All children’s names have been changed.

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness

Example by Claudia Flaig, Bonn:

I am working on the IHVO interest questionnaire with Alena (4;6).

When asked what she would „like to be able to do a little better“, Alena emphasises: „I would like to be able to write.“
In response to another question about what she would like to learn, Alena answers: „Driving an aeroplane myself, turning a Giant Ferris wheel myself.“ When I ask her about the Ferris wheel, she explains that she would like to learn how to set the technology in motion and understand what happens there.

Alena answers the question, „You meet an old woman who knows everything about the world and life. What would you ask her?“ – „… I would ask her how to steer a car or how to steer a rocket.“

Date of publication in German: November 2021

Example, anonymous, from the notes of a mother:

Iris is sitting on the toilet. „Behind the mirror is my room.“ Right, the wall on which the mirror hangs is the partition to her room. (3;6 years.)

„And Grandma is a mama. Papa’s mama.“ I: „And a grandma. From whom?“ – „From me.“ (3;6 years.)

Iris: „Is now evening?“ – Yes“ – „I thought so already (= currently Iris´ favourite sentence). Over there (in the dining room) it was already so dark and here in the bathroom it is still a bit bright. That’s because the sun is setting here.“ That’s right, the sun goes down at the bathroom window. (3;8 years.)

„The carrots grow in the earth. And then they come into the package. Then they go to the supermarket. And there you buy them.“ (3;8 years.)

Today gas has been delivered. With a long hose (tank truck) the tank was filled up. Iris explains us later quite enthusiastically how the hose was rolled up again. „The hose is even longer. If someone lives even further away, it will still fit.“ (3;8 years.)

Date of publicationin German: May 2021

Example Related by Ellen Görg, Kürten

Isabel (2;3) gets it right away.
At our facility every child has a little tag with the child’s individual symbol on it. Isabel’s tag has a little sheep on it – this is also her favourite soft toy. She brings it along to kindergarten every day.

Our pedagogic concept says about these tags: “Following Freinet-Pedagogy we have implemented a registry board. It is mounted on the wall at a central spot in the group’s room and it features photographs of all parts of our facility, for instance the group’s room, functional rooms, kitchen, office, outside area, sleeping room. Furthermore there are pictures with symbolic depictions of being on holidays, being ill (red cross), being at home, grocery shopping and the like. The number of ticks next to the pictures shows how many children are allowed in a given area at the same time. This means that the children are allowed to move about our facility freely, indicating their whereabouts by sticking their tags on the registry board in the respective place.
For every area in the house there are specific rules and it is the children’s own responsibility to follow them.”

Though only 2 years old, Isabel has quickly understood the concept of the registry board. Every morning when she arrives, she takes her tag and sticks it to the photograph of the group’s room. She usually gets here first and makes sure every other child does the same. If a child forgets, Isabel reminds that child of it – or she takes care of it herself. Currently there are 18 children in our group, five of them are school children. Isabel knows all tags of the thirteen 1 to 6 years old children and those belonging to the three of us kindergarten teachers, she is able to match them to the corresponding individuals and she can name them.

In our morning circle, when we are talking about who is missing because of illness, Isabel is able to stick the corresponding tags on the picture with the red cross. When asked, “Who is missing today?”, she gives the correct answer: “Marian, Meike, Benjamin”. I explain that they are absent because they are ill.

“Isabel, please stick their tags on the board!” She carries out the task correctly, joins the morning circle again and focuses on what’s next.

See also these articles (in German) about Isabel:
A 2-years old Girl Shows Signs of Giftedness
A Two-and-a-Half-Years-Old Girl Solving Difficult Problems

Published in German: May 2015

Example Related by Bettina Ulrich, Düsseldorf

Children who show these interests often enjoy playing difficult games (games for grown-ups) at a very early age. During one of our IHVO Certificate Courses Bettina Ulrich said this:

I think it’s important to strengthen the child’s sense of curiosity and independence, to set aside the usual expectations with regard to age and development and to accept every child as it is. It is not the child that has to adapt to the facility, it is the facility that has to respond to the child.

What I mean is for example: the playing materials offered to a child shouldn’t be chosen exclusively on the basis of that child’s age.

Once, when we had had a flea market at kindergarten and there was a Monopoly game left lying around, one boy got all excited about it and asked every single kindergarten teacher and intern to play it with him.
He kept playing it with never ceasing enthusiasm until he left kindergarten for school. Meanwhile he has been moved up one year in school because of his mathematical giftedness.

Yet, I have to admit, back then I wasn’t sure exactly how to deal with him. I just left it at that and didn’t deliberately try to come up with further suggestions for him.
In other areas, like for example motor skills (pouring himself a glass of water or drawing), his development seemed to call for more attention. So these deficits were what I focused on. Today my priorities would be different.

Published in German: December 2014

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

In Kindergarten, the children are sitting by the Christmas calendar. There is a pouch hanging on a string for each child. Every day another child gets to cut its pouch off and unpack it.

Whose turn it is, is determined by lottery the day before: We have a jar with every child’s little cloakroom logo in it. At lunch one child gets to draw one from it. The child whose logo has been drawn gets to cut off its pouch the next day.

Daniel (3;5) und Leo (3;6) are seeing this procedure for the first time this year. Leo is a child of average cognitive development, Daniel is gifted and has a preference for sets, numbers and logical relations, which he would show again and again over time.

Now, if I ask, “Well, what do you think, whose turn it is tomorrow?”, the older children think they know and shout a name. Daniel stays calm. Leo is deeply disappointed every time, whines and keeps asking me: “Why aren’t you choosing me?”.

One day I ask the two to stay put for a minute and I turn to Leo first: “Well, Leo, do you think it’ll be you tomorrow?”. Leo is gleaming: “Yeeees!”. I dig deeper: “Why do you believe that?” Leo replies: “Because I want it.” Daniel’s answer to the same question is different: “Maybe, maybe not.“ So I ask: “How is that?” Daniel: “See, if I get drawn today, I will be up tomorrow, and if not, I’m not…, maybe I’ll only come up last.”

Leo shows the typical reaction of a child of his age: His thinking is governed by his urgent wish to finally be drawn. Every day he gets all psyched up, he is full of expectation and then disappointed again and getting angry with me, his teacher. He requests that I have him be drawn and eventually I cheat in order to relieve our relationship of a building tension. The oldest children notice this but keep quiet, smirking forgivingly.

Leo does not yet understand the principle of random choice . Neither does he understand the other children’s attempts to explain it to him, he does, however, partially feel comforted by their attention. He is mentally active and tries to make sense of it all. Yet, without any insight into the phenomenon of randomness as an explanatory device and no sufficient understanding of the temporal relation between the terms “yesterday”, “today” and “tomorrow” he is at a great disadvantage. He can only arrive at the conclusion that there is somebody who intentionally prevents him from being drawn. Not surprisingly the first person who comes to his mind is the kindergarten teacher.

Daniel on the contrary has the system all figured out. Even though he is disappointed when not drawn, he reacts differently: “Bad luck again!” / Oh no, can’t I be drawn for once?!”

Date of publication in German: November 30th, 2008

Example by Hanna Vock, Bonn

Jan (name changed) was 6 years old and was hopelessly bored at elementary school as it didn’t challenge him intellectually at all. He had a student’s ticket for public transportation in a city of more than half a million residents. This ticket, his early interest in systems and his extraordinary memory he combined into an intellectual challenge of his very own making:

After school he didn’t go home, but rather explored the local network of public transportation systems. He spent several hours every day and wouldn’t go home before he felt he had done enough exploring for the day or he got too hungry or too thirsty.

This was also a tough challenge for his mother. She understandably felt like many mothers do, that she should keep her little son from such an unusual activity. Jan could temporarily be persuaded to let go of it, but the next day, his urge to add ever new pieces to the network “stored” inside and to learn something in his own adventurous way always proved stronger.

Eventually he became an expert who found himself talking to bus- and tram-drivers and occasionally they would refer passengers to him for directions. He simply had all stations and transfers of all lines perfectly memorized.

Later on, he was by the same token attracted to computer sciences with their “networks of information”.

Jan’s case shows us that complex networks can be of great appeal to gifted children. It also demonstrates that gifted children may come up with learning strategies that are entirely different from what elementary schools have to offer. Finally, Jan has shown great perseverance in his freely chosen task.

Date of publication in German: October 30th, 2008