Adventure Trip

by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey

The adventure journey is played in conjunction with a movement construction site.
Of course, there are no limits to the imagination; for example, if there is no football goal, something else will have to do.

„We are going on an adventure trip to the land of the strong girls, we say goodbye and goodbye to everyone“.
We shout and wave our scarves to them.

„Suddenly we are standing in front of a muddy meadow. It looks like other travellers have already crossed this meadow. They have stretched a rope; we can use that now, too, so as not to sink in the mud. It’s not so easy to balance on a rope, but we all manage.“
There is a rope attached to the ground on which we balance.

„We arrive safely in a small, very small cave.
We want to rest so badly, but unfortunately we can’t all sit or even lie down at the same time, we can only stand – and even that only if we unite and stand very close together.“
Everyone huddles together in the cave represented by a lying hamster wheel toy, covered with a blanket.

„In order for the journey to continue, everyone must complete a task: You can only leave this cave again if each of you has first thrown three stones out of it. These stones must be thrown into a small, distant pit, only then can the cave be left by everyone together.“
Balls must be thrown into a large play cone 1.5 metres away.

„Finally we have all completed the task and have left the cave. We have found a place that is protected by trees.“
The place is a soccer goal where everyone gathers.

„Unfortunately, the further way is also arduous, because it is stony and slippery, you can easily hurt yourself on sharp stones. Again, there are stones that have already been made passable by other people.
However, this steep mountain path can only be used if another task is completed. Fortunately, only three of us have to carry a heavy boulder along the way.“
The stones are carpet tiles, the boulders are balls.

„So the path that we strong girls have to overcome is full of difficulties. With a boulder in their arms, three travellers must now jump from boulder to boulder. This task is very risky and the muscles of arms and legs must be well trained.“
With a ball in their arms, three girls jump and put the balls down.

„The journey continues.
We are now standing on a mountain looking down into the depths. A raging river flows below, and only a very, very narrow footbridge leads across the water. Again we have to think: Do I dare to walk over it, or do I rather sit down and slide over – because we all have to cross…“.
Everyone overcomes the trestles and balance beams.

„And quickly we have to go on; on the other side of the gorge there is again little room to linger. But oh dear! A mountain has to be overcome, it goes steeply upwards.“
Everyone climbs over trestles and up a ladder.

„We are tired, exhausted and want to finally reach our destination. What do we see? A monster, a monster we have to fight.“
The first two girls have arrived at the monster (punching bag and boxing gloves) and are fighting.

„Suddenly we all become wide awake and cheer for our friends. We keep calling their names, and eventually the monster gets tired because we are strong and very skilled.
We hit the monster – and we girls are super fast, can spot the monster’s footsteps and dodge. The first two girls have reached the other side and the monster can’t hurt them anymore.
So all the girls have to fight their way past the monster.“
When everyone has made it:

„We have already overcome many things: the swamp, the cave, the gorge with the water, the mountain and now the monster. When will we finally reach our destination, the „Land of the Strong Girls“? We allow ourselves a little break, but now we have to clear rocks out of the way again.“
We shoot the ready balls into a goal.

„The path is clear, we see lights in the distance, but oh no, it’s a clearing. We have to lie down on the grass and crawl across it so that robbers and monsters don’t see us and cut us off.“
There is a rope stretched to crawl under.

„We have arrived at a beautiful meadow (big gym mat) and are very happy. We do somersaults and romp around on the meadow. This must be the land of the strong girls!
What do we see at one corner? A blanket hiding something. What do you think it is? Who is particularly brave and looks underneath?
We encourage each other. We have passed so many adventures, we feel and strong and are no longer afraid of new challenges. We decide to all pull the blanket away together.“
Piles of books come to light.

„Oh what’s this?
Books of various kinds! What is there to see in them?“

The children are glad to have a physical rest, but are still curious and immediately look at the books.

Back to: What Is a Power Girl?

 

Date of publication in German: 2013, April
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see imprint.

What Is a Power Girl?

by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey

 

As part of my IHVO Certificate Course, I realised an idea I had been carrying around for a while: I want to provide a new environment for the older girls to learn. They should gain experience of what it is like to be able to go on a discovery tour together with girls only.

This post describes some offers I made to the Power Girls´Club. If you follow the link, you can read about the framework, the objectives and the evaluation of the project. You will also find information about further club lessons and about my observation child Lina. (During the Certificate Course we had the task of observing a presumably particularly gifted child especially intensively).

In this article, the introduction and the first five club hours are presented.

Getting started, the 1st club hour

I invited the eight oldest girls of the kindergarten (5;0 to 5;9 years old) to the newly founded „Power Girl´s Club“; my observation child Lina (5;9) was one of them.

To get in the mood, we listen to a CD: „Komm mit, hau ab“ (Come on, get lost). It contains „songs for strong girls and boys“; it was published by Zartbitter e.V. Cologne.
Content: A girl tells a boy that she has a girl gang and that they can decide for themselves what they want.
I ask the children to move to the music and at the same time pay close attention to the lyrics of the song.

The girls immediately adopt the song about the girl gang as their song („because we are also a little girl gang and because we are also strong“).

Then we discuss the question:

„What is a power girl?“

Most girls initially associate being strong only with physical strength, e.g. „when you can kick“ or „when you can lift heavy things“. But mental strength also comes up, e.g. „when you don’t cry“. Here they may have Pippi Longstocking in mind, who is an important „heroine“ in our kindergarten. Lina also brings in the social aspect: „When you help other people to carry the heavy bag home.“

Then comes the question:

„Which part of your body do you find particularly important?“

Here are a few statements:
For Lina (5;9), the legs are important: „So I can go everywhere…“

Laura (5;3) finds her tongue particularly important: „So that I can talk.“

Elise (5;7) thinks her hands are most important: „So that I can do a lot.“

Melisa (5;5) says: „My eyes, so I can see everything.“

Afterwards we lie down on the gymnastics mats for a little meditation „What belongs to my body?“. I address the individual body parts one by one and ask the children to take the journey through the body with me and feel the body parts.

I start with the feet, move on to the legs, buttocks, stomach, chest-heart, hands, arms, neck, head. Then on and in the head: mouth, nose, ears, eyes and the brain.

Seven of the eight girls are very concentrated during the meditation, including Lina.

After the meditation, we exchange ideas about the most important parts of the body again. The statements have changed somewhat:

Lina: „The eyes. So I don’t have to walk around blind.“
For Laura, the mouth is still the most important: „So that I can talk, swallow and eat.“
For Elise, the eyes have become more important.
Melisa: „The whole body!“

The girls are then given a worksheet. It shows a body outline where the girls can mark which body parts they think are the most important.

Arbeitsblatt 1

Worksheet 1 (to print out).

While painting, Lina realises that other body parts are also very important: She paints the belly and also a red heart in the outline. Here, too, there is another exchange in conversation.

The question of why we have certain abilities at all and can think what we want or don’t want leads to a lively conversation about what power girls want and need.

So Elise and Laura want to have muscles and Ayşe a good heart. Lina says nothing more at first. When I then interject the question: „Where are these abilities controlled in humans, what is needed to think, feel, move and see?“ Lina says: „We need the brain to think and for everything.“

I then give the girls
Worksheet No. 2.
It shows a picture of a girl’s head with individual brain regions labelled in words and pictures.

I copied the worksheet and other sheets from the book: Joe Kaufman, Unser erstes Buch vom Körper (Our first book about the body), Verlag Ravensburger, page 57. I think this book is a classic. Unfortunately, it can only be bought second-hand, but it should be available in many kindergartens.

We look at the picture together, discuss what we see and recognise, scan our heads and try to locate where which area can be found. We assign areas of the brain to our abilities.

The next question:

 

„What all can I do with my body?“

The children give many answers: I can … run, jump, lie still, sit, listen, shout, sing, paint, clap, see, think, feel, tell.

„Which organ is absolutely necessary to be able to feel all my needs, to use and expand my abilities and to be able to realise my ideas?“

The answer that Lina finds – that one of our most important body parts is the brain, was also agreed upon by the other girls.
It is a fundamental insight for all further club hours.

Using the brain is something the „the power girls“ also recognise it as a great way to find out their interests and pursue them.

At the end, the group moves to the music „Danube Waltz“.

The 2nd club hour

A week has passed, the girls are looking forward to the club hour and are curious about what will take place.
We meet in the gym. When they discover the music system, all they want to do is dance and listen to the CD from the girl gang.

After a while we sit down in a circle and talk again about the second worksheet, the picture of the brain. Lina, Melisa and Laura have memorised the individual areas (for example smelling or balance) and their location very well. They feel their heads and the other girls do the same.

Today I want to ask the girls to consciously try out these areas, to use their bodies – with courage and self-confidence. First they choose the areas of „running and jumping“ and „balance“.

With enthusiasm they trample, jump, hop around, clap, tap their hands, blink their eyelids, sniff with their noses, try to wiggle their ears – and noticeably timidly use their voices.

It becomes clear that screaming is not used purposefully by these eight girls.

I then ask them to simply try out what sounds they can make with their bodies.

Now I can observe that it is obviously not very easy for girls to shout or even scream for no reason. Only when I myself start shouting and screaming loudly do they feel prompted to do it too.

Lina is on the whole rather reserved when trying things out. She watches the other girls very closely and only then starts her own attempts. She is cautious, but becomes more and more courageous and relaxed. After a while, her facial expression shows a smile, she moves faster, knocks on the floor and simply has fun doing it.

After a short rest, we exchange ideas in conversation about which parts of the body we humans can use to make sounds. The girls try to hear their eyes and ears, but they don’t succeed.

Now I introduce the idea of recording our sounds and noises on music cassette.

At this stage, the girls really come out of their shells and use everything they have tried before. When we listen to it, they are very enthusiastic, listen with heated heads to what we have recorded and seem pleased with themselves.

Tina and Laura express the wish to listen to the girls‘ CD again and dance while doing so. The other girls agree, so we end the club hour dancing again.

My experience from this club session is that I have to give the girls a lot of time and space to perceive themselves intensively physically if I want to achieve my further goals: strengthening their self-esteem, recognising what means they can use to get more support.

The 3rd club hour

This offer takes place in our gym, from 10 am to about 11.15 am.
Seven of the eight girls in the club are present (with Lina).

Game: „Out of Control“

In the gym I have spread out newspapers so that there is a big pile of newspapers. The girls get the task from me – before they enter the gym – to just look at what I have prepared for them and what they can think of.

To help them, I give them the questions:

What do I see?
What should I do with it?
What am I allowed to do with it?
What can I do with it?

They are curious about what they will find in the gymnasium, but none of them asks more intensively whether I explain more.

They cautiously enter the gym and look at the pile of newspapers. Tina slips a little on a newspaper, looks at me, I nod at her affirmatively and she now begins to slide on the newspaper deliberately. Elise takes a sheet of the newspapers and looks at the pictures. Melisa laughs and is unsure what she may, should or wants to do? Lina carefully walks up to the pile of newspapers and I nod to her too that it’s okay what she’s doing.

After about three minutes they get brave and run around on the newspapers, crumple them up, tear a sheet, laugh and shout to each other what else can be done with them. After about 15 minutes they throw the newspapers at each other and are already slightly heated and also relaxed.

Next I suggest: „We cover each girl who wants to with lots of newspapers – and then when we shout loudly or shout something, the girl jumps up and it’s the next girl’s turn.“ My suggestion of thea game is accepted, and with huge fun everyone comes forward one after the other.

Melisa, Laura, Elise and Tina come forward immediately and we have to decide the order. Then Ayşe immediately lies down on the mat. Greta and Lina wait the whole time. Now only the two of them are left, and I watch them: Who do you think is next?

Then Greta lies down on the mat and Lina says: „I want to too!“
This is the first time I’ve ever seen Lina not wait until the very end and come out on her own beforehand. Unfortunately, Greta is quicker, because she acts immediately and doesn’t just tell. Lina participates intensively in this game and is not as reserved as I have usually observed her.

We put the newspapers away together.

Exchange in conversation:

We sit down together and share what skills we needed to be able to play with the newspapers. They come up very quickly on

– eyes,
– hands,
– legs,
– the ability to think and
– the ability to think of something and then do it.

When asked what other physical requirements they needed, they answer with „muscles“, „bones“.

So now we can well move on to the joints.

Movement game:

We stand in a circle and are quite stiff because we have no joints.
Can we move?

We start with the elbow and the knee joint, and I explain what these joints are called. We try out in which directions we can move these joints.

With this form of play, we bring all our joints into the movement game one after the other, trying them out and feeling what makes us move and what our joints are called.

Worksheet 3: Skeleton

Then each girl gets a copy with a skeleton drawn on it. (I copied it from the book „My first book about the body“, page 20). We look at it and look for the individual joints that we got to know better in the movement game. We paint the joints with different colours to be able to match them, for example hinge joints (knee joint, elbow joint) are painted in the same colour.

Elise and Laura say that the picture is a bit scary, Lina just looks at it intently and listens. Then she is quiet and interested in her work. I notice that she understands the task immediately and can implement it. She finishes in a very short time.

We continue playing standing up, all the girls participate intensively, trying out and repeating the movements of the joints.

Worksheet 4: Joints

Another picture shows what the different joints look like, and we think together about where we recognise something like joints in our physical environment, for example in the door joint, in glasses, in a crane, in car gears.

Gescanntes Dokument

Finally, we try out our joints again with music and dance.
The club participants file away all the pictures and worksheets.

Worksheet no. 4 to print out.

 

 

 

 

Evaluation after 3 club hours:

Overall, the girls are very eager to learn and try out new things. One child, Lena, has always been absent due to illness or holidays.

Ayşe is overwhelmed in the group because she still has big language problems. I have to discuss a change of club with my colleagues. (There are always several clubs running in parallel in our kindergarten.)

Elise, Laura and Tina are also often together in private; they are lively, curious and eager to learn. Greta and Lina are the quiet children of the club.

Greta observes intensively and precisely, but she is not as confident as Lina, for example, she carries out tasks very precisely and does not have this confidence to make her own decisions as Lina does.

Lina often seems very sure and self-confident when she listens and summarises the points that are most important or self-evident to her. In those moments I am always amazed and delighted at what is still hidden in Lina. I still haven’t been able to identify a focus of interest, she is simply attentive to all topics and gets involved.

Next week, I will focus on the muscles, as the bones and joints alone cannot be used.

It is important for me – after the experiences of the first three club hours – to impart knowledge to the girls, to enable them to have experiences with their bodies and thus to support them positively in their self-esteem, their feelings, their courage but also their aggressions and thus to feel and develop further as a „power girl“.

The 4th club hour

In this session I would like to work on the muscles and their tasks with the girls.

Together we remember the last club session, what we were particularly interested in and what we learned about our joints.

The girls should get better and better at recognising what is important for being able to realise their own ideas. We have our brain, our senses, our skeleton – but do we have enough strength to be able to use all this?

Question:
Could we move if we were only made of our skeleton?

Melisa mentions very forcefully that the heart is important and everyone confirms her. However, they can agree that today we are only concerned with the joints and muscles, and of course with the brain that controls everything.

You receive worksheet no. 5 (copy from the above-mentioned book, page 26) and immediately try out some of the exercises presented.

We look together at what the gymnastics children can do and ask ourselves how this is possible.
On book pages 28/29 we can discover where we have muscles.

Movement game

In order to feel and consciously trace the use of muscles, we move freely to music and I ask them to also sing, shout or make other sounds with their voices.
All the girls are very active again, have a lot of fun, laugh and move around the whole room.

Now and then I stop the music and tell them a number, for example 3. Then they have to stop moving and touch the floor with exactly three parts of their body. They solve these tasks with enthusiasm.
Lina is very creative in this game. She is the only one who includes her head, buttocks and knees. She seems very relaxed and adopts the most curious postures.

In the subsequent conversation about which muscles we felt during which movements, she is also active and not as reserved as in the conversation offers before. She obviously feels very comfortable.

I specifically ask the girls about their faces: whether they also have muscles there and whether they felt them. What changed in their faces when they screamed or whispered?

In the book mentioned above, we look at the facial muscles on pages 30/31. Then we look intensively at each other’s faces and feel them with our hands.

Lina feels her own face, then quickly paints the muscles on the worksheet a little colourfully. This task doesn’t seem that interesting or exciting for her.

Then we sit down in the circle. We make faces, shout, sing and try to look funny, sad, angry or sour and can consciously observe the work of the facial muscles again.

This exercise is meant to train the girls‘ perception and make clear how important our facial muscles are for our expression: They are an important tool that a power girl can use to clearly show other people what she wants and what she doesn’t want.

At the end of this club hour, I hear Lina shouting louder and even screaming for the first time. She gets red in the face, is heated and excited. She tries out her facial expressions thoroughly: wrinkles her nose, shows her tongue and contorts her mouth.

Lina no longer behaves as passively as I often see her. I am very happy about this development because I have the impression that Lina is more clearly aware of her feelings and wishes and also shows them to the outside world.

The 5th club hour:

Adventure Trip to the „Land of the Power Girls“

Gym, 10 am to 11.15 am.
6 girls are present (including Lina).
This lesson will continue to be about muscles – especially the muscles of the neck, arms and hands, back and stomach and feet and legs – but also about seeing, thinking and reasoning – everything a power girl needs.

Since the girls have always been looking forward to the next club session since the first one, they gather quickly.

In the gym, I set up a movement landscape and developed a story for it, see below. The girls have to fulfil tasks and coordinate with each other. They have to wait for each other, agree together in a small space whether they can lie, sit or stand better.
Furthermore, they have to cheer each other on when they have to fight the monster or shoot big stones away.
Once in the land of the power girls, they are allowed to relax and occupy themselves with books they find interesting and exciting.

And so it started:

In front of the gym I handed out scarves, then they immediately launched into the story I tell them:

We are going on an adventure trip to the land of the power girls, we say goodbye to everyone. (We call out and wave the scarves to them).

Suddenly we are standing in front of a muddy meadow. It looks as if other travellers have already crossed this meadow. They have stretched a rope, which we can now use to avoid sinking into the mud. It is not so easy to balance on a rope, but we all manage. (There is a rope attached to the ground on which we balance.)

We arrive safely in a small, very small cave. (The cave is a lying hamster wheel – a piece of play equipment that you can sit in – covered with a blanket.)

We want to rest so badly, but unfortunately we can’t all sit or even lie down at the same time, we can only stand – and even that only if we agree and stand very close together.

In order for the journey to continue, everyone has to complete a task: You can only leave this cave again if each of you has first thrown three stones out of it. These stones must be thrown into a small, distant pit, only then can the cave be left by all of you together. (Balls have to be thrown into a cone – the popular plaything that skittles around on the floor when you sit in it – 1.5 metres away.)

Finally we all completed the task and left the cave. We found a sheltered spot protected by trees. (A football goal is the place.)

Unfortunately, the further way is also arduous, because it is stony and slippery, you can easily hurt yourself on sharp stones. Again, there are stones that have been made walkable by other people. (They are carpet tiles.)
However, this steep mountain path can only be used if another task is completed. Fortunately, only three of us have to carry a heavy boulder (balls) along the way.

Thus, the path that we power girls have to overcome is full of difficulties. With a boulder in their arms, three travellers now have to jump from stone to stone. This task is very risky and the muscles of arms and legs must be well trained.

The boulders are put down and the journey continues.

We are now standing on a mountain and looking down into the depths. Below, a raging river flows and only a very, very narrow footbridge leads across the water. Again we have to think: Do I dare to walk over it, or do I rather sit down and slide over – because we all have to cross…? (over trestles and balance beams).

And we have to move on quickly, because on the other side of the gorge there is again little room to linger. But oh dear! A mountain has to be overcome, it goes steeply upwards (trestles and ladder).

We are tired, exhausted and want to finally reach our destination. What do we see? A monster, a monster! (Punching bag and boxing gloves.) The first two girls have arrived and have to fight the monster.
Suddenly we all become wide awake and cheer our friends on. We keep calling their names and eventually the monster gets tired because we are strong and very skilled.

We hit the monster – and we girls are super fast, can recognise the monster’s steps and dodge. The first two girls have reached the other side and the monster can’t hurt them anymore.
So all the girls have to fight their way past the monster.

We have already overcome many things: the swamp, the cave, the gorge with the water, the mountain and now also the monster. When will we finally reach our destination, the „land of the power girls“?

A short break, and again we have to clear rocks out of the way (shoot balls into a goal).

The path is clear, we see lights in the distance, but oh no, it’s a clearing. We have to lie down on the meadow and crawl across it so that robbers and monsters don’t see us and cut  off our way. (Rope stretched to crawl under.)

We arrived at a beautiful meadow (big gym mat) and are very happy. We do somersaults and romp around on the meadow. This must be the land of the power girls!

 

What do we see at a corner? A blanket that hides something. What do you think it is? Who is particularly brave and looks underneath?
We encourage each other. We have passed so many adventures, we feel and strong and are no longer afraid of new challenges. We decide to pull the blanket away all together.

Oh what is that?
Books of all kinds! What is there to see in them?

We are glad to be able to rest physically, but we are still curious and immediately look at the books.

Adventure Trip to print out
In this story we go beyond physical strength; power girls are also inquisitive, good at thinking and finding solutions and are good at using these skills.

During the adventure journey, I can observe that Lina doesn’t wait until the end: In balancing, she starts fourth, and in throwing the balls into the pit, she is even second. This is very brave for her, because she doesn’t seem very confident when throwing and balancing, she wobbles before each step.

She is rather cautious at all stations, but at the same time much more confident and relaxed than when I first observed her. Apparently she has gained self-confidence and now feels safe and accepted in the group of girls.

When boxing, she is quite relaxed and stands securely on her legs. Together with Tina, she wins first place in the monster fight.

The books at the end of the journey are surprisingly well received, the girls look at the books with interest, exchange loudly which book they have got hold of and what exciting things they discover in it.

Again, please!

It is Lina who asks if they can do the journey again. The girls now make the journey on their own without me telling the story.

I observe that each girl tells herself what can be seen on the journey and what the task is. Each girl has her station that she does particularly intensively.

So for Ayşe, throwing the balls into the pit is a challenge, for Greta balancing over the river.
Lina balances calmly over the rope, she does all the other stations very quickly and sometimes imprecisely. Her goal is the punching bag – and together with Tina she blocks it for a while, so I ask her to continue her journey.

In this final phase, each girl determines her own pace and favourite stations, so I can observe the children well. Melisa and Laura particularly enjoy balancing on the balance beam. I see that the girls assess their abilities well. A task that doesn’t work so well, some of them practise intensively or do it quickly and imprecisely.

The girls always agree, there are no arguments at any of the stations. It is also interesting that all the girls spoke the story and the tasks to themselves, not very loudly, but audibly.

I end the lesson by announcing a final run-through. They protest, but comply with the announcement.

According to Tina it has been the most beautiful club hour, the other girls agree and repeat Tina’s statement.

 

Date of publication in German: 2013, March
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see imprint.

 

 

Carrot Experiment

by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey

 

As part of my IHVO Certificate Course, I realised an idea that I had been carrying around with me for a while: I founded the „Power Girls´ Club“ with the eight oldest girls of our kindergarten. If you follow the link, you can read about the framework, the objectives and the evaluation of the project. You will also find information about further club lessons and about my observation child Lina. (During the Certificate Course we had the task of observing a presumably particularly gifted child especially intensively).

In the club, the girls were supposed to gain experience of what it’s like to be able to go on a discovery tour only with girls.
Our first topic, which spanned five club hours, was:
What is a power girl?

This article now describes the 6th club hour, in which we did a science experiment. We had one and a half hours to do it.

6th club lesson

Preliminary considerations:

After I have worked out with the girls in the previous offers which characteristics and abilities a „power girl“ needs and has on a physical level, I would like to deepen their knowledge even more in the next step.

As I have not yet identified the girls‘ areas of interest in detail (apart from movement in any form), I am orienting my next offers to the current topic in our kindergarten. It is: „Feel how it tastes“, and it is about healthy nutrition.

The children have been learning about fruits and vegetables in various offerings, so I will do an experiment on this with my club to deepen the girls‘ knowledge.

Review:

I will briefly review why it was so important for us to look at the brain, bones and joints and clearly visible muscles.

Then, as an introduction to the topic of nutrition, I will ask the question:
„By what do we maintain our health, keep our strength and live at all?“

The question refers to external conditions, such as healthy nutrition, good living conditions, intact environment.

At the point „healthy nutrition“ I will make reference to the topic in the group. My idea is that the group will recall their already existing knowledge on the topic and bring it to the club. Since they have been talking about vegetables, I am sure they will mention carrots, especially because raw carrots are very popular with our children.

This is the lead-in to my experiment with the carrot.

Experiment: „Where does the carrot get its colour?“

(According to: Gisela Lück, Leichte Experimente für Eltern und Kinder. Herder spektrum, pages 35-37. You can also read the exact explanation there).

I put all the materials on the table and discuss them with the children.

Then I explain to them what we are going to do with it today, and I also immediately begin to carry out the experiment.

During the experiment, I explain what we are doing and why we are doing it this way and involve the girls with specific questions. They should be active participants and not just carry out something according to my instructions.

It is important to me that they can understand all the steps well and that they think about why we are doing this.

I am responsible for providing the background knowledge.

After the experiment, the girls are supposed to draw the procedure of the experiment and thereby deepen what they have realised.

Execution:

Only four of the eight girls are present. This is actually quite favourable for carrying out our experiment.

They are curious about what we are going to do today. We are not – as usual – in the gym, and materials are provided that do not really indicate what we want to do:

1 carrot, water,
preferably colourless cooking oil,
4 small jars (one for each girl),
4 teaspoons, 1 grater,
1 kitchen alarm clock.

The girls try to guess as they enter the room. Melisa says, „We are going to bake a cake.“ I ask them to find a place at the table because we want to talk to each other first.

Lina and Greta listen quietly to my questions, while Melisa and Laura keep making new suggestions about what we could do. They come up with ideas like baking, cooking soup or just eating. After they calm down, we share with each other what is important for our health. In the process, they share their knowledge about fruits and vegetables. We get to the minerals and vitamins very rapidly.

So I quickly get my start and we get started with our experiment.

The carrot is rubbed and filled into the jars so that the bottom is covered in each case. Then each girl pours water into her glass until the water is about 2 cm above the bottom of the glass. Now they have to stir vigorously for at least 1 minute. As it is easy to make a mistake about how long a minute is when stirring hard, everyone starts together with the kitchen alarm clock.

We take a close look at the carrot-water mixture and notice that the water has taken on a slight colour.

Then each girl puts 5 tablespoons of the cooking oil into her jar, the kitchen alarm clock is set to 1 minute again and everyone stirs vigorously.

They work well together doing this and have no problems passing the grater or the oil around so that everyone can get at it.

While watching the mixture, they are calm and concentrated and wait for my questions. It seems to be exciting for all of them to see what else is going on. In other situations – except for Lina – they all like to talk and usually don’t have much patience and want to share their thoughts immediately.

I approach Lina first and she describes our mixture in detail:

„When we added the oil, it turned all orange.“

Melisa thinks it would be more red, but Lina insists that there is yellow in the colour besides red.

Everyone wants to try this carrot mixture. It doesn’t taste very good to them, but they all try it several times and shake themselves. They expected this mixture to taste like our raw carrot food for lunch. So I explain to them the other ingredients in our salad. They find this interesting and now want to eat it even more because the vitamin beta-carotene is so important for their skin and protects them from too much light.

I then set the task of painting the experiment. Lina responds by saying, „I’ll draw what we did!“ She rarely expresses herself so spontaneously. Now she starts immediately and is the only one who draws the course without making the reference that the carrot grows in the ground. Lina separates her general knowledge about the carrot and does exactly the newly set task.

Melisa, Laura and Greta paint the carrot in the ground, because they have learned this assignment with the whole group and this knowledge seems important to them. They paint the other materials after looking at Lina’s picture. (I cannot say how they would have painted without Lina’s picture).

Lina draws a big carrot, the grater, the oil bottle, the sieve for sieving the water-oil-carrot mixture at the end of the experiment and the glass with the remaining liquid.

The oil has separated from the water again and has turned a reddish colour from the carrot.

Lina depicts the water as an even surface and paints the fat globules over it. She does not orientate herself to the other girls, she does look at the others‘ pictures from time to time and seems to be a little pensive about whether her picture is right. She also looks at me and I nod at her and praise her.

I also acknowledge the others and, in support, also ask in general what else we needed in our experiment and what we observed.

 

With this offer, I can observe well that Lina understands the tasks exactly and implements them independently.

She looks thoughtful when she briefly interrupts her work and seems to observe the group and consider whether everything she is doing is right.

She therefore sometimes needs a little more time than the other girls, who often also comment on what they are going to do or are doing.

During all the offers for the Power Girls‘ Club so far, I could observe that Lina worked on all the tasks very quickly, concentrated, independently and creatively.

The other girls did not even notice the meditative music I put on. Lina is very interested in music, she always notices music immediately and also expresses whether she likes it. Most of the time she likes it, so she says, „That’s nice music,“ and I answer her, „Yes, I like it very much too, it’s music by Kitaro.“ Lina nods and continues working, Greta has overheard this and nods in agreement.

When Greta and Lina have finished, they can choose whether they want to go back to the group already or whether they want to stay with us some more. Both of them want to wait and paint, which is a reason for Laura and Melisa to hurry, as they also want to paint an additional picture. After one and a half hours we clean up together.

Read more about Lina:

Power Girls´ Club

What Is a Power Girl? (German version)

The World of Professions

Lina Has Pedagogic Talent (German version)

 

Date of publication in German:  2013, March
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see imprint.

Power Girls´ Club

Lecture at the 4th IHVO symposium on 5.5.07

by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey

 

The „Power Girls´ Club“ was a learning group in my kindergarten which I developed within the framework of my IHVO Certificate Course.

The starting point was my observation over many years that many girls

    • are very sensible,
    • are well-behaved,
    • are well-adjusted,
    • are always helpful,
    • are more easily persuaded,
    • are quieter in play,
    • show more understanding for others (have to? should?),
    • put their own needs aside relatively quickly due to outside influence.

With my club, I wanted to provide a new environment for girls to learn. They should gain experience of what it is like to go on a journey of discovery only with girls.

The layout, course and evaluation of the individual club lessons are described here:

1st-5th club hours: What is a Power Girl?

6th club hour: Carrot Experiment

7th-11th, 15th-18th, 21st club hours: World of Professions

For me personally, I was able to try out my idea of leading a same-sex group at kindergarten age as part of my additional qualification at IHVO. I deliberately chose the girls‘ group because I had been interested in this topic for a long time. At the same time, I regretted that due to time constraints I could not lead the boys‘ group at the same time, which was led by a colleague of mine.

Otherwise, my experiences would certainly have been more varied and meaningful with regard to the different behaviour of boys and girls in same-sex kindergarten learning groups. In the meantime, I have led a group with only boys for over two months and have also gained some experience in this regard.

Why Lina?

For my IHVO work, I should choose a child in my kindergarten who is as gifted as possible and observe his or her development over the entire course time.

When I observed our kindergarten children intensively, I made an interesting discovery, especially with Lina (name changed): I noticed that Lina adjusted, you could say, perfectly to her „environment“ and their expectations of her and fulfilled them.

In kindergarten, Lina stood out because of her very calm, reliable, persistent, prudent, observant, social and also ambitious behaviour. Lina did not express that she was bored, nor did she stand out for aggressive behaviour.

She was the oldest of three siblings (two girls and one boy), Lina was 5;4 years old when the club started. The parents informed us in a conversation that Lina fulfils all requirements at home safely and reliably. They did not observe any special interests or talents, they had only noticed that Lina was bored by all picture books and left the book selection to her parents or siblings.

Since I was employed as a director in the kindergarten, it made sense to interview my colleagues who work in Lina’s group.
My colleagues had noticed for a few weeks that Lina often took over tasks from the kindergarten teachers by asking the children to abide by rules and boundaries. The children accepted Lina in her role, but my colleagues were worried whether the children would accept this in the long run. They tried to relieve Lina and make it clear to her through conversations that she was not responsible for the other children and their behaviour.

In the four weeks before, she had done a lot of weaving and embroidery. From time to time, she was also in our movement room and had joined in dancing, building huts, was happy, exuberant and had also joined in singing and shouting loudly.

This was a change in Lina’s behaviour, in our opinion an important developmental step for her.

I wanted to recognise Lina’s hidden abilities and talents and find reasons for her behaviour through my observations in everyday life and during free play activities.

Through my targeted observations, I wanted to recognise a possible special talent or giftedness in order to be able to accompany and support Lina appropriately in her development.

During my observations, I had not yet identified any special interests or talents in Lina, nor did Lina make any demands of her own or share her special interests. This experience motivated me to found the „Power Girls´ Club“. I wanted to offer Lina and the other girls the opportunity to find out about their special interests, talents and abilities.

The following points led me to put Lina at the centre of my considerations:

    • Lina is a girl.
    • Lina stays in our institution for a longer period of time.
    • Lina finds her picture books at home uninteresting.
    • Lina is very ambitious, persistent and determined in new tasks that interest her.
    • Lina observes intensively what is happening around her.
    • Lina shows great social competence.
    • Lina appears very serious and introverted.
    • Lina does not make any special demands on the parents and kindergarten teachers.

I wanted to identify Lina’s hidden abilities and talents and find reasons for her behaviour through my observations in everyday life and during the free play activities.

Two observations on Lina’s social competence can be found under the title
Lina Has Pedagogic Talent.

Through targeted observations, I can recognise a possible special talent or a possible giftedness in order to then be able to accompany and support Lina appropriately in her development.

Learning opportunities I wanted to create for Lina:

Lina should learn through the holistic experiences with her person and the experiences with the other girls in the group:

    • to feel and accept her self-confidence,
    • to courageously demand her needs,
    • to stand up for her needs,
    • to also fight for her playing and learning needs.

She should not deepen her ability to relate to others, but experience:

    • What can I experience with myself, for myself, with other girls?
    • What gives me pleasure?
    • What appeals to my needs and satisfies me?
    • What desires have I discovered that were not yet clear to me?

My observations of Lina after only a few club hours were very positive for me and especially for Lina. I saw Lina more often playing games that suited her abilities and she played them more often with children of the same age in the group.

She was more cheerful when playing, laughed and jumped around the room more often between the game steps. I had not observed this behaviour before, she had been rather serious and withdrawn.

Objectives for all children in the „Power Girls‘ Club“:

I wanted to make Lina and all the „power girls“ aware of, promote and strengthen their special talents, abilities and needs. The age of the other girls was: 5;0 to 5;9 years.

Above all, these goals were important to me:

    • Strengthening self-esteem.
    • Recognising one’s own abilities and needs.
    • Which senses and characteristics are available to them to realise their needs?
    • What and how can they use their abilities and needs for themselves?
    • Who can support them in realising their needs?
    • With which of their own resources and abilities can they ask for help?
    • Which abilities have they awakened in themselves, what do they still enjoy doing and what are they also interested in?
    • How can they show their environment what interests, needs and abilities they have?
    • Encourage and strengthen the ability to make contact.
    • Deepen the group topic at hand.
    • Expand knowledge.
    • Experience learning processes in a same-sex group.

Structure and methods of the offers:

In my offers, it was important for me to consider the following points:

    • Target group and child,
    • choice of topic,
    • reasons for the topic,
    • objectives for the topic in relation to the individual child and the group,
    • questions from the child’s / children’s point of view,
    • encouraging all senses through holistic experiences,
    • increase knowledge through the joy of learning.

The offers included the following activities:

    • painting, handicrafts,
    • talking, singing, calling, shouting,
    • playing,
    • jumping, running, dancing, romping,
    • meditating, dreaming, feeling, sensing,
    • thinking, pondering, devising,
    • doing nothing, being there,
    • invent, explore, recognise,
    • excursions,
    • play theatre, perform,
    • showing oneself, presenting oneself,
    • experiencing joy in and with learning,
    • being me.

The club hours:

The „Power Girls‘ Club“ took place regularly once a week in the kindergarten year 2005/2006. Based on my experience, I would also recommend this time frame.

The work with the „Power Girls“ was characterised by curiosity – on the part of the girls as well as myself – as to what we would discover and try out next. This meant that at no stage was it necessary to particularly motivate the girls to participate in the club.

The structure of the club lessons had the following focal points

    • Knowledge development,
    • games,
    • self-awareness.

These points cannot always be clearly separated, as they flow into each other and are the basis of holistic support for me. The success of the club confirms this method.

The club developed a momentum of its own and it became clear to me once again that all we have to do is offer children an ideal environment and strengthen their self-confidence in a targeted way. This way, learning can be experienced, perceived and lived as a pleasure and with joy.

In the „Power Girls´ Club“, the girls found and perceived their learning field. There were seven girls in the club, six of them were very fit, only one girl had some difficulties due to her language problems. The other girls always offered her support through their social competence. I did not observe any situation where the smart girls excluded her.

The other themes in our club were based on our current topics at  our kindergarten:

„Feel how it tastes!“ and
„Explorers, artists and inventors, yes that’s what interests us children!“

Conclusions on the „Power Girls´ Club“:

The „power girls“ had a variety of experiences in the club. They experimented, discovered, questioned, played, painted, moved, danced, told stories, visited, toured, got to know each other, had fun, expanded their knowledge, increased their self-confidence and developed into even stronger girls.

Lina has certainly gained the most in self-confidence, self-assurance and courage to think and act independently through the club. She has become more open-minded, happier and is better able to perceive, express and act out her feelings. As a result, she can also approach others more openly and without hesitation. Lina has built up a relationship with two girls from the club, and I hope these relationships will continue.

She showed great interest in learning to write and read at the club and she has a very good understanding of mathematics. Lina recognises essential contexts in a short time and can summarise and reproduce them.

After she felt safe in the club, she participated in the conversation more and more quickly and was also the first to speak up. Her initial wait-and-see attitude and consideration changed and she was able to take space for herself and her needs.

She likes to paint, but she does not show any special talent in painting. Her special interest is music, Lina likes to sing very much and also very well.

I have not been able to observe other topics that appeal to her interest, but she is open to all current topics and actively works on them. She faces all challenges, likes to think about them and shares her thoughts with the group.

She has experienced and gained this certainty that her thoughts and knowledge are interesting for others in the club lessons.

Lina performed the tasks in the school test very confidently, briskly and perfectly. According to the mother, the doctor was surprised and delighted by Lina and her way of working. During our school visit with all the pre-school children, Lina was able to complete all the tasks independently – and faster than the pupil accompanying her. The pupil asked me why Lina can already read and do so much arithmetic, since she wouldn’t be going to school yet. Lina said, I can already do that, but she was very happy about this experience. In the time that followed, she often told me: „I’m looking forward to school“.

All in all, all the power girls wanted to finally go to school, which was imminent for all but one of the „can-do“ girls, as they were ready for school and of school age.

(„can-do children“= children who are not yet of school age but who may be able to start school earlier because they show accelerated development.)

The „power girls“ and also I learnt that girls in a same-sex group can learn in a very cooperative, supportive, understanding and communicative way.

Learning also works without competition, struggle, belittlement and disrespect. With mutual understanding, support and common goals, learning is characterised by joy and lasting knowledge.

My „Power Girls‘ Club“ is an offer that provides gifted children, but also all children in the group, with appropriate advancement for their abilities, talents and interests.

We kindergarten teachers should think about the possibilities of offering projects to our children at kindergartens according to different criteria:

    • Level of development,
    • gender,
    • abilities,
    • interests,
    • talents,
    • resources of the kindergarten teachers,
    • parents‘ resources,
    • resources of the kindergarten.

(See also: Advancement in Small Groups – Possibilities and Advantages.)

My project „Power Girls´ Club“ is always a new challenge for me in my work. It makes me feel alive and gives me a lot of joy.

That is why I would like to continue to develop this path and hope that the public discussion currently taking place about the promotion of boys will not cause girls to be forgotten again. For me, the promotion of all children is the centre of attention.

 

Date of publication in German: 2007, May
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see imprint.

The World of Professions

by Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey

 

In the „Power Girls´Club“, the eight oldest girls in our kindergarten had already gained experience of what it’s like when they can only go on a discovery tour together with girls. During the first six lessons of the club, they had dealt thoroughly with the subject of „What is a powergirl?“, and they had already done a scientific experiment (Carrot Experiment).

The Power Girls´ Club will now be continued with the 7th Club lesson and the new topic „Professions“.

You can read more about why I founded this club and which goals I pursue with it here. Parallel to it exists the „Club of the Gentle Boys“ led by another colleague.

… in a nutshell …

The author has developed and led a girls‘ learning club for one kindergarten year. Some of the weekly club lessons are described in this article.

All colleagues who want to try something similar will find here (and in the other contributions of the author, to which the text refers) not only suggestions, but also a complete concept and a basically reworked process planning for the promotion of especially gifted girls.
On this basis they can gain new and own experiences and offer valuable learning incentives to the girls.

During the IHVO Certificate Course, which I completed, we had the task of observing a presumably particularly gifted child particularly intensively. I had decided in favour of Lina.

In kindergarten Lina stood out for her very calm, reliable, persistent, prudent, observant, social and also ambitious behaviour. Lina understood and learnt particularly quickly, but was initially quite shy and insecure in the group. During the first six club hours she already blossomed.

She has significantly increased her self-confidence and independence in our club lessons together. She now seems relaxed and is always curious about what will be experienced, tried out and worked out together in the next lesson.

Lina (now 6;2 years old) is still very careful and correct in her work, although she looks at the other girls much less often than before. It seems that Lina now feels confident that what she has thought about is well thought out. She carries out the tasks with her own ideas. I rarely notice that she sits in front of the task and needs time to get started.

She stands out through her alert, open gaze. Her expressions are constructive and are introduced spontaneously or deliberately. She grasps tasks immediately and can now contribute to the topic very quickly, loudly and appropriately.

There are only seven girls left in the club, as one has moved away with her family. All seven girls have clearly gained security in the three months of club time so far, are able to communicate their interests clearly, are courageous to ask questions and enjoy finding answers together.

Elise (6;0) and Laura (5;6) have learnt not to always be immediately sparkling with questions and answers. They can also wait until other girls have put forward their ideas.

In this group Ayşe (5;3) often cannot follow the club hour contentwise. This is mainly due to her still weak knowledge of German. She gets bored more often, because she does not understand the conversations in the club sufficiently. In the practical part, during movement exercises or while painting, she participates more actively. She uses her good observation skills to orientate herself in the task at hand.
Ayşe is slightly tired, yawns a lot and usually lies on the floor or walks aimlessly through the gym. The girls accept Ayşes behaviour without remarks, she is part of the group.

What opportunities do I want to offer the girls?

1. in the area of self-confidence:

    • To clearly recognise their own abilities and needs.
    • To recognize, how they can use their interests and abilities for themselves.
    • To recognize how they can receive support through questions.
    • To recognise what else interests them and gives them pleasure.
    • To recognize how they can show their environment what they are made of.
    • To recognize how one can learn with each other and from each other.

2. in the field of language:

They can practice,

    • to exchange ideas,
    • to try out and apply their linguistic competence in a targeted way,
    • to listen in the group, to record and implement what they have heard,
    • to converse in a topic-oriented way,
    • to translate spoken words into writing.

3. in the field of knowledge of occupations:

Here are the goals:

    • The girls expand their knowledge by deepening the current group topic („researchers, artists and inventors, that´s what we children are interested in!“).
    • They expand their knowledge about the professions of their parents, get to know the names and contents of the professions.
    • They get to know women’s and men’s occupations.
    • They formulate their first own career aspirations.

The following activities are planned:

Painting, handicrafts,
talk, sing, shout, scream,
talk to each other, listen to each other, exchange ideas,
play,
jumping, running, dancing, romping,
meditate, dream, feel, sense,
think, ponder, think up,
do nothing, just being there,
invent, observe, recognize,
visit, explore,
read aloud, read,
write, rewrite, copy,
play and perform theater,
show yourself, present yourself.

The Club Hours

In order not to go beyond the scope of my (IHVO) homework, I will describe only some of the club lessons in more detail.

The description of the 1st to 5th club hour can be found in: What is a Power Girl?,
the description of the 6th clubhour can be found in: Carrot Experiment.

7th club hour:
Which professions do we know?

Game: A wonderful pillow fight.
Homework: What profession do mummy / daddy have?

In the gym we sit in a circle on the floor, in the middle there is a candle, in the background quiet meditative music plays.
After the longer Christmas break I want to have an intensive conversation with the girls. They have experienced a lot and talk in detail.
The group is very restless, the Christmas experiences are still very current and the telling takes quite a while.

Laura (5;6) got a children’s Bible for Christmas and brought it with her. She is enthusiastic about the stories. I start to tell the Christmas story, and we gather it together with a lot of fun.

Then we talk again about what it means to be a power girl. Here are their remarks:

„Because we work well.“
„Because we train.“
„Because we think well.
„Because we try things out.“
„Because we practice.“
„Because we smell good.“
„Because we eat and drink a lot.“
„Because we learn.“
„Because we work the bones and muscles.“

Formulating their own ideas further motivates the girls for their club.

Movement game: A wonderful pillow fight.

We place ourselves in a circle. The girls have discovered something they don’t know yet: I filled a duvet cover and two pillowcases with balloons. The girls can use it to try out different games.
First I throw them one of the pillows, they immediately play with it. So I bring the second pillow into play and the game becomes more lively.
After a few minutes I add the duvet cover and quickly the game develops in such a way that all the girls throw themselves onto the balloons and roll on them.

Finally I ask: „Who can let themselves fall on the „balloon mat“, forward or backward?

Lina does not hesitate and immediately drops courageously onto the balloons. Some are not so sure if they should dare, but in the end all the girls try it out. Even when it comes to being covered with the balloons in the covers, Lina, once so shy, leads the way.

We finish the game and sit back in the circle. The girls are happy and relaxed. Now I begin my transition to the subject of professions. I tell them that professions will be the motto of our carnival celebration, which is why we want to deal with professions.

I ask if they know anything about occupations and already know occupations. They are reserved, so I ask them about my profession. Most girls know the job title „Kindergarten teacher“, Ayşe she gets to know again.
That’s what the girls think of the job description:

„Playing.
„To help the children learn.
„Handicrafts.“
„Singing.
„Think about what the children want.“

I ask the children if they know any other professions.

Lina knows her mother’s profession, she is a music teacher.
Laura doesn’t know the name for her mother’s profession, but she can describe exactly what her mother does: „She translates poems – I don’t know exactly what that is – from Spanish to German.

All the other girls think about it, but probably don’t dare to say anything or don’t know their parents‘ professions. I leave it at that and hand out two worksheets to each girl.
On it „Mama“ or „Papa“ is to be supplemented. They should take the sheets home with them and have their parents enter the job title.
The girls should inform themselves about the professions of their parents and then introduce them to the group.

Lina, Greta (6;0) and Laura immediately write „Mama“ and „Papa“, Elise (6;0) and Melisa (5;8) shout „I can’t do that“, but look at the other girls, shout „I already know“ and also write. Ayşe behaves quietly and also writes. I can’t tell if she is writing it on her own or if she is orienting herself towards the other girls.

They like the „homework“. Elise has doubts whether she can remember everything her parents will tell her. The others are just happy that they have a homework assignment.

8th club hour:
What profession do mummy and daddy have?

Game: We jump our name: We jump our name and the professions of our parents.

I ask how the girls are doing; some were sick and I was too.

My colleague made a pantomime game with my club last week. The girls tell me that they have pantomimed the professions they know.

When I ask about the „homework“, it turns out that three girls did not bring their leaves back with them. Elise immediately says: „But I know what my mum does.“ And Greta says very quietly: „I also know what my mum and dad work.“

The girls have their worksheets, if available, in front of them and we talk about what they have experienced.
I give you excerpts of this here.

Lina begins and reports, and I read out what the parents have written about it.
All girls can imagine the profession of the music teacher; Lina reminds the girls of the music teacher who worked for us in the kindergarten for a while.
Linas father is a software developer; this is more complicated than that. But all children know computers and computer games, so they can make a connection to what Linas‘ father wrote down: „I work on the computer and create programs so that the computers work well“.

Greta’s father is a dentist and her mother is a dental assistant. The girls know these professions very well, because a dentist regularly comes to our kindergarten with her dental assistant. The children also go to the dentist´s office.

Melisa’s father is a machine fitter. All girls have a hard time imagining this profession and Melisa can tell little about it, so I have to supplement what I know. Her mother is a housewife, and we think together about the tasks a housewife has. The result is that a housewife also has many different tasks.

Since I know that Ayşe´s mother is a housewife too, we can include Ayşe well. She thinks with us about what her mother has to do at home. Her father is a heating engineer. I ask her to ask her father what he has to do in his job, because I think it is important that the girls can personally tell something about the jobs.

Elise can explain her mother’s profession very precisely, but she doesn’t know the job title (pharmaceutical consultant). She doesn’t know her father’s profession and so she also gets the task to ask him.

Tina’s mother is a neurologist, her father a psychiatrist. Tina can explain exactly what the parents do in their job and where they work.

Laura tells that the name of her mother’s profession is very long, she is a literary scholar (in German Literaturwissenschaftlerin), which Laura alone has copied onto the worksheet. The father is a musician, Laura shows pantomimically how he drums.

The girls, who have information about their parents‘ professions, are visibly proud to share their knowledge. All the girls listen to the reports with interest.

Then I ask the girls to paint the activity of their parents.
They start immediately and everyone has ideas on how to portray the activity.

The pictures show that they have understood the explanations of the parents and our reflections in the group and have thus expanded their knowledge.

Lina says: „I paint my dad from behind, sitting at the computer, it’s quite difficult.“

I ask the children to also write the job title. Lina also copies the whole addition from the worksheet. Then she doesn’t have time anymore to present the work of her mother.

https://www.ihvo.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Mein-Papa-ist-von-Beruf-Lina.jpg

Lina´s picture: Software developer.

https://www.ihvo.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Literaturwissenschaftlerin.jpg

Laura´s picture: Literary scholar

The comparison of the two pictures shows that Laura has drawn very beautifully and differentiatedly and accurately and that she can already write clear letters – her current preferred way of expressing herself is clearly drawing. Then she no longer wanted to write the second part of the job title herself, I should add.

Lina’s drawing is rather schematic, but she writes the whole page full. Obviously her current interest lies in writing.

Trampolining

At the end of this club hour I offer a movement game. We have purchased a new trampoline which I would like to use. After a few rounds of free experimentation, I set the girls the task of jumping their names the way they hear the syllables and how they emphasize them. Afterwards they are to convert the professions of the parents into jumps.

Lina immediately understands the task, she promptly says her name in syllables. The other girls follow her example.

They are happy that the job titles are longer and that they can jump more often. They do this enthusiastically and with many repetitions.

The „word jumping“ is supposed to promote a holistic feeling for language in the girls.

Now it is about jumping any words. Even as she waits, Lina thinks about which words she could skip. I observe that Lina has always been curious and waiting for the new task. She has been able to develop so much personal power and strength in recent months that she clearly shows and uses her great willingness to learn.

These exercises were also a lot of fun for Ayşe. She hasn’t thought about any of her own words, but the recording and carrying out of the other children’s words will certainly help her feel for the language.

9th club hour:
What else can I discover about the professions of my parents?

Game: Form words to the first letter.

There are six girls again.
The topic today is: What else can I discover about the professions of my parents?

I take up the contents of the last club lesson and ask the girls who can imagine a profession other than that of the parents. They think briefly and say that they know no other profession.
I suggest choosing a girl in order to talk more about her parents‘ profession. They agree on Greta (dentist / dental assistant). They immediately think of the right profession and we collect the information.

The three children who had not filled out a worksheet at the last hour of the club worked it out with the help of my colleague the day before. Elise’s mother asked us to fill out the worksheet with her daughter. We did not reach Ayşe´s and Nora’s parents to ask them personally for their cooperation, so I took the information from our documents.
So all the club girls have similar prerequisites to continue working with their parents‘ professions.

Today Elise explains her father’s profession to us. He is a craftsman and works on building sites. When the house is nearly finished, he is responsible for dry construction. Together, we think about what he is going to do in the house and come up with something: Laying floors, cladding ceilings.

Ayşe unfortunately has no information about her father’s profession yet, as her mother could not explain the profession to her either. So we consider, what the job title heating engineer says over the occupation. The children know the heater and know how important it is for us. Thus it succeeds to include also Ayşe with.

Letters!

In the club hours I noticed that it was great fun for the girls to write their names, the date or even the topic on their picture.

So I make the suggestion to look at the first letter of the job title on the old worksheets and circle it. Then each girl should introduce her letter, and together we will think about which professions start with this letter.

Lina, Elise, Nora and Melisa also find the other professions with the same initial letter, for example: music teacher – machine fitter and housewife – heating engineer.

On the floor of the gymnasium I distribute the letters of the alphabet (painted large on DIN A4 sheets).

The girls should select the first letters of their mother’s and father’s profession and introduce the two letters.

Game:

Now only the letters are on the floor which they have already got to know. There is music with a fast rhythm. The girls move freely in the room. I stop the music and say a letter where everyone should gather.
When all the girls are gathered by the respective letter, the group considers which professions begin with this letter and which other words they know with this initial letter.

I observe that, despite the fast music, the girls keep slowing down in their movements, looking at the letters and thinking. They seem to think about which words belong to which letter.

Lina is also very active in this game and finds many words. I see her looking closely at the girls in the group, looking around the gym and looking out the window to find new words.

The group motivates each other, so they construct new words to find out if their word creates a meaningful word, for example:
M-musicians / H-husicians.

Through these experiments they develop a better understanding of the language. The foreign children of the club, Melisa and Ayşe, notice with this playful contact with language that also the German children must try something out, in order to come to the correct result.

When the time is up, the children are disappointed that we are already coming to the end. Now the girls express the idea to create a game for the other children of the kindergarten group: With the help of the worksheets, the painted pictures and the large-format letters, they want to present a narrative game about professions.
I took up this idea in the 13th and 14th club hour. We created a memory game.

10th club lesson:
Can girls and boys learn and practice the same professions?

Game: Make-up like „Dumme Augustine“ (Silly Augustine – Character from a popular children’s book, she is a clown),

I explain to the children that I brought along a picture book for this club lesson: „Die dumme Augustine“ by Otfried Preußler and Herbert Lentz.

Contents of the book:

The story tells of the „Silly Augustine“ who wants to perform in the circus so much. But her husband, the „Silly August“, doesn’t want it. He tells her to do her household chores and take care of the children.
He also says that she can’t play the role of the clown at all.

Then the „Silly August“ gets toothache and has to go to the dentist for treatment while the circus show is on. The „Silly Augustine“ takes the opportunity and plays the clown role of the „Silly Augustine“ in the circus ring. The audience and the circus director are enthusiastic about her performance. „Silly August“ comes back just in time to experience the success of his wife. He is amazed and happy and can no longer say: „You can’t do that“.
So they decide to do all the housework, looking after the children and, of course, performing in the circus together.

The club girls look at the picture book thoroughly together, I read the text. Only Lina already knows it, but thinks it was a long time ago; it’s new for the other girls.

The girls want to know why the „Silly Augustine“ is called that. I explain to them that „Silly August“ is a clown role in the circus. We think about what other clowns there are and find only the Pierrot. So I suggest that everyone consider until the next club hour and ask which clowns they or their families know.

While looking at the pictures, the girls talk excitedly about what they see and comment on what they find „silly“, for example that the „Silly Augustine“ always has to do all the housework alone and is not allowed to perform in the circus.

They have obviously already developed a good feeling that they would be restricted if certain activities were not allowed to them because they are girls.

Then we exchange ideas.I don’t have to ask many questions or contribute many thoughts to show the girls clearly that girls and boys as well as men and women can learn the same thing. The conversation about this is very lively and clear.

Tina and Laura say that mum and dad work in their jobs and in the household. Elise confirms this and Greta nods in agreement. Melisa tells that her mom works at home and that her dad is sleeping or watching TV when he is at home. Lina says: „My mum works at home, but when dad is there, he also works at home“. Ayşe is unfortunately missing from this club hour.

This „Power Girls´ Club“ has smart, curious and
self-confident members!

For our planned „storytelling game of professions“ we still deal with the terms „male“ and „female“.

I show and explain the prepared worksheets to them.

Frau-weiblich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the girls paint and copy it on a card. Here is Lina’s result:

Frau-Mann-Lina-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make-up

Finally the girls put on make-up (or have me do it for them) until they look like the „Silly  Augustine“.

They look again and again into the book and discover another colour, which should be in their face like the Augustine.

Greta doesn’t know if she should or may put on make-up, and Elise knows that she is allergic to make-up. Nevertheless, the two of them are not bored, but participate with tips and assistance in the make-up of their friends.

Short interim evaluation

The previous offers were very well received by the girls, who are always excited with curiosity and motivated to discover and try something new.

Lina says every hour how she is looking forward to the school and wants me to do more homework as well.

Elise and Laura confirm this, and Elise surprises me with the request: „I want to practice writing much more“. Lina, Laura and Melisa also want to write more. So in the next club hour I will offer them a homework booklet and think about tasks.

I find it exciting to see what ideas and wishes the girls develop and thus play an increasingly active role in shaping their learning field.

The club develops its own dynamic and is apparently
an ideal learning field for the girls.

11th club hour:
Painting the Silly Augustine and her family. (They all wear clown disguises.)
Work on what you missed in the previous hours.

12th club hour:
Voluntary writing exercises
Game: Practicing say No

13th club hour:
Design memory game

14th club hour:
Memory game review and play

15th club hour:
Walk through our part of town: We observe how people practise their profession.
We try to clarify which professions are practised in a pharmacy, at the airport or in the church.

The task is: Which people do we see who are currently exercising their profession? And where are there still people in our district who work?

On the way, I note down all the professions that the girls see and name:

Tram driver – bus driver – forester – lumberjack – gardener – taxi driver – newspaper deliverer – pilot – truck driver – hairdresser – caretaker – baker – bakery saleswoman – paramedic – doctor – florist – flight attendant – nurse – postman – midwife – pastor – librarian – policeman – pharmacist – television and radio mechanic – occupational therapist – tailor – ice cream vendor – construction worker.

The girls are very motivated and take a close look at the people we meet. Most of them don’t show their profession, but some do.
Sometimes we do not see the working person, but are encouraged to think about it by a building or vehicles (taxi, emergency ambulance). So we stand in front of the Catholic Church and consider who is working in it.

16th club hour:
What professions did we discover during our walk? Which do you find particularly interesting? Painting the interesting profession.

Game: Movement construction site in the gym.
Homework: Worksheet „My career aspiration is…“.

Six of the seven club girls were present during the walk, they are all present now.

First I ask the children to remember our extensive walk through the district last week. We will repeat our observations together. The girls together can remember all the professions I wrote down. Especially important for them was the chance encounter with the policeman responsible for us, to whom the girls told which observation task they were currently on the road with and that it would now also be written down by me.

When I asked them which profession (of those written down) they would most like to pursue, the girls did not answer immediately, but rather thoughtfully.

I distribute the painting sheets and ask them to paint the profession. Then every girl could tell why she finds the profession interesting.

Lina’s picture:

Lina tells me that she thinks the bakery is great and that she wants to sell cakes. I ask her if she doesn’t want to eat the cake herself. She laughs and says: „Yes“.

Tina and Nina have also chosen the bakery saleswoman and also like to eat cake. Both are of the opinion that they could eat as much cake as they wanted in the bakery.

Melisa surprises me with her career choice. She paints a house and wants to be a construction worker. When I asked her if she had ever seen women on a construction site, she denied it. We think together that strong girls can also work on a construction site.

Elise painted a church and a pastor. Her reason is that it is beautiful in church. Her parents do not belong to any religion, but Elise sings in the Protestant children’s choir.

Ayşe paints several policemen because she finds them beautiful. For Ayşes choice our conversation with the policeman is probably decisive, she can remember that well; on the other hand the repetition of the professions discovered in the district was not so easy for her to understand.

The power girls now receive a worksheet with the text:

„I WANT TO BECOME ________________________“.

Until the next hour of the club, they should consider what career they already have in mind (regardless of our job list).

Lina immediately shouts: „I know what I’m writing down!“ Elise shouts: „I don’t know yet!“ The other girls don’t say anything about it.

I also tell them that writing it down does not mean that their career aspirations cannot change. Elise and Nina seem reassured.

17th club hour:
What career do I have in mind? Discussing the worksheets.

Game: Trampoline jumping, skill exercises.

We welcome Laura back into our group, who was on holiday for three weeks. She received the worksheet from me so that she could also bring her career aspiration with her. Laura tells me that her holiday was great, but now she is happy to be able to join the club again.

During the club hours, the girls have already expressed various career aspirations, for example their chosen profession from our job list. When Laura and Elise attended a swimming course, they wanted to become swimming teachers.

Now I am curious about the career aspirations of the power girls.

Melisa is very excited because today she brought two pictures of the big machines that her father is repairing. I asked her father a few weeks ago and now I praise Melisa for bringing the pictures with her.
We remember her father’s profession and the girls find it impressive how big the machines are.

Of my seven participants, only four girls brought their worksheets with them: Lina, Laura, Tina and Melisa. After all!

We sit in a circle on the floor and the worksheets are in front of the girls. I ask them who would like to start telling us her career aspirations.

Lina answers immediately. She wants to become a singer because she is already singing in the choir and has already performed a solo there. She thinks she can sing very beautifully and it is a lot of fun for her.
She continues by saying that she also learns to play the flute. Tina shouts: „I’m learning to play the flute too, but I don’t want to become a singer!“ Elise and Laura tell the club that they also sing in the choir and don’t want to become singers either.

Elise is very restless and says: „I don’t know yet what I want to become.“ I calm her down and say that she still has a lot of time to choose a profession.

Laura cannot decide between two professions: She wants to be an artist, preferably a painter, but she also wants to become a doctor and help other people.
Elise shouts in between: „Maybe I can become a doctor too, I want to help people too!“

Ayşe does not tell so much. She wants to become an ice cream saleswoman because she likes to eat ice cream.

Melisa wants to become a veterinarian because she likes animals so much and wants to help them.
Tina wants to become a riding instructor because she likes horses so much and wants to ride a lot.

Suddenly the horse is the centre of attention: Everyone thinks horses are great, want to ride and of course help the horse.
I encourage the girls to paint a horse or a veterinarian at work. They start immediately. They all paint several pictures, for example a horse with a riding instructor or – Laura’s idea – a veterinarian with a ladybird.

Lina says at the end of the painting action:

„But I still prefer to become a singer.“

I find that strong and encourage her in her wish.

At the end of the lesson I offer them trampoline jumping; I know that they all love it. I encourage them to present their favourite jumps. They like to do this and challenge each other to ever more courageous jumps, for example: jumping on one leg, jumping with their knees.

We end the club hour with a short conversation about how we can organize our club hours in the near future. I explain to them that we will meet people with different professions and that we will also meet with the „gentle boys“ and the „great researchers“.

18th club hour:
Lesson together with the „Club of the gentle boys“. We present a profession that is interesting for us pantomimically and let the group guess what it is.

Game: We jump words.
Preview: Joint visit to an (female) architect.

I greet the „Gentle Boys“ in our club. Today (unfortunately only) four power girls and eight gentle boys are present. My colleague, who runs the Club of the Gentle Boys, is on vacation.
We are back in the gym, where the Gentle Boys have only rarely been in their club hours. The girls, on the other hand, have spent most of their club hours here. They know the procedure and the associated rules very well and always keep to them. I seldom have to remind them of agreements because they are reliable and responsible in their actions.

In one part of the gym I laid a circle of mats. When we enter the gym together, the girls take off their slippers and put them together very neatly. This rule was introduced by the girls themselves and is based on the fact that they can sit better on the floor and move more freely without slippers.

The boys behave insecurely and nobody makes the decision to imitate the girls. They stand in the gym, don’t run around and seem to wait.

Before I can take the floor, Lina and Laura explain very correctly, decisively and logically why it is better for them to take off their slippers. The boys do not question the explanations; they take off their slippers and place them just as neatly next to the girls‘ shoes.

I am amazed that the otherwise very noisy Gentle Boys behave so cautiously and even without grumbling and contradicting the invitation by the girls. The gentle boys seem to respect the privilege of the girls in the gym, although the boys are in the majority today.

As an introduction I ask the children which professions they have already got to know. The Soft Boys have also dealt with the subject of occupations in their club hours. They talk about electricians, architects, bicycle mechanics and gardeners. These are professions of the fathers of the gentle boys.

The girls also talk about their parents‘ professions and what they have to do with them, but Lina and Laura also explain their own career aspirations. One of the boys, Lutz, says long drawn out: „I don’t know after all“. He seems to be thinking about what he might become.

Now I ask them to pantomime a profession they are interested in. I ask the girls to explain the game to the boys, since they have played it before.

Then Laura begins, she represents a painter. Most boys now seem more interested and take part in guessing.

Lina plays a singer; guessing this isn’t easy, and the girls have an advantage because they remember Lina’s career aspirations.

The portrayal of Moritz is particularly exciting; he plays a small theatre scene. It’s the gardener’s job, he rakes, plants flowers, water them, converses silently and has almost forgotten the group.

Lutz lays cables, his father is an electrician, Lutz knows his workplace.

Sven builds a house, his father is an architect. He talks enthusiastically about his father.

Two boys don’t take part in the game, but roll around on the mat. I talk to them, but they don’t feel like taking part.

After this concentrated conversation and play, I ask the children to choose another movement game. The girls immediately shout: „We want to jump on the trampoline“ and Lina adds: „We jump on words“.

Some boys have followed the suggestion closely and are now frowning. They probably have no idea what that means. I mediate and say: „The girls show you their game on the trampoline.“

After the first jumps of the girls – they jump their names – some of the Gentle Boys join in joyfully. Some of the boys seem to be afraid at first and make very timid jumps; the group cheers them on to jump higher.

The girls get their ideas about the words they want to jump from the club hours, so they also jump job titles.

Here I notice that the boys find it harder than the girls to jump to the rhythm of the individual syllables. (Maybe it’s just because they’re not so familiar with trampoline jumping yet.) Only Moritz gets it right and wants to jump more and more difficult words. He shouts: „Now I want to jump a word with five syllables.“

Lina answers him immediately: „I have one with six syllables: Fahr-rad-me-cha-ni-ker.“ (Bicycle mechanic.)

Moritz doesn’t even want to stop jumping, he’s thrilled. Lina claps her hands and is just as happy.

Finally, I tell the two clubs that in two weeks we are going to visit Maria, Petra’s mother. We visit her in her office and learn something about her profession: architect. That concludes the club hour.

21st club hour:
(together with the „Gentle Boys“). We discuss the visit to the architect.

We paint a „thank you picture“ and write a letter about it.
Worksheet: (You can print the sheet in the Sheet Collection.)
Movement play with music: Each child gives a movement once.

In a discussion round we exchange information about what information we received about Maria’s profession and how we liked the visit.

Most of the children are enthusiastic about our visit to Maria, although it was not easy to understand her work. She does not draw plans, but supervises schools. She is the planning coordinator for repairs and renovations at the schools in Cologne.

The children still know:
If something is broken in a school, Maria makes sure that it is repaired.

Despite the large group of 18 children (11 boys and 7 girls), the children are amazingly concentrated in our evaluation interview. It is not as quiet and harmonious as when the Power Girls Club meets alone, but I am pleasantly surprised at how the group deals with each other.

Every now and then they try to talk in confusion, but in these situations Elise, Tina and Laura are immediately on the spot and call out to the group: „We all have to be quiet and listen, otherwise we can’t understand each other“.
Lina is rather reserved in these situations and observes intensively what is going on.

Some boys (Felix, Moritz and Lutz) also try to influence the group; they do not participate in disturbances, but help the girls to calm the group down.

It seems that all these children are very interested in a concentrated and undisturbed atmosphere for discussion and work.

Some disorders are caused by the fact that some children (Ayşe, Akay, Leo) want to talk to each other in between because they cannot listen for so long.

We collect everything we know about Maria’s profession. Lina and Felix still know most of the details. For example, they still know that you have to go to school for 13 years to become an architect, then take your Abitur (Baccalaureate) and then study for another 4 years.

After the detailed discussion I encourage the children to paint a picture as a thank you for Maria.

Lina’s picture shows Maria entering a school where some things have broken down:

My impressions from our trip:

Only a few children were intensively involved in the conversations with Maria: Lina, Elise, Laura, Tina as well as Sven, Felix, Lutz and Moritz. These children followed the entire conversation and talked a lot themselves. The other children interfered only occasionally, but were probably overstrained at times or could not concentrate continuously.

But everyone thought it was nice and would go there again. The employees in the town house (municipality) had welcomed the children nicely, for example: „It is nice to see so many children in this house. We took the elevator several times and walked several stairs. The huge town house impressed the children. And Maria invited the children to an ice cream. The trip was also a wonderful experience for the children who didn’t want to know so much about Maria’s profession.

Playing

Now I offer a dance game round as compensation. I am not so sure whether the Soft Boys will accept this. The Power Girls love the use of music and are used to it.

First they should move freely to a very lively music (CD „Monsterquatsch“ – that means Monster Nonsense). I observe that the girls start off confidently and the boys first observe what is expected of them.

The particularly self-confident and versatilely interested boys quickly join in, the others need a little more time to observe. Since they can see that no one is watching or laughing at the other, but everyone is moving with a happy face to the music, they also join in.

Everyone can now adjust well to the task of pretending a movement, which the group then dances after. It becomes a funny, cheerful dance game that lasts almost half an hour until I finish it.

We sit in the circle once more and the children receive a worksheet: sketched houses where the craftsmen have forgotten some things; the children should supplement it.

Lina doesn’t have any problems with it:

You can find the sheet as a copy template in the Sheet Collection.

Here I can experience very different working attitudes:

The girls are used to looking at the sheet first and listening to the task. Most of the boys don’t listen any more as soon as they have received their sheet; they paint on it. When Elise calls into the room: „I know!“, they look up and listen again briefly. The boys are quicker to finish, but make more mistakes, which means they overlook more places that need to be added.
Some children keep coming back to me with their paper and asking if it’s finished. I encourage them to check for themselves whether everything is complete.

It takes about 20 minutes for everyone to finish their paper.

Now we write a letter of thanks to Maria together. Felix is already able to write and is happy to take on this task. The children say their ideas and we select a few sentences that Felix writes down.

The group is now, after almost one and a half hours, exhausted, the power of concentration is exhausted and so I write the last sentence of the letter.

Then followed some more club hours:

22nd club hour:
Visit of a museum („Museum Ludwig“ in Cologne) with guided tour. We look at sculptures of women (Nanas).
23rd club hour:
We look at the plans (floor plans) of the nearby primary school given to us by the architect.
We discuss our visit to the museum and paint our own „Nana“. (Nanas are large sculptures by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), who used the visual language of Pop Art to create sensual, colourfully designed voluminous female bodies.)
Game: Free movement to music.
24th club hour:
Karin’s mother (neurologist) visits us in the club. She tells us about her job and shows us how a neurological examination works.
25th club hour:
Together we summarize our experiences in the „Power Girls´Club“.
Game: Ground fighting on the mat.
26th club hour:
Farewell to the club for the girls who come to school.

Summary of my experiences with the „Power Girls´ Club“

All in all, the 32 club hours has occupied us for almost a whole kindergarten year.

Now there is some melancholy in me to let these so inquisitive, curious, happy and motivated girls go to school.
It was an exciting, inspiring year for me with the Power Girls, I had many positive experiences.

The view that girls in a same-sex group learn in a very cooperative, supportive, understanding and communicative way has been confirmed for me.

 

Certainly, the optimal size of the group (mostly 6 to 8 girls) contributed to a good learning atmosphere, a good togetherness and good learning habits.

Lina
was 5;4 years old at the beginning of the club, now she is 6;2.

She has gained the most self-confidence and courage to think and act independently through the club. She has become more open-minded and cheerful and can better perceive and live out her feelings. She can also approach others more openly and without hesitation.

Lina performed the school test with great self-confidence, speed and perfection. According to her mother, the doctor was surprised and enthusiastic about Lina and her way of working.

Lina hasn’t been a day child for a month; my colleagues and I are watching her gradually withdrawing into kindergarten. In addition, it seems that the imminent farewell to the kindergarten is very much on her mind.

Lina was originally supposed to visit our after-school care, but the parents finally decided against it. Lina has already said several times that unfortunately she would not go to the after-school care.
I think for Lina the group, the various incentives, impressions, possibilities and the exchange with other children and adults would be an enrichment.

Melisa
learned in the club that learning can be fun. Her remark „I don’t know that“, which was often heard in the past, is rarely spoken. She thinks seriously and can be sure that the other girls will listen to her.

Elise and Laura
are still lively, but they have also experienced: I don’t always have to speak first, I can also speak third, and I’m taken seriously and praised. They are very interested in learning to read and write.
Both have temperament, are performance-oriented and question everything that is not quite clear to them.

Tina
was often only fixated on the games and otherwise only used her minimum of skills and endurance, but she also bubbles with joy of life and curiosity.

Ayşe
has made hardly observable developmental steps. In my opinion, she needs special diagnostics and support.

Nina
is still the quietest, but her working posture is very good. She never disturbs and does not want to be the centre of attention. She accepts all offers with pleasure, she implements the tasks, but she does not make any demands of herself or the group.

After my experiences with the Power Girls´ Club, it is desirable to offer girls (besides the self-evident coeducation) also learning fields in which they are among themselves.

It enables them to make full use of their existing potential.

 

Date of publication in German: 2013, September
Copyright © Gabriele Drescher-Krumrey, see Imprint.

 

 

 

Playing around on Paper

by Hanna Vock

 

These sheets were created during my practical work in the kindergarten, drawn freehand. (Exception: Labyrinth in a cake.) My collection included many beautiful tasks, which I do not publish here for copyright reasons.

Sometimes children just feel like solving such tasks. This means that the sheets should be accessible, but never should a child be pushed to work with them.

Here are four examples. You can find more below in the Sheet Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please copy from the Sheet Collection whatever you or your children like.

Editing examples:

1) Example of editing by a girl, 5;3 years old. Most children still have cognitive problems with mirroring at the age of six and would not be able to complete the drawings in this way – correctly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) A boy (4;1) first patiently painted beds for the dwarves. Eventually the desire left him and he also lacked the space, so he found two creative solutions:

 

He built a loft bed with a ladder for Nos. 4 and 3.
No. 1 „can sleep with the No. 2 in the big bed“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) A boy found the leaf pictured below when he was 3;6 years old. In response to his questions: „What is this? What can you do there?“ I explained to him that you can take a pencil and draw a path through the cake with it. That there is only one path – and that if you get lost, you have to turn around and go back until you can take another path. Thereupon he set to work.
The only help he needed was at the top right: „The path goes into the cream dab.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half a year later, the boy (now 4;0) took the sheet again for editing. Now he could handle it all by himself and much faster than the first time:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important, especially for gifted children, that they do not receive such sheets too late:
At the age of five or six, the boy from the previous example would probably have found the cake maze very ludicrous.

The presentation of the examples should also help to make sensible use of the workbooks for preschool children that are available in large numbers on the market, i.e. to make a sensible selection and offer them in a way that suits the child’s cognitive development.

This can also be seen in the example
5). The same boy found the labyrinth below „baby easy“ at 4;1; he did it, but – unlike the cake labyrinth – he did not show a high level of concentration, enthusiasm or satisfaction at having done it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) „Preschool notebooks“ are generally not given to children until they are five or six years old, if at all. Tasks in which numbered dots have to be connected to form a picture are popular.

This sheet was worked on by a much younger child: a boy aged 4;2. As he found it difficult to draw straight lines, he used a ruler for the first time in his life.

He dealt with numbers up to 20 at this time and very soon moved on to large numbers and arithmetic operations.

So now with 4;2 with him it was the right time for this sheet.

Rejection is widespread

I have found a wide variety of opinions on such „worksheets“ among kindergarten teachers.

Some reject them on principle because they seem too one-sided, since they only address cognitive interests. I was then surprised when the same colleagues, for example, had nothing against stilts – even though they (one-sidedly) only address the children’s motor interests. „But practising with catwalks is fun,“ one teacher replied when I pointed out this contradiction. There it was again, the prejudice that cognitive games can’t be fun for children.

I have met other colleagues who reject such sheets because they do not want to focus the children’s cognitive development on them, let alone reduce it.

But this is neither sensible nor necessary. They are gimmicks that excite and challenge some children – no more and no less:

Toys for the little „grey cells“, which the children
can choose very individually and which can be provided additionally without much effort or cost.

 

Date of publication in German: 2012, May
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheet Collection

by Hanna Vock

This is how all houses should look like.
But the craftsmen have forgotten a few things. Can you finish the houses?

Paint a bed for each dwarf.

Distribute biscuits.
Each child wants to have the same number of biscuits. Distribute them fairly.

Lay lines.
Lay electricity cables (red), water pipes (blue) and sewage pipes (brown) in this house.

Generic terms
Tick or draw what belongs together.
And why do the things belong together?

Try not to draw over the lines.

Tension cords.

What does the mirror show?

What does the mirror show?

Labyrinth in a cake.

Date of publication in German: 2012, May
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see Imprint

Jasmin, 3;4 Years Old

by Martina Böckling

 

This article is the first part of a four-part practical report. All four parts together describe the advancement of little Jasmin, who is three years old at the beginning of the report and four years old at the end.

Due to her Tunisian roots, Jasmin struggled with the German language all the time, but nevertheless struck me very early on as being particularly gifted.

The first part of the report, which follows here, describes my observations at the beginning of the support project.

The other parts can be found here:

A 3-Years-Old Girl Wants to Write (German version)

Jasmin (4;7) Is Writing a Story

Three Little Girls Are the „Mind Group“ (German version)

See also:
Giftedness is Not a Happy Problem

Jasmin caught my attention shortly after joining our group because she showed a high level of social skills that seemed unusual for her age.

Now 3;4 years old, she cares a lot about other children. She helps them, observes very closely, gets to know a lot about what is going on in the group, intervenes in disputes and can remember many things that even we adults have difficulties with.
For example, Jasmin always knows which lunch box belongs to which child. We adults can’t remember because the children always have different lunch boxes with them, sometimes they even look similar, and on some days the children also have bread bags from the bakery.
If a lunch box cannot be assigned, we only need to ask Jasmin.

Jasmin notices when a child needs help and then helps immediately, even if she is busy herself.

She has high standards for her „works“, whether she is painting or doing handicrafts. She works very precisely and exactly, she is not always satisfied with the result, then she throws these „works“ into the rubbish.

Very often, Jasmin turns to the older children; she observes them and as soon as an opportunity presents itself, she makes contact. She seeks help from the bigger ones, but also offers her help when she thinks she can or knows better. Jasmin loves to listen to the older boys showing great patience.

She prefers to play table games alone or with an adult. When she plays with her peers, it is noticeable that she dominates the game.

She doesn’t put up with anything from the other children and asserts herself.
If Jasmin notices that a child is being teased or bickered with, she immediately comes to us and lets us know. If we don’t understand her, she drags us to the children in question and wants the situation resolved with our help.

In order to find out whether Jasmin has an above-average giftedness, I read through the Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness and also filled out the „Gelsenkirchen Development Guide“.

Through intensive observation in the group during gymnastics and in the outdoor area, I noticed after completing the „Development Guide“ that Jasmin is very well developed in the area of „social skills“. With a few exceptions, her social behaviour is in the range „5 ½ years to school entry“.

Her fine motor skills are around 4 ½ years old and her gross motor skills are also well advanced.
Only in language she is not yet so far developed, which is due to the fact that Jasmin did not know a word of German when she came to the kindergarten at 2;8, and then she had to learn it. She talks a lot, very fast and is sometimes not understandable.
Her cognitive development, according to the development guide, is sometimes difficult to assess. Jasmin is definitely developed according to her age, but the problem with many points is that she does not understand the task, and this may also be due to her lack of knowledge of German.

First indications of a particular giftedness

I observed Jasmin a lot to find out where her abilities and talents lie.
In doing so, I found some correspondences in the Observational Chart by Joelle Huser:

Re A 1.)
General developmental advantage, great interest in letters and numbers:
1.
Jasmin, like all the other children, has noticed that there are always so-called round robin slips in our kindergarten, which we read through and sign in order to pass them on.
One morning she takes two pieces of paper, draws something on them, comes to me and explains that she has to take them away.

To my question: „Where to?“ Jasmin answers: „To Agnes“ (that’s the head of our kindergarten). Later I found one note on the desk in the office, the other in the kitchen on the sideboard.

When she comes back, she gets a shoebox, cuts off small pieces and draws the same signs on it again. When I ask her what she is doing, she explains that she has to write everything down. Then she runs back to the office, puts down one of the cardboards, draws new ones, takes them to the kitchen, cuts out new ones. The whole thing drags on for over an hour.

2.
There are rain trousers on a cupboard in the hallway and a note that says: „Whose clothes are these?“
Jasmin stops at the cupboard, takes the note, mumbles to herself and asks me, „What does it say?“ I read it to her, she repeats it.

3.
All the children and kindergarten teachers sit in the morning circle. While we teachers are using our song folders with the song texts, I see that Jasmin is sitting down with a piece of paper that she has drawn and written herself and keeps looking at it while singing.

Re A 2.)
Quick perception and curiosity:
1.
Sitting at the table with another child and playing the matching game „Flocards.“ Game description see here: Interesting Games.
Jasmin joins us and wants to work on it too. When the child has finished, Jasmin sits down in his place.
I explain to Jasmin how the game works and she puts two pieces down correctly. Along the way, she listens to what the other children next to her are talking about. She comments on what the children say and again puts down two pieces correctly. Then she gets up, goes to the windowsill, looks at the magnifying glasses that are lying there, comes back, and puts the pieces in the right place again.

This is the first time Jasmin has played this game and I have also played it with other children of a similar age, they did not understand the game.

Since we visited Cologne Zoo months ago, Jasmin has been showing us the animals we saw in books. She can name them, has also remembered details that she can tell us.

2.
In our project „Journey around the world“, the children learn a lot about the country they or their parents come from. Jasmin listens with interest, this day it is about Turkey. She says: „Everyone comes from other countries. Berkay and Umut in Turkey. Me Tunisia.“

Re A 3.)
Orientation to older children and adults:
1.
Most of the time Jasmin chooses adults to play table games with. Very rarely she plays with her peers, occasionally with older people and often she plays alone.

2.
Melisa, a child who will enrol school in this summer, wants to work on a worksheet with the other pre-school children. The preschool children present start working.
Jasmin also wants a worksheet, I give her one that is still left and observe what happens. It is a sheet with different shapes: Circle, triangle, square, which are to be cut out.

Jasmin sits down at the craft table and cuts out a piece, goes to the big ones and watches them.
She comes back, continues cutting while standing and says, „Like this!“ She puts pieces in front of her, goes back to the big kids, watches them, comes back, cuts and stamps her feet. She is apparently not satisfied with the result, crumples up two pieces and throws them into the bin.

Afterwards she cuts out another piece, gives it to me and says she’ll be at school soon.

Course leader’s comment (in IHVO Certificate Course):
It looks like she has compared herself with the older children and realised that she can do all that these children do. Her conclusion to come to school soon as well is logical.

3.
The prospective school children go with me to the perception room, Jasmin wants to go too, she says, „Me too big, going to school soon.“

4.
I sit down at a table with the observation folder to write something down, immediately Jasmin comes with a piece of paper and pen, sits down with it and starts to „write“. When I look at her, she smiles at me and says: „I’m writing too“.

Re A 4.)
Amazing memory ability:
1.
Jasmin plays the game „Cha memo“ with a trainee, this is a picture search game. You turn over cards and have to find a card with a chameleon in matching colour to a depicted object.

Although Jasmin keeps getting distracted, keeps looking around and listening to what is happening in the group room and also comments on it, she manages to win this game.

Course leader’s comment:
Apparently she had not yet reached her upper performance limit; because she did not make any mistakes and did not have to concentrate fully for that. If it had been really difficult for her, she would probably have focused her attention more on the game.

2.
We are sitting in the building corner, about to start a morning circle, when a colleague finds a so-called ziplock bag there. None of us three adults knows where the bag came from. I say to my colleague: „Throw it away.“ Jasmin says very energetically, „No, bag“. She runs to the toy cupboard, picks out a game and says, „Look!“, takes the bag and puts the game pieces in it. Then she puts the game away.

Re A 5.)
Long attention span and strong self-motivation:
When Jasmin is interested in something, she has a long attention span and wants to complete the task as well as possible.
Example: Making a globe.
The children make a globe out of papier-mâché and paint it blue. Then they paint the continents green. Finally, we put a cut-out man on the globe before it is hung up. This work takes three days.

Jasmin works very carefully, so she works longer and more extensively on the globe than all the other children who took part.
Nevertheless, she notices everything that happens in the group room and comments on it as she works.

Re A 6.)
Critical attitude towards one’s own performance – high demands on oneself.
1.
Jasmin judges her work very critically. If she doesn’t like something, she tries to improve it or she throws things away.
Example: Jasmin colours a mandala; then she looks at how Melisa and Kaynat have coloured their mandala (both are budding schoolchildren), takes her mandala and throws it in the rubbish.

2.
In Jasmin’s gymnastics group are the younger children. They are all playing with balls. Jasmin notices after a short time that she can throw but not catch.
When the trainee throws her the ball, she turns away and says, „No, not like that.“ Then she throws the ball and says, „Like this, I will.“

3.
At lunch she realises she can’t cut the meat, she tries for a moment, then gives up and leaves the meat.

Re E 1.)
Particularly good observation and perception skills:
1.
We are in the outdoor area, Jasmin comes running with the hood of a jacket and calls for me. I ask her who the hood belongs to and she says: „Umut“. Then she runs across the whole outdoor area with the hood in her hand and looks for the boy.

2.
Maxim, a new child, doesn’t know where to put his lunch box. Jasmin notices, takes him by the hand, pulls him to the shelf where the lunch boxes are and says: „Maxim, here.“ A short time later, when he wants to have breakfast – Jasmin is having breakfast herself – she gets up and gets him his lunch box.

3.
Jasmin sits at the table and kneads. At the breakfast table, a child has not put his plate away. I ask, „Who ate breakfast last?“ Jasmin answers, „Cansu“.

4.
A couple of three- and four-year-old children are sitting at the painting table. Denise is sticking buttons on a sheet of paper. She spreads a lot of glue over her sheet and the buttons don’t stick. Jasmin sees it, goes to the shelf with the craft supplies, cuts off a piece of paper, goes over to Denise and puts the piece of paper on top of all the glue. Then she pulls it off again and says: „Like this“ and goes back to her place, visibly satisfied.

5.
Amanda sits pale on a chair, Jasmin looks at her, goes to her and asks, „Amanda, sick?“ Amanda nods and points to her head. Jasmin comes to me and says: „Martina, Amanda sick, headache.“

Re E 2.)
High capacity for social adjustment:
It is noticeable that as soon as Jasmin is with children of the same age in the group, she sometimes hides her light under a bushel.

1.
Amanda asks for help with her puzzle, Jasmin also does the puzzle and says: „I can’t either“, although she has done this puzzle many times before.

2.
Sameer has difficulty putting away a game, Jasmin now also fails to put away her game and also asks for help.

Re E 4.)
Strong sense of justice – high sensitivity:
1.
Sameer is scolded for not tidying up the building corner. Now Jasmin comes to my colleague indignantly and scolds her in turn: „Sameer doesn’t have to clean up, Berkant does.“ She had noticed that Berkant had cleared out the things.

2.
Lisa’s nose is running, she doesn’t notice. Jasmin gets her a handkerchief and gives it to her.

3.
The five-year-old boys get into an argument about who can go to the gym. Berkay is excluded by the others, he starts crying. Three-year-old Jasmin goes up to them and says, „Berkay can go to the gym, Berkay is crying.“

4.
Jasmin is scolded by a colleague because she has been playing in the doll corner but it is not tidy. Jasmin starts to cry. It turns out that Jasmin cleaned up a lot by herself while the other children watched. She left the rest for the others.
I could give many more examples of the last points (E), but I have to limit them for reasons of space.

I want to find out more about Jasmin

Jasmin came to our kindergarten 11 months ago, at that time she couldn’t speak a word of German, she had to learn it first. She quickly acquired German skills, can find her way around the group and interact with the children and us kindergarten teachers.

Very often she still uses two-word sentences. When we teachers ask her more precisely because we don’t understand her, it can happen that she stops talking and seems unsure.

I have noticed that Jasmin is good with terms but refuses to talk in complete sentences, she often talks in sentence fragments.

I would like to find out if Jasmin is afraid to speak in front of the others, if she can’t do it or if she doesn’t use her skills.

To do this, I wanted to try to have a longer conversation with her. The day before, I had read the three-year-olds a picture book story of „Bobo Siebenschläfer“, this is a picture story with very few and simple texts from the children’s sphere of life; the children told what they saw in the pictures.

Since Jasmin likes to do things alone with me, I plan to go into the next room with her and talk to her about the story again in peace and quiet, without her being distracted by what is going on in the group.
Jasmin is aware of so much that is happening around her that I hope she will talk a lot more in the next room if it is just the two of us looking at the story again.

In the next room, Jasmin takes the book and turns the pages. I ask her if she can still remember the story and she mumbles something to herself that I can’t understand. When I ask again, she says, „Girl sing.“

I try to motivate her to talk again, but when she stands by the window and starts singing, it is clear to me that she has no interest in talking about the story.

She sits down again, grabs the book, flips the pages and says, „Drop Bobo“ (she means a mug of cocoa that Bobo dropped) flips through the book some more. I repeat her statement, she smiles at me.
Now she shows me the page with the information about the author and says: „Read it“.

I read a little about the author, Jasmin takes my pad and pen and starts drawing.
I ask: „What are you doing“? Her answer is: „Writing“.
„I’m writing: all the children there“. She draws signs and says, „Berin da, Berkay da, Yusuf da, Amanda da.“ She lists the names of all the children who are there.
She continues drawing and then says, „Sameer best friend, Denise best friend, Amanda too.“
Then she counts „1, 3, 5, 7“ and says, „All the children there.“

I point to a sign and ask, „What’s that called?“ She promptly replies, „Amanda.“ I point to another and she says the name: „Sameer“. Then she shows me where it says „Martina“.
Now she wants me to write too. I write down a few names and Jasmin looks at me, smiles and says, „Good.“

Evaluation and interpretation of the observations

Jasmin was neither interested in talking about the story nor in hearing a new one.
She decided that she wanted to do something else and showed me that she notices very precisely which children are present in the group and that she would like to write this down.
I did not achieve my goal of finding out whether Jasmin can also talk in complete sentences, but she showed me once again how good her observation skills are and that she has a great interest in writing.

Through the observations, I noticed that Jasmin has high expectations of herself.

She avoids all things that she feels she cannot yet adequately cope with.
Jasmin’s command of the German language was not such that she could talk to me about the story, so she quickly deflected and picked up what she was sure she could handle.
For only learning German for a few months, she can already do it well, but I suspect she perceives how well the other children speak German.
I think the whole situation was a bit unfortunate. Jasmin did enjoy going into the next room alone with me, but she didn’t want to talk about the story. She deflected, and when I responded, she showed me her observational skills. She counted up all the children present without being able to see them and wrote down their names.

„Writing“ gives Jasmin a lot of pleasure, she is the only child in our group who makes an attempt to write the children’s names. You have to remember, she is only 3;4 years old.
At the same time, it became clear to me: What Jasmin doesn’t want, she doesn’t do. I have experienced this behaviour when dealing with the mother, in the kindergarten she has not shown it yet.

Comment by the course leader:
Perhaps Jasmin also „smelled a rat“ and felt that she was being put to the test. An alternative strategy could have been to deepen a thread of conversation which she in turn picks up. In any case, a strong tendency towards self-determination is evident.

Further course of events

One day later I played the game „Ratzolino“ with her and Amanda.
There are small wooden objects on the table, such as car, carrot, squirrel, etc., not so common terms – and Jasmin was able to name them all. I told a little story in which the objects appeared. Jasmin and Amanda were supposed to quickly take the objects as soon as they were named.
Of the 17 items, Jasmin grabbed 14.
I didn’t expect that, Jasmin knows a lot more terms than she shows us in everyday life. I suspect that we often underestimate her and also underchallenge her.
I will take this into account in the next offers.

I had a surprising experience three days later. I sat down on our sofa in the reading corner. Immediately Jasmin came, grabbed the book „Regenbogenfisch“ (Rainbow Fish) and sat down with it.
She showed me the first page and said, „Rainbow fish, lots of scales.“ On several pages she showed and told me what she saw.

This was the first time Jasmin had taken a picture book and talked about it. Maybe my picture story did contribute after all.
In summary, I can say that we will have a few more surprises with Jasmin, and I am looking forward to that.

Date of publication in German: 2015, February
Copyright © Martina Böckling, see imprint

 

A Story Written by a Seven-Year-Old

by Hanna Vock

 

When I was still working in kindergarten, a girl who was now in Grade 2 gave me the following story, which I find not only well written, but also demonstrates a fine sense of humour.

Here again in typed form, for easier reading (and below that the translation into English and the comments of the author):

Ich wohnte in einer sehr gepflegten Wohnung mit einem Mann zusammen. Er verwöhnte mich sehr. Doch eines Tages erschrak ich, denn ich hörte mein Herrchen zu seinem Freund sagen: „Ich will den alten Dackel verkaufen!“ Aber immerhin sagte er: „Für 3000 Mark.“ Ich war also doch noch etwas wert
Der Freund sagte darauf: Du bist wohl verrückt! 3000 Mark bekommst du nie für einen Dackel!“
Lange Zeit hörte ich nichts mehr von dem Thema. Doch ungefähr nach 3 Wochen sah ich, wie mein Herrchen einen Zettel schrieb. Darauf stand:
Junger, munterer Dackel für 3000 Mark zu verkaufen!

Weiter konnte ich nichts lesen, weil er mich aus dem Zimmer brachte. Diesen Zettel wollte er wahrscheinlich am Supermarkt aufhängen.

Nach 2 Tagen kam der erste Bewerber. Mein Herrchen fragte zuerst nach dem Geld. Der Bewerber sagte: „Ich habe es nicht in bar, aber ich habe zwei Hühner im Wert von je 1500 Mark dabei.“

Mein Herrchen ging doch tatsächlich auf den Vorschlag ein zu tauschen. Ich war empört!

 

English version:
I lived in a very neat flat with a man. He spoiled me very much.
(Here, I’m sure many readers think the narrator is a woman, and one wonders how the seven-year-old gets such ideas…. Maybe it was even intentional to mislead the reader).

But one day I was startled, for I heard my master say to his friend, „I want to sell the old dachshund!“
(Now it becomes clear who is telling the story…)

But at least he said, „For 3,000 marks.“ So I was worth something after all.

(Here we witness an old dachshund trying to console himself).

The friend said: „You must be crazy! You’ll never get 3000 marks for a dachshund!“
For a long time I heard nothing more about the subject.

But about 3 weeks later I saw my master writing a note. It said:
„Young, lively dachshund for sale for 3000 marks!“

(How businesslike! The old dachshund is advertised as young and lively, which suggests that the seven-year-old author has some critical knowledge of the world).

I couldn’t read anything else because he took me out of the room. He probably wanted to post this note at the supermarket.

(The story develops and stays consistent with the dachshund’s thoughts…)

After 2 days the first applicant came. My master first asked for the money. The applicant said, „I don’t have it in cash, but I have two chickens worth 1500 marks each with me.“

(A surprising, funny turn of events…)

My master actually went along with the suggestion to swap. I was outraged!

(The story was told consistently from the dachshund’s point of view right to the end and was well to the point. Amazing!)

 

Date of publication in German: 2016, November
Copyright © Hanna Vock

 

Jasmin (4;7) Is Writing a Story

by Martina Böckling

 

Jasmin is now 4;7 years old, she likes to visit the kindergarten and has made great progress in her development.

She learns a lot about the group events and also notices events that even we kindergarten teachers don’t register.

Jasmin always amazes me with her good memory, she remembers things that we adults quickly forget. She rapidly recognizes and remembers recurring structures and rituals, helping children who have forgotten them.

Jasmin is able to perceive and respond to the needs and sensitivities of others very well. She shows consideration, offers help and explains to the other children what is going on.

…in a nutshell…

Jasmin wants to continue learning how to write what she started in the previous project.
The author combines this interest with the idea of writing a story with Jasmin in which Jasmin can express her own wishes; because she cares a lot about others, but rarely expresses what she wants herself.

Since Jasmin loves princesses and would probably prefer to be one herself, the project begins with various picture books about princesses.
Finally, Jasmin develops and writes her own story.
The author decides in favour of an individual grant in order to be able to deal exactly with Jasmin.

Read more about Jasmin:

Jasmin, 3;4 Years Old

A 3-Years-Old Girl Wants to Write (German version)

Three Little Girls Are the „Mind Group“ (German version)

Founding the topic

As well as Jasmin can put herself into others‘ shoes, she seems to perceive and express little of her own needs. I’ve rarely seen Jasmin express herself in terms of what she wants. For example, she takes games, but rarely says what she wants.

Jasmin likes to be involved in everything, but is always busy taking care of other children’s well-being.

She only insists that she regularly „works“ with me alone or in a small group. This is important to her and she expresses it very energetically.

If Jasmin is not well, something does not suit her or she has other difficulties, she shows physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach pains. It can also happen that she gets tired. Although these symptoms have decreased recently, they have not yet completely disappeared.

It is noticeable that this does not occur when she is challenged or when she appears very satisfied.

Due to her good ability to observe, Jasmin reacts much more sensitively to people or situations than the other children in the group.

In conversations with her mother it became clear to me that Jasmin at home does not find the peace and balance she needs. Due to a lot of visiting relatives, who often stay for days in the small apartment, and due to problems the mother has, there is a restless climate.
Jasmin’s good manners towards her relatives are very important to her mother; Jasmin’s needs and desires are apparently not well received. Despite the often difficult circumstances, it is important to the mother that Jasmin is well and she tries to fulfill many material wishes.

However, the mother mentioned that Jasmin is often very cheeky at home, a behaviour we don’t even know from kindergarten.

I think it is important for Jasmin to be able to express her wishes in the kindergarten and to assert them more strongly.

Jasmin herself keeps saying that she wants to „work“ with me. By this she means that she writes. The normal group routine with all its offers is not enough for her.

I made various offers, she was enthusiastic about them, but again and again there was a very energetic desire to continue writing.

I wanted to fulfill this wish for her. At the same time it was important to me that Jasmin learns to express and enforce her wishes so that she no longer needs the physical complaints.

In order to challenge Jasmin, I thought about thinking up a story with her, in which her wishes also appear, and writing it down.
Since Jasmin could only write her name independently until the beginning of the project, but she had already had the previous experience of the sounds and letters (see: A 3-Years-Old Girl Wants to Write (German version), I wanted to find out what Jasmin could achieve.

Goals that should be achieved

    • Jasmin is able to express their wishes and needs.
    • Jasmin is able to enforce them.
    • Jasmin develops her writing skills.
    • Jasmin continues to gain self-confidence.

While in the last projects the focus was always on small group work, I have decided to do an individual support with Jasmin in this project.

On the one hand, I would like to give Jasmin the peace and quiet she has neither at home, nor in the group, nor in the small group.

In the small group it is Raman and Berin who talk a lot and are able to speak faster than Jasmin.

Since this time it is important to me that Jasmin recognizes their needs, individual support is important.
Jasmin dares to do a lot more if she doesn’t have to be considerate, and in addition, Berin quickly drives her over the mouth. In such moments Jasmin withdraws and sometimes cries.

I also noticed that Jasmin adapts very much to the small group. In my opinion she doesn’t really show what she is capable of.
She has a lot of consideration for Amanda, and she doesn’t dare to do much with the others.
Jasmin has shown in recent projects that she can be much more persistent than the other children in the small group.
This led to her getting into an argument with Berin every now and then.

It is important to me that Jasmin does not have to deal with the other children in this project work.

Comment of the course leader:
A sensible approach.

I myself can adjust better to Jasmin and challenge her when I am alone with her. Since I have built up a very good and intensive relationship with her, I hope that she will now be able to show what she still has to offer.

See also:

One-on-One Advancement, Mentoring (German version)

Preliminary considerations

Over a year ago, the „Gelsenkirchen Development Guide“ was filled out for Jasmin. Now I want to use this questionnaire to check how far Jasmin has developed in the areas of language, cognitive development, social competence, fine motor skills and gross motor skills since then.

In the evaluation it becomes clear that Jasmin is now developed in the (German) language according to age. In everyday life, however, it becomes clear that Jasmin is still missing many terms and that even the sentences are often not yet correctly formed.

In the area of cognitive development, it is noticeable that she (at the age of 4;7) shows  more than half of the skills that apply to children from 5 1/2 years to school enrolment.

What is striking about social competence is that it meets almost all the requirements of the category of 5 1/2 years olds until they start school.

Even in the case of fine motor skills, some requirements can already be fulfilled by her up to the time of enrolment.
In gross motor skills it is developed according to age.

Questionnaire on Child´s Interests

In order to have a good starting point for the new project, I wanted to go through the Questionnaire on Child´s Interests again with Jasmin.

Since Jasmin tends to distract attention in conversations very quickly, I decided to grab her by her strength so that she could concentrate on our conversation.

The task was: „Jasmin, listen carefully and think about the questions“.
Since Jasmin likes to think, she was there with zeal. After every question she answered, she crossed out the question number with a pen.

Contrary to the first processing of the questionnaire – about a year ago – it became clear that she now loves to play regular games and to write.
The number of her playmates has doubled and writing continues to be her favourite activity.
While she used to call „painting“ her skill, today she can „write and learn“.
Her wish is to be able to „think“ even better.

Comment of the course leader:
However, this is a typical desire for a gifted child. At this age, thinking itself is only an object of one’s own thinking for very few children.

She finds it nice to play alone in kindergarten and doesn’t like it when big girls annoy her when she plays in the movement hall or in the big corridor. Last year, she found puzzling difficult, now she finds it difficult when she misspelled letters.

When asked what annoys her, it was Amanda a year ago. Today she is annoyed that Raman only wants to play with Yusuf. When I asked her what was bothering her about it, it became clear that she wanted to play with Raman herself.

Her favourite toy is everything to do with princesses (she told me many things she would like to have in this context).
She also likes to see princesses on TV, preferably when they dance.

I didn’t get an answer to the question of what she would still like to learn or what she is proud of. Jasmin smiled – probably because she already gave the answer, she wants to write and think and nothing more!

Later she wants to become a dancer – and when she meets an old woman, she would ask her for letters.

When I look at these answers, Jasmin expressed her wishes very clearly.
She wants to write more, want to play with Raman and she wants to think more.

After this conversation Jasmin left the room very content, not without encircling all the fields on the sheet „What things do you like to do?“ with the symbol for yes. She considered every question very carefully and then circled it.

Naturalistic observation

Jasmin, Berin and Juline (all similar ages) sit at the table in the next room and wait for lunch.

Juline and Berin talk and get louder and louder. Juline has a very high voice, which increases in pitch and Berin finally screams to say something. Jasmin becomes more and more silent and says nothing more. After some time she starts crying, it takes some time until the others notice it.

Here it becomes clear that Jasmin cannot tolerate too much volume well, but is not able to say that the screaming disturbs her. Instead, she cries.

See also: Modes of Observation

Participant observation

Berin, Jasmin and I sit at the table in the group room and play the „beaver game“. The game is about pulling blocks from a stack without the beaver lying on it falling down.
Jasmin pulls a block, the stack collapses and the beaver falls down.
Berin starts: „Well, Jasmin, you should have thought better about that, you pulled out the wrong block. So, you see, this happens, now everything is broken. Only because of you. You have to think better.“
Jasmin listens to the talk in amazement, gets sad and says: „Yes, that’s true.“ She seems very unhappy.

Here it becomes clear that Jasmin is scolded in an inappropriate way, but she is not able to defend herself. Instead, she becomes sad and also agrees.

Evocative observation

Jasmin sits at the painting table and writes her name, and she paints circles. After a few minutes she stops and looks at her paper.
I sit opposite her, watch her and when she notices that I am watching her, she smiles at me.
„Jasmin, what are you doing“, I ask.
„Martina, I want to think.“
„What would you like to think about?“
„I want to think of a princess“, replies Jasmin.
I ask: „What would you like to think about a princess?“
Jasmin: „Princess is beautiful and can do anything and may wish for anything.“

„Would you like to hear something about princesses and talk about it?“ I ask.
She rejoices and shouts: „Yes, princess.“
I promise her.

With this observation it becomes clear that for Jasmin a princess has everything that she would like or would like to have and dares to do.

That’s why I decided that the content of the project should be about princesses.

Course of the project

In order to give Jasmin the reliability to work with her and to get her consent for individual support, I said to her:
„Jasmin, I know that you want to work and learn a lot. Unfortunately, we don’t manage in the group that you can work as much as you want. What do you think if we both would pull ourselves out of the group room more often and think and work together?“

Jasmin shines and shouts: „Yes, both of us, we are working, great, Martina, great!“
She jumps through the group room and shouts and sings: „I’m going to work with Martina, elelele.“

Picture book view

The book: „I want friends!“ from the Little Princesses series by Tony Ross

The story is about the little princess who enroles school expecting to find many friends. All the children she approaches reject her and she experiences that nobody wants to play with her. Other children are similar and so all „children without friends“ sit, eat and play together.
The little princess invites all „children without friends“ to her home. Now the other children also want to come, the princess puts on her infamous, sinister face and allows it generously.

I chose this book because it is about friendship, but also about rejection. I know that Jasmin would like to be friends with Raman, and I wanted to talk to her about it.

In the course of the picture book view, Jasmin told me that Raman and Yusuf don’t let her play along more often and that she thinks it’s stupid.
She is very interested in the story and when the „children without friends“ eat and play together, she looks at me and says: „But Martina, they are friends now“.
She shakes her head at the fact that the „children without friends“ don’t understand that they are all friends after all.

Jasmin describes very precisely what happens in the book, but also wants me to read her every page.
When all the children show up in the castle and the little princess introduces her friends to her bewildered mother, Jasmin laughs and says: „Home is nice to have friends.“
When I asked her if she would take friends home with her, she laughed: „Martina, you can’t go, there’s no room.“

The next morning Jasmin asks me if she can play outside. To my question: „With whom then?“ she smiles at me and whispers: „With Raman“.
It was clear to me that he didn’t know anything about it yet, because he was playing with Yusuf in the construction corner.
The interesting thing for me was that Jasmin never goes outside to play unless the whole group goes outside. But she knew that Raman liked to play outside.
I was curious to see what she would do now.

Jasmin went to the building corner and said, „I’m going out. Raman, do you want to go?“
Yusuf said to her, „Raman is playing with me.“
Jasmin replied, „We can all go outside.“
Yusuf: „I can go out with Raman.“
Jasmin explained: „But I’ve already asked, I can go and you can go.“

Raman looks at his building, to Jasmin he says: „Okay, let’s all go outside, but we still have to clean up.“
They started to clean up, Jasmin was visibly happy. Unfortunately, during the tidying up process, new game situations developed, so that the children didn’t manage to get out in the end.

At least Jasmin started the attempt. She thought about how she could get Raman to go outside with her.
Jasmin has clarified that she can go outside, she has invited Raman and also Yusuf (she knew that she can’t persuade Raman to do it alone).
Jasmin took the initiative, it was very thoughtful and it did her good that Raman wanted to go out with her.

Stories from: „Many Little Princess Stories“
by Sabine Cuno and Stefanie Dahle

Three times I withdrew with Jasmin to read her short stories about different princesses.
She listened very carefully, she thought along and I had interesting conversations with her.
We thought about what it would be like if Jasmin was a princess and she told:

– Then she would be called Arielle.
– Then everyone should come to her home to celebrate her birthday.
– Then she would have a big princess room, a ring, lots of toys, lots of barbies.
– She would live in a castle right next to the kindergarten.
– She could play piano.
– She would sleep all alone.

Later she told me that she wanted to have more friends.

She asked me: „Martina, Uschi is your friend, isn’t she?“

I affirmed a little perplexed and explained to her that Uschi was my work colleague and my girlfriend.
I was puzzled because even colleagues had not yet noticed this.
This showed me once again how exactly Jasmin perceives and can classify her observations.
She wanted to know why we are friends and I told her that Uschi and I do a lot of things together and that we often like the same things.

Jasmin asked exactly what we do together and also how we make contact after the kindergarten. Her questions were very concrete and I tried to give her concrete answers.
Jasmin wanted to understand exactly how the friendship with Uschi works, she wanted to have everything explained very precisely.

I have never had such a conversation with a child of this age. Her exact asking about a friendship relationship showed me how far and how much Jasmin already thinks.

Comment of the course management:
… and reflect, question, analyse and get information from a more experienced person (you). Reflections, which occur with most at the earliest with puberty.

All in all I can say that we had a lot of fun and laughed a lot.

After these conversations she was always in a very good mood and jumped into the group room. She answered the other children’s questions about what we were doing: „Martina and I, we think“.
From the other children an „Aha“ came, but none of them asked more precisely.

During the last conversation Jasmin decided that she also wanted to have girlfriends and she made it clear:

– We don’t always do what Berin, Amanda and Juline want.
– Everyone can decide.
– I can also do something on my own.

She now had very concrete ideas of what she wanted, and I was curious to see how she would implement them.

Creation of her own „Princess Story“

I suggested that Jasmin could write her own story.
My thought was that she could incorporate her wishes there and also make progress in learning to write.

She was very happy about the idea. She was thinking out loud about what to include in the story, while I was noting down key points.
We met twice in total to write the story.

We thought about short sentences and I wrote the words to her. Jasmin then wrote them off, always including the sounds. Example: The word „ARIELLE“.
An A like Affe (monkey), then an R like Raman, an I like Igel (hedgehog), an E like Esel (donkey), an L like lamp, another L and another E like Esel (donkey).

Just this writing with naming of the letters made Jasmin much joy. She expressed the wish to include „princess stickers“ in the story.

At the first page of the story she asked me to write three words, she said that she couldn’t.
She then wrote all the following words herself.

I read to her what she had thought about. Some things she didn’t want to have in the story anymore, other things we had to add, for example „Arielle likes shoes“.

On both days she wrote two pages in half an hour and wanted to stop afterwards. She ran with the leaves into the group room and proudly showed them around.

I suggested that she laminate the leaves and bind them as a book so that she could read the story in the final circle. Jasmin happily accepted the idea.

Review of objectives

Jasmin has achieved the goals I set for her. From the beginning Jasmin had clear wishes and needs, which she was aware of, but she could not express them and enforce them.

To goal 1:
Jasmin is able to express her wishes and needs.

Jasmin was able to perceive the sensitivities of others well and also to respond to them. She showed consideration, offers of help and a lot of understanding.
Her interpersonal intelligence is apparently very pronounced.

Her own sensitivities were expressed in crying or headaches and stomach pains, sometimes she moaned about tiredness.

In the conversations with her, which were very intensive and long, she showed great perseverance, even though it was always difficult for her to enter the discussion due to her (German) language difficulties.

At the beginning of the project she could not and did not want to talk about her wishes. The „medium“ princess was well suited to get into conversation with her.
She was very interested in the topic. With time she became more and more open and dared to ask questions.

The entire kindergarten group noticed that Jasmin now dared to express wishes and needs.
Examples:
1.
When the lunch was distributed, Jasmin said to our trainee: „I don’t like chips, I want more sausage, also salad.“ Before she always let herself be given everything.

2.
Jasmin plays a memory game with Nele. Berin comes to the facility and interrupts both of them constantly. Again and again she speaks to Jasmin.
After a short time Jasmin says that she now wants to play with Nele and doesn’t pay any attention to Berin anymore.

To goal 2:
Jasmin is able to enforce her needs and wishes.

Since Jasmin could not express her wishes, it was also difficult for her to implement them.
The other children or even adults could not fulfill her wishes, which probably led to frustration situations for Jasmin again and again.

It is still the case today that Jasmin does not express many of her wishes and needs, but she has begun to do so.

Examples:
1.
Jasmin told her mother that she needed books. The mother explained that Jasmin had enough books (she has books about ships, cars and fish). Jasmin made it very clear to her mother that she needed other books and suggested that she buy the books together.

Comment of the course leader:
We don’t know what the financial situation of the family is like. Such a direct demand is certainly a great step forward for Jasmin and desirable.
But if this embarrasses her mother, then it would be important to act as a mediator. You should explain that – regardless of the solution found – it is an important developmental step for Jasmin to be able to be so demanding.

It would be important not to leave the mother alone with it. Otherwise she might think at the end that you would make her daughter „rebellious“.

Can the children borrow picture books from you (e.g. over the weekend)?
To supervise such a borrowing library could perhaps also be a task for Jasmin. And she would get a lot of „reading material“.

2.
Jasmin wanted to listen to a CD together with Amanda in the next room and dance to it.

Kevin, one of the elder and very, very energetic boys, decided that he wanted to go to the next room with his friends.
I heard a loud discussion and stood at the door.
Jasmin had stood up in front of Kevin and said: „Kevin, I want to dance with Amanda, I was here first.“
Amanda confirmed this. Kevin yelled out loud: „I want to play here!“

Jasmin saw me and asked: „Martina, I’m here first?“
I made it clear that she was first in the next room and escorted Kevin and his friends out.
This was the first time that Jasmin prevailed over Kevin.

3.
Jasmin, Berin and Juline played up in the big hall. After being downstairs for some time, two girls from another group complained that the three hadn’t cleaned up.
My colleague, who was standing at the door, looked at our girls questioningly.
Jasmin replied, „No, we cleaned up our things, you’ll have to clean up the rest“.
The girls left again.

All in all, one can say that Jasmin is well on her way to fulfilling her wishes and needs.

Goal 3:
Jasmin develops her writing skills further

Jasmin was able to copy her name and a few words before this project.
Although it wasn’t easy for her, she wrote the story on two days.
She repeated the letters over and over again and after some time she could write an I, an E, an L and an A without having to look at the letters.
On the first day she wanted to stop after one page. I said to her that she could still do a little.

After two pages her attention could no longer be drawn to the story, she got up, changed the subject, went through the room and made it clear to me that she wanted to stop now.
The same thing happened on the second day.

When the story was finished, she wanted to write a few more words the next day.
She wrote the words: KETTE (chain), MAMA, UHR (clock), dad, princess, melody, ARIELLE and SCHLOSS (castle).
I prescribed these words to her after she had given them to me.

To goal 4:
Jasmin continues to gain self-confidence.

Jasmin has gained a lot of self-confidence. She is able to assert some of her wishes, she is confident with Berin and Juline and dares to contradict the big boys.
I could see that she only looked at a dispute between Amanda and Berin without intervening. She herself painted at the painting table while the two were arguing over colored pencils. Normally she would have intervened and tried to clarify the situation, but this time she only listened and watched briefly to continue her work.

Another time two children fought over a chair. Jasmin was sitting at this table and earlier she would have tried to settle the dispute.
This time she smiled and started counting the children: „Ene, mene, miste…“.
The two children were so surprised that they gave up fighting over the chair.

At the moment she often seems to be doing something on her own – without the restlessness she used to show. Jasmin used to start a lot without finishing anything, but now she seems much calmer.
She plays alone, but she also plays with other children just as often. Both are apparently okay for her.
This was one of the wishes she had for herself and which she has now clarified for herself.

On the whole, I can say that Jasmin has made great progress through individual employment, she has been able to open up and develop. No other child hindered her and she was able to develop her abilities.

Comment of the course leader:
We think it’s very good that at this point in Jasmin’s development you decided to do one-to-one support. It was obviously the method what she needed now to move forward.

Planning for the future

The topic „writing“ is definitely still important for Jasmin.

I will create a box with words that Jasmin and the other children in the writing group can take and work with again and again.
At the „Didacta“ education fair, I bought strips of letters. Here the letters are placed one after the other on a strip. A picture is drawn for each letter, for example A – Apfel (apple) or B – Birne (pear).

I will make these stripes and also their writing exercise booklets directly accessible to the children. So now that the children have received a lot of instruction, they are no longer dependent on me to take time for them.

Comment of the course leader:
The best teacher makes himself superfluous over time.

    • This gives Jasmin the opportunity to develop her letter writing skills, and she doesn’t have to wait for us to withdraw.
    • Letter games will be used to consolidate and develop what we have learned.
    • Jasmin will present her story to all children in the final circle, she is looking forward to it.
    • 4-years-old Jasmin will be present at the excursions with the children who enrole school this summer (as well as Raman and Yusuf).

All in all I can say that Jasmin is developing rapidly and is now showing her talents.

At the moment she is not so restless anymore and shows no physical weaknesses, the tiredness has disappeared.

Comment of the course leader:
The somatisation has obviously become superfluous.

For Jasmin it is very important to continue to challenge and encourage her, this can be done on individual basis well as in small groups.

Since Jasmin has just enjoyed the „thought conversations“ and that they helped her on, I will take some time every now and then to withdraw with her.

See also: Three Little Girls Are the „Mind Group“. (German version)

 

Date of publication in German: 2015, March
Copyright © Martina Böckling, see Imprint