by Jordis Overödder


Adrian is 5;0 years old. He has been visiting our institution and this group for two years. I joined the group about a year ago as a group leader. I will describe my observations from this year here.

Adrian struck me from the beginning (he was 4;0) as a very active and enthusiastic child. Our trainee had created a special offer for the boys in the group where there were more girls at that time, the „crocodile gang“. Movement games, making ice cream, making dough, no matter what it was, Adrian always enjoyed taking part in these activities.

Adrian’s play friends were and are especially the older children. Whether it is because there are no boys of the same age in the group, I do not know. Anyway, he also played less often with the girls of the same age, but rather with the older ones, for example Lotta and Nele, who are both more than a year older.

After the summer holidays last year, when the „big ones“ were in school and the next generation of preschoolers moved up, Adrian had a hard time. The new preschoolers were very busy negotiating their new role and hierarchy. Adrian always wanted to play along, but was suddenly rejected because he was still „small“. That kept him very busy, because of his abilities and interests he was able to keep up with the older children. There are always arguments because Adrian fought persistently to be accepted into the group.

Comment by the course instructor:
From your point of view today, would it have been possible to support him in such a way that he would have joined the group of preschool children? Obviously, it was very important to him. Often very gifted children have a sure feeling for where they fit best. What would have had to happen for the older children to accept him? What was the attitude of the teachers like? Was it decisive in this context?

He put a lot of energy into these arguments and they exhausted his self-esteem. At that time Adrian showed a great restlessness, was constantly in motion and could hardly stay seated for a moment, for example at lunch. The same was reported by his parents from home.
Adrian chewed intensively on his fingernails, on the sleeve of his sweater, and even on his toenails in bed in the evening. He had great difficulty falling asleep and woke up at the slightest noise, then was no longer tired.

In kindergarten Adrian was very impatient. If he wanted something, it had to be immediately. He often took toys away from other children. „Mara had that for a long time now“ was his argument.
Mara had brought her plasticine from home and wanted to pack it again after playing together. When Mara tried to get Adrian to give the plasticine to her, he replied: „That’s not Maras, it’s from the kindergarten!

He often tried to achieve his goals with arguments, even if he knew that they were not tenable. The mother expressed her concern: „My child lies consciously!

I see in this behaviour Adrian’s irrepressible urge to fight for his interests, for the things that „drive“ him in the truest sense of the word. He wants to build a motorway bridge with the long building blocks. He wants to make a pasta salad out of plasticine, he now needs the glue bottle immediately because he…

With his wealth of ideas and creativity, he reaches the limits of the other children.

In autumn, the preschool children learned how to use a PC and how the games work in a computer course. (See: The Experts Principle in Our Kindergarten Botzeknööfe – German version)

Adrian (now 5;4) was on fire.

He also wanted to get a computer driving license!

He sat with great perseverance and concentration when the older children played. He knew the individual functions very quickly and knew how to solve this or that task.

He whined and begged all the time when he would finally be allowed to get his PC driving license. Since the group of preschool children was very large, he could not participate immediately, but had to be patient a little.

Comment by the course instructor:
Also here he must wait again, although he showed enormous interest.

At this time I had the first conversation with Adrian’s parents. In addition to the restlessness and sleep difficulties…

Course instructor:
In this context, please read the article Little Need for Sleep. Maybe the article could help the parents.

… they report violent outbursts of anger and that Adrian often disregards rules and then discusses them for a long time. The father has 24-hour service with the fire brigade. The mother often feels overwhelmed with both children in the evening when the father is on duty. Adrian is very fond of the little one-year-old sister and cares for her very caringly, sometimes more than the mother would like.

I experience the contact in the family from the outside as very loving and with mutual understanding. The parents said of themselves that they did not want to be as strict as they themselves had been brought up at that time. We talked about the importance of clear rules and boundaries, that they do not contradict a loving upbringing, and how Adrian’s need for space for his interests could be secured.

Comment by the course instructor:
Well formulated! Both are equally important.

For example, he always wants to play with the candle. Once he blew so hard that the hot wax splashed into his face. The parents reacted with a ban on candles. I pleaded not to deny him this learning field, but to set up clear conditions, for example that Adrian only lights candles under the supervision of his parents, then is allowed to do small experiments in the presence of one parent.

In his frequent border crossings I also see an urge for independence.

Comment by the course instructor:
You formulated it well above: The urge for independence itself is not dangerous; the children are only in real danger if the adults are not able to keep up with their attention and experience.

He wants to decide things for himself, pursue his own ideas and make his own experiences.

He can’t assess his abilities well yet, or he doesn’t take the time for a lengthy assessment of the situation. For example, he once jumped into the neighbour’s pond, although he could not swim yet.

Comment by the course instructor:
However, this can be a pedagogical approach. The parents (and you) would not have to work on his desire to experiment, but only on his carelessness.

Adrian has been attending a swimming course in the afternoon for some time now at the request of his mother. In the beginning he didn’t want that and resisted it very much. I suppose the threshold was once again too high for him. Maybe he was afraid he wouldn’t make it or the tedious practice was too annoying for him. The mother insisted on it anyway. Meanwhile he has received the frog badge (a badge for swimming beginners) and swimming practice is a lot of fun for him.

Comment by the course instructor:
Was that after his pond adventure? Then it wouldn’t be very surprising if he first reacted with fear.
„The threshold was once again too high for him“ => in which situations could you still observe this, independent of the topic swimming?

Adrian participates with the older children

In the kindergarten we made it possible for him to take part in the computer course. Adrian was very happy and proud about it. He was soon so fit in this area that he could even give tips and advice to the older children, who still had difficulties with some of the games.

Comment by the course instructor:
There is a great potential and a great learning speed here, isn’t there?

Supported by our encouragement and with his iron perseverance, he finally reached his goal that the older children would let him play along.

There were still situations in which he made himself unpopular with his ideas. Once the children built an igloo out of snow. They were busy all morning with the decoration and already had red noses.
Adrian had the great wish to install sockets in this beautiful igloo, in addition to the front door, toilet and garden.

His approach of pressing holes into the igloo-walls with a broom handle met with angry resistance from the other children. The following discussion about an electrical installation, to which Adrian gave arguments with great conviction, finally ended with the others making it clear to Adrian that he was either abandoning his idea or would no longer be involved in the game.

I had the feeling that this was primarily about the big ones not giving up their position of power. Adrian did not succeed with his arguments against it. I tried to explain it to him in such a way that he was probably right, but the others wanted to decide. He felt taken seriously by me. He decided to do without his sockets in order to be allowed to play again.

In such situations he has two heart’s desires: „To be part of it, to be allowed to play“ and „I have a great idea which I have to implement immediately“. This is quite typical for Adrian.

Comment by the course instructor:
It is hoped that he doesn’t have to experience too often putting his ideas back (forgetting them) in order to be allowed to belong to them. What else could happen to him?

Another activity offer Adrian wanted to participate in was the gymnastics of the preschool children. We divided the gymnastics groups into age groups in order to be able to offer the children age-appropriate movement activities. Adrian was also vehemently committed to being able to do gymnastics together with his older friends. He was able to keep up well in terms of his abilities. We gave him the opportunity, but not every time, because there were protests from the older ones, because they sometimes wanted to be among themselves.

Comment by the course instructor:
Did he behave disturbingly? What does „among themselves“ mean, what makes them a group to which Adrian does not belong? Only his age?

How the parents see Adrian

A few months ago I had the second conversation with his parents. I asked them to fill out the parent questionnaire. As special interests the parents named cars, fire brigade, non-fiction books („Was ist Was?“ – What is what?- A German children’s book series with richly illustrated, child-friendly explanations for different subject areas – Adrian’s favorite topics are f.e. weather or the earth), learning games on the PC. Adrian doesn’t like watching television because, as his parents suspect, he can’t be active in it.

They have observed that Adrian often has a high perception of the fact that he only has to hear and see things at the very edge in order to call them up sometime later. So he can talk at the same time and hear the weather report on the radio in the background, which he then reproduces in detail later.

Even seemingly trivial information and small details are stored by him for a very long time and then suddenly reappear because he finds a mental connection.

Comment by the course instructor:
He may already have a sense that he can keep a lot in his memory, and his brain collects information for this reason, even if it may seem insignificant at the moment.
Perhaps his memory system has even made the experience and stored that it was later used for this purpose several times and has drawn the conclusion for itself: Pick it up! Who knows what it might still be good for at some time in the future.

Adrian is very independent at home, always has many suggestions for solutions to problems and a good technical understanding. According to his parents, he is particularly able to concentrate on parlour games, PCs and handicraft activities.

Questions that occupy him are for example: „Why is the earth round and why don’t we fall off?“

He is afraid in the dark, for example in the cellar or on the toilet. He had a hard time learning to ride a bicycle because he was afraid of falling down.

This assessment of the parents also coincides with my observations. Adrian is very curious and inquisitive, especially in the area of natural sciences.

On his birthday, children painted him a crown with a pirate ship, sun and moon. After stapling, the sun and moon happened to lie opposite each other. Adrian enthusiastically turned the crown back and forth: „Day – night! It’s like it’s real!“

Adrian tries out many things

He is investigating material properties in detail. For some time mysterious cuts from the scissors were found in tablecloths and plastic foils. Adrian probably wanted to test how this and that could be cut. Also the tools in the wood workshop had a big attraction. But I had to admonish Adrian again and again, because he didn’t have a workshop diploma yet and wasn’t allowed to use it alone.

The workshop course was an annoying detour in Adrian’s eyes. He would have liked to start right away. But I insisted on it, because his use of the tools was very „experimental“ and posed a danger to him and others.

The approach we usually practice is the following: In the workshop course, the children produce a workpiece alone in my presence in order to practice the handling of the tools. The workpiece is presented to the masters during the examination.

This was a difficult task for Adrian. He sawed and hammered a little here and there, but discarded everything again. Perhaps he had too many ideas, perhaps he had high expectations of himself, but could not yet implement his ideas in this way because he still lacked the skill to do so.

I suggested that he make a sketch first of all. That helped him a lot. He wanted to build a feeding place for birds. After a week his „Wren“ was finished, with hooks and eyelets where you can hang dumplings. He was very proud.

Now he is often busy in the workshop, building bows and arrows, gluing himself with adhesive foil from top to bottom and then being a „knight“ or inventing a „protective goggle“ made of plastic foil for me. He still avoids work that requires perseverance, such as sawing through a thick board.

Comment by the course instructor:
…even if he needs a piece of the thick board for his plans?
– But maybe he really is the more creative developer who later has machines and his helpers and employees for the implementation of his ideas.

Provocative observation:

In order to observe his behaviour more closely in situations in which something is specifically demanded of him, I offer the children a handicraft work from a book. With the help of a stencil, the children can make a flower chain out of coloured cardboard, wool and pearls.

After some children have already made a necklace, Adrian also enjoys it and wants to make a necklace for his mother. He goes to work with good cheer. He works completely independently, imagines the flowers.
Sometimes he still has difficulties cutting out the flowers, even now: he misses the curve of the line. „Now it’s so straight,“ he complains. Out of frustration he cuts the flower through the middle.

I encouraged him to try it again. It succeeds and he is satisfied. Now he pokes holes in the flower. „Like a face, look! He cuts off a wool thread. At the end a pearl is to be knotted.

But the pearl he chooses has a clogged hole. „I know how I can do that! So, that in, and pull out.“ He first tries to push the thread through with scissors, then with a needle, and finally takes a new pearl. He bends the flower and cuts a larger hole with the scissors, because the wool thread does not fit through it.

He hears something from the distant gym. He speaks to himself, half to me: „They went into the gym. They bang the mat. – But the gnomes (the children under 3) don’t sleep. – There the ear hairs crumple! – A woman, the Lizzi, lives with me in the street. She is completely deaf. When I scream, she still doesn’t hear anything.“

Then he threads the pearl and the flower, holds the thread taut with both hands and lets it slide back and forth for a while. He is happy about it. He makes a thick knot at one end by taking the string twice several times. The knot is not thick enough, the pearl falls down. „Now I can’t put that on it any more, oh yes!“ He puts the pearl on the other end. The flower slips to the knot, the pearl on it, that holds.

He makes it swing like a pendulum. „Ready! I just want it that way!“ Then he helps Mara with her pearl.

Adrian often has a very low frustration tolerance. If something does not meet his expectations, he easily gives up. His stamina during repetitive activities (such as cutting out several flowers) is low. He needs a change soon.

His thoughts work fast and flexible. The bang from the gym reminds him of our conversation about loudness and that noise damages the ears. He thinks ahead and establishes a connection to the neighbour.

Another time he tinkered a ladybug. He wants to write his name on its head. He prescribes himself and paints two A’s in a row at the beginning. After a short hesitation, he paints a lot of A on the face. He says to me, „It has measles!“ It seems as if he wants to cover up his mishap with it.

Comment by the course instructor:
You have often pointed out his flexibility in thinking and his creativity. Are you sure that he felt the two A’s to be a mishap? Maybe he just quickly invented another good idea that he liked well?

Scientific interest

Adrian’s interest in the natural sciences is also repeatedly reflected in his free play. I often observe him when he is outside investigating things. What can you do with a piece of ice, how does it break? How do the air bubbles get in? What is the piece of chalk doing in the water? Does it swim, does it sink? Why does the pink suddenly turn dark red? He deals with such things very persistently over a longer period of time. He doesn’t let himself be disturbed and is completely absorbed in the matter.

My colleague has started an experimentation club with Adrian’s age group. Adrian is always very attentive and curious. He often has special ideas on how to change an experiment, and then Adrian can be very happy and cheerful.

I met one of his interests during the fire protection education that I conduct with the children every year. As the son of a firefighter, he already brought some knowledge with him. He was able to explain dangerous situations well on the basis of photos and he knew exactly what to do in an emergency.

During the experiments with combustion tests I was then surprised that Adrian was just as often wrong with his suppositions, whether something burns or not, as the other children were. He had probably gained little experience in this area.
In any case, experimenting was a lot of fun for him and the other children.

Adrian often tells about the fire engines of the airport, about the „Simba“ and „Panther“. Since I know something as a fire woman, I can say, however, that his knowledge is not very comprehensive and profound.

Comment by the course instructor:
How much does his father pass on to him? Some fathers are very reserved and think that their child is still too young to teach him seriously about their own important work…

Charm, helpfulness and humour

Adrian is very sociable and always seeks contact with other children. He has a lot of charm and can inspire others and pull them along. He is very helpful. He quickly notices situations in which he can help and takes the initiative without being asked. He helps to open the water bottle, knot something, get a hammer, solve a riddle…

He is very caring and circumspect towards the younger children. Since January he has held a job in our kindergarten which he has chosen for himself (this job did not exist before): He fetches the trolley with the bowls from the kitchen for lunch.
He does this job independently and reliably and it suits him very well: on the way there are always opportunities for a little chat and in the kitchen you pick up the latest news. He even jumps up during lunch to get seconds for the others. The importance of his role is good for him!

Adrian has a special sense of humour. He often slips into the role of the clown. He likes to laugh and enjoys the attention he gets from the kids for his original jokes. He often invents word games and funny thought connections.

In the morning circle and in circle games he participates actively and overcomes more and more his former shyness. Meanwhile he likes to be the centre of attention and has become much more self-confident.

Chewing on fingernails and sweaters has almost ceased. Only in situations in which he has to watch inactively and would like to be in action himself, for example when someone else plays on the PC, it still occurs.

Comment by the course instructor:
Do you see with Adrian with all good development and all possibilities, which he has in your kindergarten, symptoms of the – at least temporary – underchallenge?

Adrian has become more balanced and satisfied overall.

It’s good for him that his circle of friends has gained stability. He now often plays with children of the same age or younger. It was a good decision to let him participate early in certain offers.

Comment by the course instructor:
In any case! Lucky for him!

For the next computer course he will support the teacher as a computer specialist and accompany the other children for the first time. The experimentation club also corresponds to his interest. The laboratory that we are currently setting up will certainly become a new field of discovery for him in the near future.

Observation sheet according to Huser

If I now take a look at the observation sheet after Joelle Huser, then some points catch my eye, which I could mark with a cross.

Adrian is very curious. His perception is versatile and intense. He thinks fast and often makes surprising connections of thoughts.

Adrian is sociable and shows a pronounced social behaviour. Last year he played mainly with older children. Now the other boys are at least half a year younger than him. Meanwhile, he is also establishing close contacts with the girls of the same age.

His ability to remember is comparatively large. He also keeps details for a long time. However, the information is not always reliable. Sometimes he invents stories or is convinced of his statement, which is demonstrably false.

Comment by the course instructor:
Like all of us, he needs a team as a corrective.

He often shows a high level of self-motivation. He finds something interesting everywhere – whether he looks at how the sauce runs on his plate, or when he discovers various earth crumbs falling out of his sole while putting on his boots.

But his interest can also diminish very quickly. With some things it can be completely deepened. The concentration endurance is not longer than with other children also. But he fights vehemently against disturbances.

Adrian has high ambitions of his own. He wants to be able to do many things, but is also afraid not to learn them. There seems to be a huge mountain in front of him.

Comment by the course instructor:
He may not trust enough that he is very capable of learning and that he will receive the necessary guidance and support. (?)

His striving for perfection becomes obvious in small details, when cutting or when he made a little mistake when he was painting. On the other hand, he can also work very agilely and superficially if something is not so important to him. Diligent work is definitely not for Adrian. It simply bores him to do the same thing over a longer period of time.

The fact that he used to practice little in fine motor activities also meant that he was unable to put his ideas into practice because he lacked the manual skills. He is catching up at the moment.

Adrian always pushes for the implementation of his own ideas. I can ascribe creativity and originality to him. I also often observe a good capacity for abstraction when Adrian is faced with a problem. He uses knowledge from different areas to arrive at a solution.

Adrian likes to play the clown, but he doesn’t just look for confirmation, but enjoys his jokes and thought games himself. His vocabulary is average. Sometimes he still makes small mistakes. But he has an extremely high willingness to speak and he likes to discuss.

Adrian still has problems falling asleep. Therefore, and in order to check their parenting behaviour at home, his parents turned to a counselling centre.

Comment by the course instructor:
See the tip above. (Little Need for Sleep?). He is just a very alert mind who does not easily calm down, both when he is frustrated and when he is positively excited, because everything is so interesting…

The conclusion of my observations is that Adrian has special talents in some areas. In my opinion, his practical (technical?) and scientific intelligence are very pronounced. He has an interest in natural history: Observations of nature, experiments, technology and computers. However, his knowledge is neither particularly broad nor deeply developed.
Perhaps he still lacks the suitable „food“ for further learning.

Comment by the course instructor:
What conditions has he had so far to gain deeper and broader knowledge? Does he have an instructor/promoter/mentor?
This is an important assumption that you should continue to follow. Instead of „food“ you could also say „projects“.

Adrian is very creative, has a good talent for combination.
These talents are pronounced, but according to my current knowledge they are not as far above average as I have seen it with other children who were later considered highly gifted. If I look at his ability with these standards, then I am no longer so sure whether I can mark one or the other at all. If I compare the girls at his age with this, I can give them special abilities that Adrian does not yet have.

Comment by the course instructor:
What skills are these?

If I look back, I would say that in the first half of this kindergarten year he made a great leap forward in his development, which has relativized itself again over the last few months. I now experience the children of the same age similarly motivated and awake.

Even if Adrian is not highly gifted, I can now better understand his conspicuous behaviour and special needs, react to them and help him.

Comment by the course instructor:
That is very valuable. There is no need to define yourself positively or negatively in the question of giftedness now. High talents are very different!

Ultimately, it is not important to reach a point value on an sheet of paper. Because basically the same things help the children on both sides of the border to giftedness: understanding for their needs, trust in their abilities, freedom and support, confirmation and affection.

Comment by the course instructor:
In addition, particularly gifted children also need many impulses from older people, more experienced ones – or if, like Adrian himself, they have many ideas, targeted help with the implementation of some of their ideas, so that in the end there is a clear sense of achievement.
The point value is actually not so important, but the actual potential behind it. The question is how far Adrian has been able to realize his potential so far.

Adrian has increasingly played with Mara in recent weeks. She is five months older and, like Adrian, very creative.

The two take great pleasure in pursuing their unusual ideas together, complementing each other and driving each other forward.

With Mara, I also see great potential, which needs to be observed further. She often surprises with very detailed statements and generally has a great deal of expert knowledge. Both will be pre-school children after the holidays. I am very curious.

Comment by the course instructor:
A very sensitive, comprehensive description of a very interesting child.

You can read here what also happened to Adrian in kindergarten:

Adrian Studies Nature’s Creeps

Adrian Takes to Reading the Newspaper – Questions of Life and Death


Date of publication in German: September 2015
Copyright © Jordis Overödder, see imprint.