to be my adviser!”

“Thank you Jonas.”

Published in German: February 2012

Example from a family (anonymous)

We wanted to sing some children’s songs with Egon (3;2). But Egon didn’t want to sing the songs, he wanted to put on the CD with those children’s songs instead – and tried to convince us that this was a good idea.
Egon (enthusiastically): “That way you don’t have to be singing yourself, the singing-workers do it for you.”
Published in German: January 2012

Example from a family (anonymous)

Pete (3;11) has been pondering over the question what profession to choose on several occasions lately. At first he wanted to operate an excavator, next came pilot and then fire fighter. Presently it is journalism that tickles him most.

The other day, all by himself, he raised the question:
“What can I do if I want to work something different one day, can I just choose another job ((profession))?”
Published in German: December 2011

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

Felizitas (name changed) (7;0) explains to her family at the dinner table: “I want to live forever.” Her little sister Elizabeth replies: “But then we are all going to die and you’re going to be all alone here in the apartment.”

Here an early ability to conceive of the future is displayed.

See also: Thinking Capability.

Elisabeth at the age of 3;3, having seen the “Sandmännchen” [sandman] on TV, asks about the ‚sandman‘: „Mom, how does the dreamsand get through the screen of the TV-set?“ [In the German TV version of the sandman he will at the end of each sequel throw dreamsand towards the viewers in order to make them sleepy.]

Elisabeth, at the age of 3;10, witnesses her mother play Santa Claus at a Christmas festivity at a local neighbourhood association. Afterwards she tells her mother that she had still recognized her inspite of the (altered) voice and asks whether on Christmas Eve

the real Santa would come to their house or whether it would only be a fake Santa, like that day.

Example from a family, anonymous

Kilian, 6, was working with my typewriter. He had to wait in the office until I was finished with my work. It seemed to me, he was not so much concerned about the beauty of the outcome, but he was rather checking the functions of the typewriter.

Date of publication in German: March to 2011

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

Evelin surprised me at the age of 3;5 with an utterance which for three-year-olds is rather unusual. I had read the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” to Evelin and three other three years old girls. Evelin had not known this particular fairy tale before, which I checked with her mother. Evelin’s comment at the end of the fairy tale: “But why do the children go back to their father, there’s nothing to eat there. They could stay at the witch’s house, now that the witch is dead. … After all, the father was bad.”

With this comment Evelin shows not only that she fully understood the contents of the tale at first hearing. She also displays an astonishing degree of independent and flexible thinking for a three-year-old. She is able to go beyond the story as told and have her own deliberations about it, which even contradict the original meaning of the story. In addition her questions imply the concept that children are capable of independent decisions: Hansel and Gretel are not to abide to the traditionally expected (going back home) but to do the unconventional and logically consequent, namely stay where there is food and no bad grown-ups being up to no good. Evelin judges the father’s actions as clearly bad or even evil. Upon my enquiry “Why do you think the father is bad?” she answers “Because he left the children alone in the forest. He could have said to the mother: No, we can’t do that.”

Evelin’s cognitive and language skills not only enabled her to fully grasp the story but also to precisely express her own thoughts about it.

Compare this to a conversation about the fairy tale one week later:

The other three-year-olds (with average cognitive and language skills) answer the following questions:

Teacher: “What kind of animal does the witch have?”

Child #1: “A cat.”

Child #2: “And birds.”

Teacher: “What do the birds do?”

Child #2: “They’re with the witch.”

Teacher: “And do they also eat something?”

Child #2: “No. Yes! They eat worms.“

Teacher asking child #3: „What do you think, do they eat anything else in the story?”

Child #3: “Yes.”

Teacher: “And what is that?”

Child #3: “Don’t know.”

Evelin: “They pick up the bread crumbs, that’s why the children can’t find their way home. Because the crumbs aren’t there any more. The birds ate them all.”

Date of publication in German: October 30 th , 2008

Example by Margrit Bernsmann, Köln

A kindergarten teacher, who is a native speaker of English, conducts some activities at tour kindergarten. Marcus (5;5) (name changed) is always very interested and always attends.

One day the talk is of the English names for body parts. Marcus points to his eyes and says: “These are my eyes [continues in German:] and in German I can eat that.” [The English ‘eye’ and the German word for ‘egg’ sound exactly the same]
Marcus is drawing English soldiers, all grouped in pairs, and makes the statement [in German]: “The Queen has one million soldiers, at least. The number must be even, so that there’s always two who can walk together.”
Neanderthal man is of great interest to Marcus. For days after a visit to the Neanderthal museum he keeps talking about what he has seen and implements his knowledge in many playing situations and when building something. As there are no special interest books on the topic at the kindergarten he brings books from the library and from home. At the “English Club” he asks the question: “Were there Neanderthal men in England?” This question has not been answered yet [in this group] …
At lunch Marcus notices that there is steam rising from the potatoes in the bowl. Wondering about the reason for this he begins to reason: ‘Water evaporates at great heat, so this will be the water from inside the potatoes’, he gives himself the answer.
Date of publication in German: October 30 th , 2008

Examples by Hanna Vock, Bonn

A boy who already reads whole books, 5;9 years old, tells his mother after his first day at school:

“We coloured one sheet and learned the [letter] ‘O’ … tomorrow we’re supposed to colour another sheet and find words starting with an ‘O’. I told Ms S.: Yes, thanks, I’ll resign then.“

Another 5 years old boy appears at his mother’s bedside in the middle of the night and wakes her up to ask her: „How can the temperature of the sun be measured if the sun is so hot that it’ll burn everything up right away?!”

A three and a half years old girl is happy on her first day of kindergarten: “That’s easy to remember: that my sign is a sailing ship – it’s got my name written next to it.”

Date of publication in German: October 30 th, 2008


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