by Alexa Kreitlow
Over the years we have continuously improved a grid for a developmental report which we have created ourselves. On the basis of several already existing grids of such developmental reports I have come up with a draft myself a number of years ago. Since then it has been optimised yearly to incorporate new ideas and experiences contributed by all our colleagues.
We are now quite fond of it and would like to publicise the sheet for other kindergartens to use, if they like.
And this is how we work with it:
Our colleagues fill in observations throughout the entire length of a child’s kindergarten attendance. By now we have a stationary computer in every group; this makes things a lot easier, because all insightful observations and evaluations can be typed in without great delay.
This proves especially useful in parent consultations as there is always a detailed base of observations at hand.
Towards the end of kindergarten attendance a final report is drafted from this information. It is the group’s main kindergarten teacher and I who share this important responsibility.
The completed report then serves as the basis for the final parent consultation. With this they get a detailed evaluation of their child’s developmental state, and they can also forward it to the school if they deem it wise to do so and have enough trust in the teacher.
We have not only seen parents hesitate to do so if their child’s developmental report was not entirely as positive as was Nora’s report (see below). But even her parents had to overcome their hesitation because they did not want to “show off” with their child.
Example: The developmental reports of Nora and Victor
Nora – her name has been changed – was discovered to be extraordinarily talented early on in our focus kindergarten for the advancement of gifted children. Victor – his name has been changed too – had always had more problems than Nora, but he too is an endearing and interesting child.
Needless to say, we write no less detailed reports about all other children in our kindergarten.
Both reports have been joined for the manual, so that they can be read in direct comparison.
Name of child: Nora / Victor (names changed)
Ages: Nora was 5;11 at the time the report was issued, Victor was 6;1
Period of observation: August 2007 – July 2012 (same for both children)
Emotional state, prevailing mood, temperament:
Nora is a friendly and open-minded child. She is mostly in a good mood when she comes to kindergarten. She is calm, but she can also be quite jolly when she is together with her friends. Sometimes she withdraws, as she also likes to spend some time by herself in peace and quiet.
Victor, when together with his friends, is mostly jolly and even a little wild. When he is by himself he can be all absorbed in his very own world.
He often reacts rather impulsively and is easy to agitate. His prevailing mood can be described as unstable. Oftentimes he is uncompromising, even towards himself. His mood swings can be very abrupt.
At the age of one year he regularly had affective spasms, which he does not do any more.
Individual emotional susceptibility:
Nora will clearly show her joy or disapproval. She does not get simply swept away with the mood swings in the group, but rather displays her own independent moods.
Victor: When approached with ideas and suggestions as to how the day might be spent he is sceptical and reserved. In his early days at kindergarten he often confined himself to the role of the observer and would not join activities. It is very difficult to motivate him, especially so if he is not exactly interested in a given activity. He can be inapproachable and sometimes will not listen to reason. However, if something is right up his alley he is quick to join and gets easily excited about it.
Capability of experiencing:
Nora gets emotionally and mentally deeply involved when it comes to topics she is interested in. Certain activities will captivate her entirely, for instance specific books or role playing. She once organised her own wedding together with a kindergarten friend of hers and eventually got the entire kindergarten involved in her wedding preparations.
Victor gets emotionally and mentally deeply involved in experiences. Specific activities will captivate him to a point where he inquires into the last details. For example the topics cosmos, cars and nature. When he looks into a book all by himself he often gets captivated by the images and comes up with his own theories and stories.
Capability of social bonding:
Nora came to our kindergarten when she was one year old. Her acclimatisation process was smooth and she quickly established close relationships with her kindergarten teachers as well as with the other children. Soon she had found a close friend and this friendship was rather tight. Even though that girl has left our kindergarten two years ago Nora still speaks of her regularly. Nora disposes of a fully developed capability of bonding and she is able to establish long lasting emotional relationships.
Victor was one year old when he came to our kindergarten. His acclimatisation phase was – with respect to his age – rather short and he quickly established relationships with the adults.
Contact with children seemed more difficult. When dealing with other children he is still very uncompromising. In his first years he had an elder friend who was his role model. By now he does have a small circle of friends. Sometimes his friends find him too stressful though, and they temporarily withdraw from him. He is oblivious to their interests and disinclinations. Often there is a lack of social and emotional mutuality. Nevertheless, he is quite popular in his group.
Nora is aware of her strengths and weaknesses and therefore acts quite self-confidently. She tends to have high expectations of herself.
Even as a very small child she had this self-confidence and always knew how to get her way.
Victor is rather egocentric and fights for his rights. He tends to have high expectations of himself. These high expectations are often coupled with fears of failure, which then leads to his avoidance of difficult tasks. If something is not done as according to the usual routine he often shows insecurity and does not want to participate. This happens regularly with excursions. He then looks for some reason for not coming along, even if the destination of the trip does interest him.
Nora keeps up lasting friendships in the group, she shows her social competence through leadership qualities and her organising ability. In group games she often structures the activities. In situations of conflict she mediates and shows empathy. She is tolerant and helpful.
Migrating to the group of the 25 oldest children was not easy for her at first. By now she has learned to deal with the higher energy level in that group and she has got a good standing there too.
Victor: As an infant he had trouble to interact with his peers of age. To this day he has got little understanding of social signals.
When playing he wants to be the leader most of the time and his conduct is very dominant. If he does not get his way he can be rather provocative or keeps up a distempered mood for quite a while. In conflicts he is always impulsive. His social interaction and communication lacks empathy. He rarely takes or keeps up eye contact. There is little understanding for the other children’s feelings and he does not realise how much an apology would help the other person to feel better.
Towards adults he can be very polite. Saying “thank you” and “please” is second nature.
He has problems integrating in the whole group. In shared activities he prefers to go his own way. He is opinionated, wants to realise his own ideas and be as self-determined as possible.
Daily routines in the group often seem to bother or bore him, such as the morning circle, lunch, teeth brushing. He would rather continue the current activity he has chosen for himself. It takes a lot of persuading and explaining to get him to comply with these everyday routines.
Nora has got a distinct sense of justice. She is aware of and follows rules and she helps implementing them in the group. She acts as a partner in our educational efforts. She shows great understanding of the feelings, thoughts and abilities of the other children. She has got high ethical/moral standards.
Victor feels a great urge for justice with respect to his own person and his friends. He is apt to lose his temper quickly in the face of injustice. Oftentimes he is very sensitive, and especially when it comes to criticism he is very vulnerable. He frequently feels treated unfairly and has trouble dealing with censure.
He knows the rules at kindergarten quite well, yet he tends to interpret them strategically to serve his own purposes. He likes to put boundaries to the test.
Nora had an early sense of self-determination.
She has a strong will and tries to push for her own interests. If she decides to do something, she is determined to carry it through and will finish it if at a later point in time. In role playing she likes to take the lead and finds it difficult to submit to directions given by other children.
Victor: His will power is astonishing and he keeps trying to push for his arguments and aims. Arguments put forward by other children he cannot accept, even if valid and reasonable.
Nora started speaking very early. When she was 2 years and 7 months she was able to speak sentences consisting of several words. She understood prepositions and used past tense forms of verbs.
Victor grows up bilingual. When he was 3 years old he spoke German rather clearly, yet he still had occasional problems with the correct grammar. He was able to memorise new and difficult words early on, and he used them in the right contexts.
Willingness to speak:
Nora: She had been very willing to speak all along. She loved to talk, discuss and debate.
Victor: He had a striking willingness to speak from the beginning on. He can hold long and detailed monologues on topics of interest. Yet, frequently he has little regard for his listeners and whether or not they are interested in the subject matter. He also fails to control his urge to speak when another child wants to say something too (for instance during the morning circle).
Nora speaks fluently and at a pleasant tempo, her articulation is very clear.
Victor: His articulation is sometimes very clear, at other times the exact opposite. Oftentimes his speech is weird or inadequately rapid and loud.
Intonation, facial expression:
Nora: Her intonation and voice give suspense to her narrations and make them interesting.
Vocabulary, Grammar, Contents:
Nora: The contents of what she is saying are relevant to the context and worded correctly. Her vocabulary is outstanding and she uses the words correctly. Oftentimes she uses words which her peers of age do not understand yet.
Victor: He commands an extraordinarily large vocabulary. His choice of words is precise and differentiated and it frequently exceeds what his peers in age can understand. For the longest time he used to set the wrong gender articles. These days his grammar is correct and he uses the gender articles correctly. His speech comprehension is very good.
Thinking processes and characteristics
Willingness to think:
Nora is quite willing to think. She can be extremely interested and is able to independently contribute new ideas on a given topic.
Victor is very eager to think, but only if he is really interested in a topic. He will then be extremely interested and contributes new ideas and ideas independently.
Sometimes the topics being dealt with in the group bore him though.
Nora’s comprehension is remarkably quick, holistic and coupled with great curiosity. It is astonishing how quickly she catches on to new rules in parlour games.
Victor: He disposes of stunningly quick comprehension which comes with a great deal of curiosity. Often he appears absent-minded while he is listening closely and remembers everything.
Power of imagination:
Nora: Her power of imagination is very well developed. She frequently asks questions which display depth of insight, unconventional thinking and interconnected thoughts that are unusual for her age.
Victor: His power of imagination is highly developed. He frequently asks questions which display depth of insight, unconventional thinking and interconnected thoughts that are unusual for his age. Often he comes up with incredible “what-if”-scenarios and the appropriate logical conclusions.
Nora showed an early interest and preference for jigsaw puzzles where she quickly recognised the combinations. She has got a great capability for abstract thinking and manages to apply things she has learned to new situations. She can grasp abstract patterns of thinking quickly and even comes up with them herself.
She is generally good at conceptualising things. She is able to do calculations within the number range of ten. She has even begun to read the time off a clock-face.
Victor showed an early interest in letters and numbers. He quickly grasps abstract patterns of thinking and even comes up with them himself. He always looks for connections with things he already knows and manages to transfer knowledge from one area to another. He keeps surprising us with his unconventional thoughts.
Victor thinks mathematically a lot, he likes to count all kinds of things and inquires about greater numbers and infinity. He enjoys playing with numbers or organising things by size. He has got a good mathematical intuition and can do mental arithmetic in the number range of 20.
Nora: When reasoning she follows her own spontaneous insights. Her intellectual ability to combine is swift and she almost always draws the right conclusions. Her learning tempo is high – new things are understood quickly and then she craves for more.
Victor: If something is interesting for him, he will think about it thoroughly and to the last detail. He thinks quickly and is able to handle numerous aspects simultaneously. At the same time his thinking can rush to premature conclusions and be erratic, and he can be very impatient.
Judgement, Insight, Objectivity:
Nora: She understands situations and facts and acts accordingly, for instance whether or not something is in accordance with the rules at kindergarten. When criticised she is insightful, yet also shows vulnerability and sensitivity.
It is hard for her to admit to a mistake.
Victor keeps asking for explanations of decisions already made and still finds it hard to show insight or to live with a compromise. His wilfulness often gets in the way of his ability to accept logical arguments. He takes instructions and agreements literally and will take advantage of imprecise wordings.
Victor takes many things personal, he has trouble thinking and acting free of bias and subjectivity.
Nora’s abilities to perceive and observe are very well developed. She often assumes the role of a quiet bystander and observer in the group. She has got a distinct sense of the moods and mental states of others and herself.
Her perception is well developed in all areas of sensory input. Hearing is especially important for her, for instance with regard to stories and songs.
Sometimes she cannot stand the noise in the group.
Victor never misses a thing that is going on in the group, even when he is entirely immersed in his own activity. He notices details and his senses are somewhat overexcitable. Some things are quite unpleasant for him, like touching dirty plates or sitting cramped in between two other children.
Nora memorises contents comprehensively and with precision. She will recall things exactly and in all detail. Especially song lyrics, poems and rhymes she learns by heart in very little time. Her short- and long-term memory are often astonishing. She will remember small details from stories heard only once, or she often recalls things that have been agreed on in a conversation word by word.
Victor: His has got a stunning memory. His short- and long-term memory are excellent. He remembers details of information he has heard only once and oftentimes he has a verbatim recollection of what has been agreed on in a conversation.
Concentration and Attention:
Nora’s concentration and attention are remarkable. She has no trouble being concentrated and attentive in a morning circle with 25 children. She never misses a thing that has been spoken about. When working on a problem she has set for herself she shows great endurance and perseverance.
Victor: If something is of interest for him he can be highly motivated and will spend significantly more time with things that require some tenacity than do peers in age. Such would be special interest books or computer games.
Nora’s interests are widespread and manifold. She has great interest in making music and singing. Any crafting activity will captivate her. There has not been a single day she did not draw a picture. She also likes to participate in physical activities, especially dancing is great fun for her. Horses are her passion. She loves role playing games involving horses together with her friends. She spends a lot of time with books from our library.
Victor has acquired considerable knowledge on subject areas like nature, cosmos, bodies, technology, dinosaurs and computers. This knowledge has been acquired due to a pronounced long-term interest and the process was entirely self-motivated. The range and depth of the information he gathered are indicators of his curiosity, his very effective long-term memory and the ability to solve problems, which comes with these capacities.
Nora learns new things for the fun of learning and because it makes her proud. The recognition she receives from adults is also very important to her. She sets high standards for the results of her efforts. She enjoys accumulating and processing information. She keeps demanding new intellectual challenges as her cognitive development is very advanced for her age.
Victor’s motivation is entirely intrinsic. So he acts for the sake of the activity itself. It is the activity that gives him joy and satisfaction, but only if he gets to decide on the subject matter and if he is truly interested in it. Then he will perform at the highest levels. When it comes to learning everyday things together with everybody else he often refuses.
Nora is of dainty physique, yet full of vitality and extremely agile.
Victor is a healthy and strong child with lots of energy. He takes on the day with determination and pursues his playing activities resolutely, forcefully and vigorously.
Gross Motor Skills:
Nora loves and needs exercise. She quickly learns new movements and is successful in playing and at sports. She disposes of a high body awareness and is quite skilful with regard to gross motor skills.
Victor enjoys all physical activity and manages all challenges of gross motor skills on our playground. Yet, on the whole his physical coordination seems somewhat awkward, he has always had trouble knowing how strong he is. He started very early climbing up on everything without fear. This way he often ended up in rather dangerous situations. He also has little command of his muscle tonus. Often he lies around on the floor, at other times he seems to spend extended periods of time in a state of tension.
Fine Motor Skills:
Nora: Her fine motor skills developed rather early. At the age of 3 she was able to colour pictures in great detail and very neatly. When weaving it was easy to see how skilful she was.
Victor has trouble managing precisely coordinated movements with his hands. He clenches a pencil and struggles getting dressed and handling a zipper. He rather avoids these tasks instead of practising them. Fine motor skills can be improved by training, but it takes motivation, and Victor mostly lacks this motivation.
Nora: When Nora does something she does so with great commitment and care. If asked to do chores she is very reliable. She also takes on responsibilities within the group and goes about them quite conscientiously.
Victor: Once Victor has set his mind to something he knows how to go about it and completes the project successfully. His perseverance is remarkable. If however he is not interested in something, his efforts are careless and without stamina. He will vehemently demand support and needs a lot of encouragement.
Special Skills, Talents
Nora disposes of a pronounced physical-kinesthetic intelligence. She is very active, internalises new sequences of movements, as for example choreographies, quite fast and showed differentiated facial expressions and gestures very early on. Her hand-eye-coordination is very good, so are her gross and fine motor skills. Her body-awareness is very well developed.
In addition she disposes of a high musical-rhythmic intelligence. Even as a baby she reacted especially to music and to all kinds of sounds in general in a very special way. She quickly recognises tunes and and rhythms, music is with her every day. She likes making music all by herself, exploring melodies and rhythms.
Her high linguistic intelligence shows in a vocabulary and an ability to express herself verbally, which are extraordinary for her age.
Victor has great knowledge of and is interested in physical, technical and chemical processes. He is fascinated by all kinds of experiments involving electricity, technology, fluids and the like. He also ponders questions about planets, and above all he gets into computer games. He is very interested in natural phenomena like water, stones, animals, the weather, the environment, and he is always aware of what is going on. He tries to understand nature.
Nora: In the five years of her attendance at our kindergarten her development has been a constant source of great pleasure for us. We are convinced that aside from her extraordinary intelligence she has many more hidden talents and abilities. Her amiable and friendly nature make her a very special child.
We wish her that her joy of learning stays with her for a long time at school.
Victor is different from most other children of his age. His intelligence in the fields of mathematics/logic and nature is outstanding. His extreme wilfulness has often been an obstacle to himself and to shared activities, which made it hard to cooperate with him. At the same time his politeness towards adults has always made him a very amiable child. It has been quite exciting to witness his development and his good ideas and unusual suggestions have benefited all children in the group.
Responsible for the contents of this report:
Date of publication in German: 2012, July
Translation from German: Hanna Vock
(Sorry, there is no money for a professional translator. If you discover any gross errors, please let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright © Alexa Kreitlow Vock, see imprint.