All children’s names have been changed

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness

Beispiel von Lucy Rüttgers, Köln

Because Edith (5;0) – and other children in our kindergarten – were very interested in letters and learning to read, I developed a letter project in small groups. After 10 meetings of this group I could determine for Edith:
„Her great intrinsic motivation was obvious. When all the children had already reached the end of their strength and concentration, Edith started with me alone“.
Later she was tested as highly gifted.

Date of publication in German: April 2020

Example by Petra Cohnen, Herzogenrath

In the course of our “Adventure Days” Can (5;4) is enthusiastically playing a role in our stage play. He also has a lot of ideas with regard to his role, the other roles, the stage design and the costumes.
Here too, Can distinguishes himself from the other pre-school children. His creativity and his perseverance are remarkable. This is just the more positive as he tends to be unfocussed and erratic when it comes to routine tasks. So it is quite reassuring for the parents to know that it just takes a suitable task with plenty of freedom of going about it his own way in order to get him thrilled …

Published in German: April 2011

Example by Birgit Walk, Mechernich

Jonathan (4;9) goes to get the Tangram-Game for the first time. He experiments with it and shapes creative forms from the different sets.

After a while I suggest that he work by the given silhouettes. In the beginning the spatial allocation of the tiles seems to be problematic. I let him try and a little later I ask him whether he needs help or whether he wants to complete it by himself. J. wants to work it out himself. With focus and some effort he manages the first object. It is obvious that he is captivated now. He goes to pick up the next set and doesn’t stop until he has managed to lay out each Tangram at least once. Meanwhile my attention fuels his focus and he becomes quicker and quicker in finishing each piece.

The playful experimenting soon turns into a result-oriented effort to form the given shapes. J. quickly shows a good spatial perception. I find it remarkable how long he concentrates, how curious he is about the game and how quickly he learns.

Date of publication in German: March to 2011

Mara (2;6), anonymous

The other day Mara spent 1,5 hours working on a 120-piece puzzle. It was simple in the way that it came with a sheet with the same picture on it to be used as a pad to work on, yet it was still quite demanding. Sometimes she wouldn’t know how to continue and asked me for help, I would then point out some pieces to her or arrange them in piles by motif (sky, Bee Maja, etc.) so that she only had to put them together, but aside from two or three times, when she got up from the table briefly, she really did spend 90 minutes at the table…

Puzzles really fascinate her, I can hardly keep up buying new puzzles (at the flea market or second hand), because, when doing a puzzle for the second time she finishes it so quickly, it loses all appeal to her. She memorizes everything and immediately finds the right spot for any given piece, quicker than I ever could …

She easily spends 2 hours playing the Pirate-Alphabet by „haba“, she lays down one word after the other together with my husband and she just can’t get enough. She gets so absorbed, that she never notices when she’s overworking herself, so that, when we notice she is getting tired, we have to tell her to take a break. When the game is over, she is noticeably exhausted, and it is obvious that it has been quite an effort for her. But she would rather fall off the chair than quit …

Example Pete (anonymous)

At the age of 3 months and 11 days little Pete showed the following performance:

In the course of 24 hours he was visually fixating toys hung over his bed/baby blanket while kicking his legs lightly and strongly, being highly concentrated, amused and without any extrinsic motivation necessary over these great periods of time:

  • from 3.10 to 4.07 (57 minutes),
  • from 9.12 to 9.38 (26 minutes),
  • from 15.06 to 16.21 (75 minutes),
  • from 21.33 to 22.18 (45 minutes),

That amounts to a self-imposed ‘labour time’ of 3 hours and 23 minutes – aside from the ’labour time’ spent drinking.

During these periods, in which he practised seeing/looking, he visually fixated the toys consistently, interrupted only by short moves of the head to look around. The hands were twitching slightly into the direction of the toys but couldn’t reach them.

The observer was under the impression that something was intended which could not yet be done for lack of motor skills. (While in the brain there were probably new neurons being grown.)

A few days later the first attempts of targeted grasping (with one hand) could be observed.

Date of publication in German: March to 2011

Example by Sabine Handke, Frankfurt/M.

Johannes (4;5) is walking me to the toy corner, he wants me to join him starting a 300-piece dinosaur puzzle. Johannes concentrates and is highly target-oriented. He can’t be distracted by other children, all the while he is demanding my undivided attention. Johannes then words the goal of finishing at least one of the dinosaurs on the picture by the beginning of the upcoming Easter holidays. So he does.

Date of publication in German: February 2nd, 2010

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

During a weekend project with gifted and assumed to be gifted children ages 3-6 years the children worked late into the evening on Friday. A story was being told and discussed. Possible changes in the plot were being thought up, discussed, dismissed and thought up anew…

A noticeable difference in comparison to children of average intelligence came to the foreground:

Even though it had been emphasized that this was a voluntary activity, most of the children stayed put and kept focus from 17.45 to 18.30 and then from 19.15 to 20.45, which comes to 2¼ hours.

This is just the more remarkable as it was the most beautiful summer evening and we were out in a park with a nearby playground that presented plenty of possible distraction (and which was used extensively during the breaks).

The high performance with regard to focus and perseverance signified here was kept up throughout the entire weekend.

I conclude from this, that the children were strongly inclined to gladly accept whatever opportunity for mental endeavour and effort, and that outside of kindergarten time they still had vast resources for free play with plenty of exercise. Their over-all level of activity was high, so that they managed to fill their kindergarten days with intellectual activities as well as free playing and romping around.

This could be observed clearly in the afternoon and evening on Saturday and on early Sunday morning. At theses times we saw that quite a few children who had never met had formed small groups to play together. They were either exploring the premises on their own or were absorbed in games and conversations.

Date of publication in German: December 3rd, 2009

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness