by Hanna Vock


The IHVO (Institut zur Förderung hoch begabter Vorschulkinder – Institute for the Advancement of Gifted Pre-School Children) was founded, because the situation for gifted and bright children in kindergarten needs to be improved.
This applies to some 15 per cent of an age group, which means about one out of seven children. In order to contribute to this improvement the IHVO offers further trainings for pedagogues and kindergarten staff.

All methodological considerations are centred around the Playing and Learning Needs of bright and gifted children – especially their emotional, social and cognitive needs.
A prime concern of the institute is to contribute to it that gifted children are identified early on and supported in kindergarten independently of the income and educational background of their parents.

In the further trainings of our institute pedagogues learn to support and advance adequately those children who dispose of the following characteristics to an extraordinary degree:

    • Joy in intellectual pursuits and in the recognition of correlations
    • Quick absorption and processing of information
    • Logical, complex, original and abstract thinking
    • Independent and creative problem solving
    • Great endurance when dealing with topics of interest
    • Craving for knowledge
    • Being interested in topics that go far beyond the interests of peers in age
    • Early ability to criticise

By focussing on the 3% of gifted children in our trainings, important insights in and expertise of the advancement of another 12% of bright children are conveyed along the way.

The institute offers introductory courses, in which the kindergarten teachers and teams can familiarise themselves with the topic. Principal pieces of information and a presentation of the basics of advancement of the gifted enable the participants to reconsider their own concepts and meet the needs of gifted children with greater sensitivity.

In comprehensive and in-depth trainings (IHVO-Certificate Course and Project Integrative Focus Kindergarten) participants compile a detailed and substantiated understanding of the playing and learning needs of gifted children. They develop new methodological competence for communication, integration and collaboration with parents in the field of advancement of the gifted. They come up with concepts for individualised and cognitively sophisticated support of gifted children.

By means of such advancement negative developments, which gifted children might otherwise experience at an early age, can be avoided. It is not at all inevitable that gifted children become aggressive or depressed from Permanent Frustration which results from frequent boredom and a feeling of not being understood. Neither is it inevitable that children resign early on and hide their talents, that they can ensure their well being only by adapting. It can be prevented that gifted children become loners and outsiders as the only means of staying true to themselves. This is where kindergarten has great potential of prevention.

The head of the institute, Hanna Vock, has initiated and conceptualised the very first certificate course throughout the whole of Germany. She conducted it from March of 2003 through March of 2005 – courtesy of the Imhoff Foundation Cologne. A Final Report was drafted. Until now (2012) 15 courses have been completed successfully.

In addition to its efforts in further trainings the institute also wants to contribute to the advancement of gifted children becoming a natural part of elementary pedagogics.

This also involves the transition from kindergarten to school. Some gifted children wish to enrol at school early, sometimes even very early. With new educational legislation there are growing possibilities for justifying individual cases of early enrolment. This process again calls for the expertise of the gifted child’s kindergarten teacher. A profound knowledge of the complex of problems around giftedness is needed to give a substantiated recommendation and to plead the case in front of parents and school officials.

Yet, early enrolment should only be one way of improving the learning situation for gifted children. An important starting point for improvement lies within kindergarten itself.

The institute aims to support a development, where inquisitive learning in kindergarten increasingly becomes an integral part of kindergarten pedagogics and will finally be on an equal footing with all other concepts in a realm of holistic advancement. This is about discovering, exploring, comprehending and figuring things out together; it’s about creative thinking and acting and about developing skills of communication and cooperation.

A greater emphasis on cognitive advancement also means that kindergarten teachers in our courses develop new expertise in actively supporting pre-school children in their endeavours to learn how to read, write and do arithmetic. The interest in these important and useful (learning-) tools is to be aroused and cultivated already in kindergarten.

The object is to enrich and permeate the curriculum at kindergarten with regard to cognitive aspects and to increasingly seize and appreciate the most creative ideas of children throughout their day in kindergarten.

It is important to individualise learning processes, even more so are positive group experiences for gifted children. For this they need companions of equal developmental state, that is children that are significantly older as well as gifted children of the same age. This is the only way they can repeatedly have the valuable experience that their oftentimes complex playing ideas can be realised successfully with other children and that the questions they are occupying themselves with can be discussed. This is where kindergartens are to come up with concepts for successful integration. Targeted further trainings can be helpful.

Last, not least, it is the aim of our work at the institute to gather the scattered valuable ideas and experiences of kindergarten teachers in their work with gifted children and to facilitate networks of commitment.

Bonn, June 2003, Hanna Vock.

Work Tasks of the Institute:

    • Further trainings for individual kindergarten teachers, kindergarten teams and elementary school teachers
    • IHVO Certificate Course “Advancement of Gifted Children in Pre-School”
    • IHVO-Project “Integrative Focus Kindergartens for the Advancement of Gifted Children”
    • Facilitation of exchange of experience among kindergartens and kindergarten teachers who (want to) support gifted children
    • Publication and continuous extension of the the Online Manual “Advancement of Gifted Children in Kindergarten”


Date of Publication in the German manual: 2012
Published on 2003
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.

The translation of this article was made possible by
Brigitte Gudat, Eschweiler, Germany.

VG Wort Zählmarke