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

by Jordis Overödder


Adrian (5;9) makes a balanced impression at the moment. He is cheerful and busy all day with his friends. He shows impatience and frustration only rarely, he is also no longer aggressive towards the other children.

With his play partners he has still unusual play ideas. They laugh a lot and like to take the jokes to extremes, so that you have to set limits for them.
The new computer games, which my colleague brought along a few weeks ago, Adrian accepted enthusiastically and immediately tried out. Again, he showed a lot of skill, didn’t need a briefing for the unfamiliar games, but worked out the game possibilities himself. He transferred the experiences from previous games to the new ones or implemented the verbal instructions of the computer voice safely.

Read more about Adrian here:
Adrian, 5;0 Years
Adrian Studies Nature’s Creeps

Adrian’s Parents

His mother is now working as a nurse again. Adrian still doesn’t sleep much, but his parents can accept it better now. They are still in contact with the counselling centre. There the mother was relieved of many of her worries about Adrian. This has a positive effect on Adrian, who seemed to share the mother’s fear.

… in a nutshell …

Some conversations with the five-year-old Adrian are necessary to find out which questions are bothering him. The author knows how to discuss „difficult“ questions, which also involve life and death, with Adrian and other children from day-to-day life at the kindergarten. At the same time, she introduces the children to the medium of the newspaper.

Once the children discovered large bird feathers in the workshop. They immediately had the idea to write with it and tried it out with watercolor. Since it was Friday afternoon just before the pick-up time, they could not experiment for long. They took the feathers home with them.

On Monday Adrian arrived and proudly told us that he had written secret writing with his mother („with lemon juice or milk, and you have to warm it up“). This is a good example of how his parents are now increasingly taking up his interests and topics at home.

Adrian’s grandmother died before Christmas. She fought against cancer for half a year. The parents did not take Adrian to visit his granny during this time. At home, they talked a lot about the death of grandma, also about the grief of Adrian’s father and grandpa. Adrian has been intensively involved with that.

The school

The teachers of his future school were, as every year, in our kindergarten to exchange ideas with us about the children who come to school this summer. They explained that they separate the parents and the children during the initial talk, that the children are in a small group with a teacher and do little games and tasks. The parents are asked to talk separately.

Adrian then had great difficulty separating from his mother so that she first had to go into the room for the children, but was then able to withdraw. The teacher remarked that she had the impression that also the mother was no good separating herself from Adrian.

Adrian was then at first rejecting, sulked, turned away when he was approached. When he then saw what the others were doing, the ice was broken and he solved all tasks well and independently.

The teacher and I talked about Adrian’s development at kindergarten, about his special abilities and his sensitivity. In order to take away his fear of the unknown demands made on him at school, the teachers immediately suggested that he should be invited to a trial lesson as soon as possible.
His old playmates are also in that class, so he has familiar faces around him and gets a glimpse.

In the next days Adrian is invited to the school. „Then I’ll go with Joseph by bus,“ he proudly announces. His mother has a hard time with this, his father supports Adrian’s endeavour to become independent. I also encourage her to let him tackle this adventure alone.

Wild Boars

The new year has begun and our group has finally been strengthened by a colleague. I am very happy to have time again for special offers. Since I still have no idea for a concrete objective, I will simply start. It is important for me to start by talking to Adrian.

I hope to come across an area in which I can stimulate his cognitive abilities.

Monday, January 11th
At breakfast Adrian tells me about the wild boars for half an hour. He was in the forest with his grandfather, who is a hunter. There they climbed up Grandpa’s hunter’s seat and Grandpa told him a lot about the wild boars. I take Adrian’s interest in this subject as a starting point to talk to him and find out more about his interests. We arrange to meet the next morning. I promise to bring him something about wild boars.

Tuesday, January 12th
In an adjoining room we sit together. I have pictures of wild pigs from the Internet stored on my laptop. Adrian thinks that’s great. I record on a mindmap what he already knows about wild boars.

(See also: Plans, Drawings, Sketches, Mind-Maps)

Then I suggest that we do a puzzle quiz. First I read him a text about the pictures – with information that goes beyond his previous knowledge. The text is already quite demanding. He listens well.

But with his answers to my subsequent questions I notice that the text was probably too long and he couldn’t remember so many new things. Adrian is sometimes insecure or prematurely says the wrong answer. However, he corrects himself when I ask questions or explains his idea to me.


I ask: „Who are the enemies of the wild boar?“
He answers: „Deer, roe deer and sheep!“
He excludes „bears, wolves and lynxes,“ „because, after all, they don’t exist in our forests.“ That does not lack a certain logic.

I ask: „How do the wild pigs clean their fur of vermin?“
He answers: „They shower – in the rain – or swim in the water.“
He says: „After all, they don’t get clean in the mud bath.“

A discussion arises as to whether one may simply shoot all wild pigs. With „what-if-if questions“ we approach different scenarios:
– if there are too many / too few wild boars;
– if there were wolves again;
– What can the farmer do to protect his corn if there are wild boars nearby?

Adrian takes some new technical terms with him. He has found that wolves are also useful for humans. „But people are also afraid of the wolves“, he concludes.
He enjoyed the meeting. I ask him if he wants to know more about wild boars. No, it is enough for him.

He declares to me that he wants to go to Radio Berg (our local station) to see „how they speak into there, how they do it“. He often listens to the radio at home in the afternoon. He has already expressed this wish in the preschool children’s group, and the preparations and appointments for this trip are already underway.

„And why are there always such bad news?“

he wants to know from me.

His mother told me in the parent-teacher conversation that the news always kept him very busy. Then he often can’t classify what’s said and so makes his thoughts about it.

So he is interested in the news. Spontaneously the idea comes to me that I can bring him a newspaper, which we then look at together. In my opinion, this is an easier medium to grasp than the radio news, but it deals with the same topics that he hears there. He thinks the idea is good, even if he is still a little sceptical about what a newspaper is all about.


I want to pick up his interest in the news.
He has questions about the short sequences he hears on the radio or about pictures he sees on television when he comes back to the living room in the evening. But the questions are too fleeting and are not dealt with sufficiently. His parents try to keep the „bad“ away from him.

In the next step I try out whether the medium newspaper is suitable for a discussion and how he reacts to it. I read the newspaper beforehand.

Reading the newspaper

Wednesday, January 13th
I will add Justin to this meeting. I do not want to give Adrian such a special role. Justin is thrilled. Both are very excited and start to meticulously look at every picture in the newspaper. They try their own interpretations of what they see.

If they are particularly interested in a photo, I read the picture captions to them and give them a short summary of the article. They ask questions about it.

These topics were particularly well received:
„More counterfeit banknotes“ – „Bisons in Yellowstone National Park“ – „Attack on the Togolese national team“.

They ask about the counterfeit banknotes:
„Why does someone print money himself?“ – „Then you get more out of it and you can buy a lot!“ – „But in the shop, there they have such a camera, there they can see who that was!“

They think a lot about the money: „Who makes the money? What if everyone could make money?“ We come to the subject of inflation. I give them food for thought, they pursue the thoughts further. „How do you recognize fake money?“ We look at banknotes from my wallet.

They are very interested in bison. The text says something about „almost extinct“. I tell them in a nutshell that the white settlers who came to Indian land were hunting the bison to make money with the skins. Only a few bison could have hidden themselves. These have reproduced later again and now live there protected in this large piece of land. They want to know more about it. I happened to record a documentary about the National Park which I could show them.

The photo of the coffin, which was unloaded from the airplane, occupies them the most. The report deals once again with the attack in Angola on the bus of the Togolese national soccer team a few days ago.
What happened there and why someone shot at a bus, just like that, and who died there and who was injured and how that happened and whether the police came and who took care of the injured and who put the corpse in the coffin…

A whole bunch of questions storming me. Some I can answer, others I have to ask for more information, because I did not follow these messages very closely in the days before. We write down the questions and think about where you can find answers about something that happened a few days ago: in the old newspapers! We’d take that up tomorrow.

We hang the interesting articles about the theme table in the group.

Concretise objectives

In my current assessment, questions about death and killing, soldiers and hunters are among the central issues that occupy Adrian at the moment. Questions arise about ethics and morality, what is „allowed“ and what is wrong.

I create a space and time frame for an examination of these topics.
A concrete formulation of objectives is not so easy for me. I could come to results like this:
– Adrian understands the rough connections of one or more events in the news.
– Adrian understands the interactions of living organisms in the ecosystem.
– Adrian knows the possible causes of a political conflict abroad.

Teaching the child the ABC is easier…


Thursday, January 14th
Adrian and Justin are already waiting for me: „Did you bring the newspapers with you?“ I had rummaged through the waste paper and sorted out the relevant pages. I want to deepen this topic first and not present a stack-thick offer of new topics.
So we look at the photos, reconstruct the course of the attack and investigate the motives of the „rebels“. A small article helps us further. For this we look at the country in the atlas.

According to the „rebels“ the exclave Cabinda should become a country of its own. Because the people there are poor. That would be different if they didn’t have to give the rich oil deposits to Angola. „Those are the blue boxes“ Adrian finds in the Atlas. „But that’s why they don’t have to shoot,“ complains Justin.

Adrian and Justin come to the conclusion that this conflict must not be resolved by force. „You must not shoot at people.“ They also see the different interests of the groups and notice that there is not always a simple solution.

Comment by the course instructor:
Those are already many important realizations and thoughts.

Pre-school children’s morning circle

At the preschoolers‘ meeting, we will give concrete form to the children’s wishes for excursions:

„To look at a church.“ They want to go to Cologne Cathedral. On a newspaper clipping you can see the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings (Epiphany Shrine – Dreikönigsschrein). The children are interested, because at Christmas we heard the story of the Three Kings and played it as a shadow theatre.

„Are they in there now?“ – „Can we look in there, I want to see them!“ (I already see myself with the cordless screwdriver…) I ask: „Well, what remains of somebody who died 2000 years ago?“ – „Bones!“ – „A skeleton“ – „and dust!“.

„My grandma has been burned, she is ash now,“ Adrian says. We briefly stick to different burial methods and then find out that today you can no longer tell what the Three Kings looked like.

This morning my colleague has some sad news for the children: Mrs. B., the director of the old people’s and nursing home, died suddenly. For many years our kindergarten had built up a friendship through her initiative. We regularly visited it with groups of children, with the music club, the theatre group, and just a few weeks ago with the preschool children. Mrs. B. showed them very sensitively the care department of the house with its handicapped inhabitants. The children wanted to visit them again soon.

My colleague and I agree that we have to talk to the children about Mrs B.’s death. We look at photos from the last visit and remember the nice trip.

The children wonder how bad this is for her husband and children. All the children were very affected. My colleague and they are making a plaque for the hallway so that we can always remember her.

Parental work

Death and war are still taboo topics in education. Parents want to protect their children from suffering, feel helpless and are afraid of having to answer the children’s questions. The cut out newspaper articles will probably cause some parents to be uncomprehending and sceptical.

Informing the parents about the project is an important step. I’m mainly looking for a personal conversation, because our parents often stop at the wall of topics and see what’s new there. In addition, I have also written a notice:

„Dear parents,
In the Morning Circle of the preschool group we discussed the children’s wishes for excursions today. We wanted to question some of the wishes and find out exactly what the children would like to see. This resulted in a varied program, which we will present to you at the parents‘ evening.
Ellen (my colleague) also had very sad news for the children today: Because this week our dear Mrs. B., with whom we had close contact for many years in the nursing home Haus Bergeck, died unexpectedly. Even before Christmas, she had greeted the preschool group so warmly and showed them the care department of the house with its residents and answered the children’s many questions so sensitively.
We would like to create a plaque with the children to commemorate Mrs. B., so that we often remember the beautiful time with her. The children were very affected and touched.
Your team of the preschool group“.

Reading the Newspaper

Friday, January 15th
Adrian and Justin are joined by other interested children. Ronja (5;2) also likes to read newspapers at home with her mother. Today she brings along a „treasure map“ which she cut out at home: a city map of Cologne. Frank (4;4) looks over our shoulder, because he also wants to have a treasure map. Rasmus (4;8) is also very curious.

With the younger children, reading the newspaper is a bit restless at first. Frank finally finds his treasure map in the local section.

Rasmus discovers a big article about the puppet theatre in Bensberg (a nearby town). They are very amused by the expressive faces of the puppets. Mara asks for the puppet stage, whether one could also see the people or only the marionettes and how they speak then. She wants to show it to her mother and go there.

After they have cut out their finds and hung them up at the theme table, I have to read the obituaries to Justin and Adrian. „Is Mrs. B. not there?“ Adrian asks. We don’t find anything in this issue.

Then they turn to the earthquake in Haiti. A picture shows the destroyed houses of the city. Mara in particular takes a very close look.

I say: „Imagine your house is broken and you don’t have anything left to put on, nothing to eat“.

„Then I could live with our neighbours,“ says Mara.

„The people here no longer have neighbours with a perfect house,“ Justin says looking at the picture. …

„The hospitals are also broken,“ says Adrian. Mara: „Yes, and there are far too many injured people. I saw it on Logo (children’s news on German TV channel ZDF), but only the beginning, and then I had to go to bed.“

Another photo shows a man sitting by the fire on the street cooking something to eat. That seems very adventurous to the boys, because they also like to make campfires. The real dimensions of this natural disaster they can not quite grasp. In any case, this news of the day will be attached to the theme wall by them.

Film about the Yellowstone National Park

Monday, January 18th
I offer this documentary film for interested preschool children. The boys and Mara are in. The theme of the film is the ecological balance in the national park. It was out of joint due to human intervention. By the killing of the „robbers“ like wolf or cougar the wapitis increased too strongly. The hunters had to shoot the wapitis again to decimate their number.

I stop the film in between and the children express their thoughts about it. It seems absurd to the children that the hunters have to shoot one species first, then the other. The problem of overpopulation is discussed.

„What happens if there is too much wapitis?“ I ask.
„They eat all the grass.“ – „They trample everything broken.“
Adrian: „Then they starve to death because there is no grass left!“

A five-year-old recognizes how an ecosystem
can tip over!

Then he notes: „We are already many, but we will not be shot!“

I ask him: „Why aren’t we shot?“

Adrian: „Because we are human beings.“

„And what if there are too many people for once?“, I go into it.

Adrian: „They’ll starve to death, just like in Africa.“ I leave that as it is. I don’t know what to do here either.

It is still difficult for me to ask specific questions that continue such thought processes. I have never dealt with philosophical questions, but I am now discovering them as an interesting topic.

Comment by the course instructor:
And as you can see, especially gifted children also deal with it very early on – and are often alone with it … but not with you anymore.

The children are very taken with the „sweet“ bear cubs in the film. When the mother bear then kills a little wapiti calf, they initially find it unfair. „But the bear can’t just eat grass. He needs meat to live.“
Topics such as evolutionary pressure and natural selection become clear. The wolves hunt the weak and sick animals. They can then no longer reproduce and pass on the disease.

„Why do deer fight in autumn? What is rut?“
At the end of the film these questions arise. The concentration of the children is exhausted after three quarters of an hour with intermediate discussions. I write down the questions in order to deal with them later.

Read the newspaper

Wednesday, January 20th

Six children come today to read the newspaper. Ronja is interested in the Opel in the factory building. „We also have such a car! Is that still in the factory?“ Melinda especially likes the horse-drawn sleigh in the snow. She has her own pony and is very fond of horses. Jesper finds a small photo of two bears: „Look: how the bears on TV“, he remembers our film.

Adrian and Justin stay with a photo of German soldiers in Afghanistan. The page of the letters to the editor. I explain to them what that is. „There, they’re sitting in the tank!“ – „Why do they have sunglasses on and up there something on their helmets?“ I describe Afghanistan to them as a country in the south, where the sun often shines.

„Why do they fight in Afghanistan? That is nevertheless quite far away. How did they attack us?“ Justin sees the task of the soldiers as defending against an enemy attack. This picture does not fit in with his image. After a few vague pieces of information, I don’t really know what to do. To explain the causes of the Afghanistan conflict in a child-friendly way is something I have to fit in with. We postpone the topic until tomorrow and I think about it in peace. (I have then read Wikipedia.)

Mara finds another picture of a doctor in the US Army who cares for injured children in Haiti. „Look, there’s a soldier here, too“. They discover that soldiers not only fight, but are also used for relief measures. „My dad’s friend is also a soldier. But he doesn’t shoot, he’s a paramedic and helps the injured,“ Adrian remembers. „The children are all out on the street because there is no hospital,“ Mara remarks.


Thursday, January 21st
I found what I was looking for on the Internet. I bring some photos with me. In a nutshell, I present the history of Afghanistan so far. Now there is no safe government that can take care of the people there. The soldiers from many countries have now helped for a long time to ensure peace and order. For example, German soldiers are helping to train police officers so that the people in the country can provide security themselves. But now it is being discussed how long this will continue and when the people will be able to get along on their own again.

„What does a government do?“ – „Who is doing something bad? Who do you have to watch out for?“ Here also again the „rebels“ appear. They find parallels to Angola. They think it’s good when soldiers help and protect. But they are also worried because they have a dangerous job.

On this day Adrian brings the obituary of Mrs. B. with him. He found it together with his mother in the Handelsblatt (a national business newspaper). We attach it to the plaque in the hallway.
On Friday there is a funeral service in the nursing home. My colleague will go there with two children.


Friday, January 22nd

In order not to hang up the different articles so confusingly, I decide to sort them with the children according to topic complexes:

The younger ones make a poster with their animals and one with the different vehicles and means of transport.

The earthquake in Haiti has already had several stages and will certainly continue to occupy us.

Adrian and Justin want to stick „Rebels in Angola and war in Afghanistan“ together on a poster.

Review and final questions

Monday, January 25th
Our breakfast is slowly becoming a literature café. The preschool children always have breakfast on the gallery. We also hung up the posters there in „their“ corner. At breakfast the conversation comes back to the earthquake.

Adrian saw the news yesterday with his father. (He wasn’t allowed to do that half a year ago). He knows a lot to tell, also about the oil tanker accident and the oil barrier they laid out there. His father obviously accompanied it well and talked to him about it.

In any case, the children want to know how this will continue in the earthquake area. I fetch the newspaper. They are amazed at the little miracle that a man could still be rescued after 11 days. The procedure of the dog squadron is explained. Thanks to his father, Adrian has a lot of knowledge about rescue-technical issues.

Many questions: Why didn’t they dig for the man earlier? And why he didn’t die of thirst. And what about the others who still lie under the stones. What the soldiers are doing there.

I tell them about a report I saw yesterday on TV, about the distribution of relief supplies and the problems of the people there. That’s what they want to see. Unfortunately I didn’t record it, but I promise to look for something like that again.

Over the corpses and the bones we touch the holy three kings again in their shrine, why they would not have three coffins. The interest in the bones is still great. At home I have a magazine about the exhibition „The King’s Tombs of the Scythians“, which I visited once in Berlin. Maybe we can have a look at it.

The children discuss: „The soul is transparent and flies into heaven“. – „The bones are still there. The undertaker puts them in a coffin and then it is burned or comes into the earth.“ – „But that hurts nevertheless!“ means Justin dismayed. Whether one can choose this beforehand with the burning.
Adrian: „Grandma told my dad that.“
I can no longer reconstruct the whole course of the conversation.

Those were the topics in the further course: You can also die as a child, for example in an accident. The paramedics brought one child back to life, dad said. Is it possible to come back to life? That was the case with Jesus. No, he flew to heaven. With God he is now where the souls are. They can look down to us from there. Every evening I still talk to my grandma, she hears me then. And our two dogs, they are also up there. Maybe the soul comes down again into another person. Then one lives again. Maybe I will meet you then! But I do not recognize you then. And you don’t recognize me either, I look different then. Then I will become a soccer player!

It wasn’t a final discussion. If you can close something like that at all.

But this intensive conversation actually lasted
80 minutes.

„Will we do that again tomorrow?“ – Why not? Strangely enough, it’s the meal  together that is the situation in which the most „heavy food for the mind“ is digested. In any case, our café circle will certainly go on. I will look for a report on television, which I will record for the children. I still have the magazine about the royal graves somewhere.


Already on the second day of my project there was again a problem with time: my colleague, who had been ill for so long, is now out for another six months. The staff shortage has returned after a hopeful week and a half. – Oh no!!!
Once again it means: no time for post-processing, notes about observations and statements of the children. A recording device would be helpful again.
The bad basic conditions make me highly dissatisfied. I know that I could do something completely different. It cannot be changed. We hope for representation.

(See also: Improving Framework Conditions!, German version.)

How is Adrian after this time?

The contact between us has intensified. He talks more often and more openly about his thoughts, he feels taken seriously. His questions were differentiated, but I have also experienced particularly gifted children who have asked much deeper questions. In my view I was able to lead the conversations to satisfying results according to his thoughts. That’s my subjective assessment. Here we are confronted with the problem of target verification. I cannot look into his head.

Moreover, a process of questioning and developing one’s own views and theories is never complete, even for adults. So am I at a goal?

We have addressed and highlighted some „bad news“, and also seen that there is a lot of good news. The parents were surprised that he could handle the topics very well. At home he didn’t say that he can’t fall asleep or something like that. That was one of my fears.

Some questions remained unanswered, or I had the feeling not to be able to answer sufficiently. That was a stupid feeling. But that’s the way it is sometimes. There is no answer to everything.

Justin and Mara showed great interest and curiosity. Mara has also attracted my attention so far. I was glad that I could support her at the same time. So it also did my other „clever heads“ good. Compared to the two, Adrian’s reflections do not show any serious difference.

So I wonder whether there is another area of interest that needs to be promoted. I think I’m gonna have to try to find out some more here. Perhaps his lead in development from last year has simply converged. In this case, I am still very uncertain.

The newspaper also proved to be an interesting medium for younger children. They had other interests, they wanted to cut out especially the animal photos and vehicles. They were very happy to be involved. When they get to the point of asking deeper questions, they will also be interested in the other photos. So they could draw out for themselves what they need for themselves.

Have I left enough space to develop their own thoughts? What would I have to do differently?
It was still difficult for me to have philosophical conversations. Sometimes I had the feeling that I couldn’t improvise fast enough, that I had to ask the right question to continue their thoughts and to stimulate further thinking. You probably just have to practice that.

Comment by the course instructor:
Yes, maybe you can improve yourself through practice. But „difficult“ and/or philosophical topics do not primarily demand quick answers, but honest answers and the raising of new questions that arise from them.
I think you should not be too self-critical, but rather enjoy your visible successes.

I notice that I can still work on my general education, especially political education. Admittedly, I have not been so enthusiastic about this topic so far. However, I recently read an interesting novel („Lautlos“ by Frank Schätzing in German), which dealt with the different aspects and backgrounds of war, politics and economics. It was easy to read, but gave me some food for thought on the subject.
Philosophy is also one of the topics for which I still don’t feel fit enough. I often came up against my limits. The book „Who Am I – And If So, How Many?“, by Richard David Precht, I find quite revealing in this respect. Only the next step remains: How do you bring this closer to the children? I’m sure I’ll find suitable literature here as well.

Due to the lack of time, the newspaper project was less intensive than I would have wished. However, I have the feeling that it could keep us busy for quite some time. The children’s interest is great and they will always be able to discover new topics and events. From this impulses can be taken up well, like watching a film here for example.

The breakfast round with the preschool children is a suitable framework to maintain this ritual of reading the newspaper and discussing. I will definitely strive for that.

Comment by the course instructor:
I would like to encourage you in this very much. A new piece of culture has been created in your already culturally rich kindergarten.

See also: Reading a Newspaper, Making a Newspaper


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













Adrian Studies Nature’s Creeps

by Jordis Overödder


Adrian is now 5;4 years old. At the age of 3;0 he came to our kindergarten, but has only been in my group for one year.

You can read more about Adrian here:
Adrian, 5;0 Years
Adrian Takes to Reading the Newspaper – Questions of Life and Death

In the last year I observed great restlessness, impatience and frustration in him, which discharged into aggression and fingernail chewing.

With my support, he found good access to the older children who are now in school. He mainly played with them.

He showed a lot of interest in computers and got his PC driver’s license early (see: The Experts Principle in Our Kindergarten… (German version)). Today he still plays on the computer from time to time, but has exhausted this area for himself at the moment.

He is still very eager and active in his role as a computer specialist. If the others have a question, if the game does not start or similar, then he helps immediately and competently. This role is immensely important to him and fills him with great pride.

Our concern about what will happen when his friends are all in school has disappeared. The friendship with Mara, which is quite similar to him with its creativity, has strengthened. (See: Adrian, 5;0 Years.)

Adrian has also found a good friend in Justin, who joined the group, who has the same interests and a social and humorous nature as Adrian.

With Frank and Jesper two more boys in his age group came to us. Maybe something will develop here. Adrian has been very cheerful and carefree lately.

He enjoys his new role to finally become one of the „big ones“. He no longer has to fight for his status and can bring in his many ideas and talents.

A few observations

    • Before the holidays, one of the grandmothers offered a guided nature tour. She showed the children many herbs and plants in the forest and on the pasture and told them something about their characteristics. Adrian was very attentive and one week later was able to remember special features: „If you crush the ribwort in this way, you can put it on a wound. It cleans the blood then.“
    • After the holidays Adrian took over a new job: He watered the flowers in the group. He does that with great pleasure, sometimes a little too benevolently, so that he has to pour out the pot afterwards.
    • At dessert, the children find seeds in the melon. Adrian wants to plant them and puts them in the flower pots. The others do the same to him. „You have to water them now, too“, Adrian knows and fetches the pot. Every single core is watered specifically.
    • Outside he has found a mouse hole. For several days he designs the entrance area, which is located on the side of a tree stump. He builds a waterfall for the mouse so that it has something to drink and collects seeds and berries for it.
    • I also remember the workpiece he built in the workshop course: a feeding station for birds.

Adrian is currently showing a great interest in nature. He likes to observe animals, discovers plants and takes care of their welfare. His interest is less theoretical than practical. He brings his social disposition to the care and handling of plants and animals and takes great pleasure in it.


In August there were flocks of wasps. Attracted by our apple trees and the fallen fruit, they became really annoying. They came into the group room and sat on the raw food plate, almost daily a child was stabbed.

Adrian and Justin appointed themselves wasp police. Armed with a clap, they took action against wasps approaching the children’s breakfast plates and cups.
I was not at ease, because my attitude towards animals also gave them the right to live. But since I also belong to those people who find the approach of a wasp extremely unpleasant, especially when they then crawl around on the children, I have approved their procedure for the time being.

But I didn’t want to leave the attitude „wasps are dangerous“ so uncommented and decided to perhaps steer the interest of both of them in other directions. I wanted to get to the bottom of the subject of wasps.

Impulse: Thematic and observation of wasps

In the group there is a small table, a place for visual objects, books and materials on current topics. It is filled by children and adults. I often lay out materials there and the children supplement what they find themselves, bring with them from home, and paint in addition.

I have selected nature guides from the library and my private collection. We bought magnifying glasses and large cucumber glasses with screw caps from the experiment room. First we have to see what a wasp looks like. Adrian collected three dead wasps from the windowsill.

Frank discovers „It’s got hair!“ in a magnifying glass. With an apple Adrian lures a wasp from the raw food plate into the cucumber glass. Quickly put the lid on it. That was exciting! Now a feeling of relief is spreading, because the wasp can’t do anything to us in the glass. Frank still looks skeptical: „It can’t stick through glass, can it?“ Adrian makes air holes in the lid. Does it still need something to drink? He wants to fill the glass under the tap. I quickly notice that there is enough apple juice in the apple and that it can manage with it until we let it fly again later.

Adrian does not have the inner calm to take a closer look at the wasps, but shows even more zeal in the procurement of further objects of interest. He shows great skill in tracking and catching. One also learns something about how the animals crawl or fly, where they hide and how to outwit them. This is much more exciting for him than looking at the pictures in the books.

At home I made myself smart by Internet research to the topic wasps still in addition. I saved some interesting pictures to show them to the children in their laptops. Unfortunately we did not get to it.
But it did have some effect: my own interest was aroused. I learned a lot of new things and that also had an influence on my attitude. Wasps not only seemed annoying and threatening to me, they were also really exciting. In conversations with individual children I was able to use my knowledge in the end.

Comment by the course instructor:
Ah great! This is exactly how „real“ research works: The adult takes up a current interest / an important question of the children and goes JOINTly with the children into the research. Of course the adult informs himself in advance, like you, but he lets the children make their own experiences. The adult is a „facilitator“, accompanies and supports – and expands his or her own horizon in the process.

In any case, the intensive occupation with the wasps has also brought about a change of heart in Adrian and the other children.

The next wasp that came in for breakfast wanted to lure Justin and Adrian back outside. Unfortunately, the little animal hummed outside their radius at the top of our ceiling lights. „They like sweets, don’t they? We can attract it with an apple!“ Said, done, Adrian had already fetched a piece of apple from the raw food plate. But his arm was too short and the wasp kept humming around the lamp. Adrian ran into the workshop next door and got a rather long roof batten, put the apple on the end. Then he climbed onto the table, marvelled at by the other children sitting around with their lunch boxes, and held the wasp’s bait with the batten in front of its „nose“.

We all had great pleasure in this action. Normally I wouldn’t have allowed him to balance on the table during breakfast with a batten from the workshop. But in this case I could understand his motivation very well and his approach was imaginative and also met my wish to find alternatives to killing the wasps.

His success was only indirect – the wasp was probably too annoyed and it flew out again on its own – but that didn’t stop Adrian’s joy.

The other children’s interest in the topic

Frank (3;11) has a special artistic talent. He likes to paint and draw. His spatial imagination is very pronounced, he painted early realistic pictures, for example machines with many parts, where he could explain exactly the functions. He sketched a wasp buzzing in a cucumber glass. To his discovery that the wasp has hair, he later expressed the thought whether it should go to the hairdresser.

Debbie (4;9) also draws the wasp. The correct attachement of the legs and wings impresses me. Emil (4;3) paints a thick bumblebee. He discovered it on a photo in the nature guide and finds it quite funny.

Larissa (5;10) wants me to write down her observations. She likes to file all possible work results in her folder. She dictates to me exactly what to write. This is also a good language support for her, because her family speaks Russian at home. I give her corrective feedback if she confuses the articles, for example.

Mara (5;9) disappears for a long time in the workshop and makes a wasp trap with windows out of cardboard boxes, toilet rolls and plastic. So that you can also look inside. The flap at the end of the entrance tube opens only to the inside. Mara fills Mara fills the trap with applest and places it trap outside on the windowsill. Works!

Comment by the course instructor:
Amazing idea of Mara! Above all, that she has also thought of the viewing windows!

Adrian catches several spiders in the cup magnifier. I offer him and Mara a portfolio sheet: „An observation of nature“ on which they can paint the spider. Mara starts right away, Adrian then joins in and paints a small spider with eight legs. “ It is also very small!“ Both then have so much fun painting the circles for the web that they fill the whole sheet with it.

Excursus: Discussions about observations

Adrian does not like to record his observations. Painting is too difficult for him, he finds dictation stupid. I write to him simply too slowly. I have already thought about getting myself a small dictation machine. Such a technical device would certainly be an incentive for Adrian. I can imagine that we could then be more persistent about his observations and other questions that arise for him from it, into the conversation. So he always leaves very quickly because he has something important to do. I would like to work on these conversations in order to help him to consciously steer his learning processes further, to formulate questions and to seek specific answers.

Comment by the course instructor:
This also seems to us to be an important approach for the further promotion of Adrian.

What else creeps and flies

We found an escargot outside. They are actually not so widespread here. It is under the glass salad bowl one day a guest in the group. Especially the little ones are happy. Outside they still find nudibranchs.

Adrian brings a crayfish from home, which he found the day before in the creek. He explains to me, „It must not be allowed in other water, otherwise it will break! We carefully pour it into a clear bucket – with the brook water, of course. The children are fascinated. Adrian releases it again in the afternoon. I am happy that his parents support him.

Grass snake
On the doormat in the open door to the outside area there was a tiny snake. This snake also briefly went into the glass, was admired and determined with the help of the colleagues: a grass snake!

Construction site: rabbit tunnel
Our two rabbits jump on warm days in their own small „outside area“ around. There the children can watch and pet them. But on this day Biscuit probably wanted to make an excursion and scratched himself unnoticed a tunnel under the little gate. It had already escaped! After numerous children and educators had caught it again, it had to into the stable.

Adrian, Justin and Mara immediately made it their task to close the hole again. But they didn’t just pour in some sand, but meticulously planned and thought through how the ground would hold up best.

They were busy for two hours: first they looked for small pebbles, then in the bushes with soil, which had to be knocked off, they mixed a tough mud. This was mixed with fine sand and applied to the pebbles as mortar. Finally, they plucked moss and planted it on top for fixing. This of course had to be stomped for compaction and finally watered. „Here it doesn’t grow out any more“ Adrian stated with satisfaction. It actually still lasts.

„There! A squirrel!“

As we sit in the morning circle, Jesper suddenly sees a squirrel in the meadow. Everyone immediately wants to look out of the window. Really! There it jumps around and makes use of our hazel bushes. This year there are many nuts. Finally it disappears from our field of vision. The children are disappointed.

Right after breakfast Adrian, Justin and Jesper go outside. They want to look for nuts for the squirrel to bury. Adrian has found a broken root that can be used to chop, shovel and tap at the same time.
I am nearby with the other children and am available when needed. They already have a question: „Where does the squirrel look for the nuts in winter?“ They want to make sure it finds them. A long time ago I had seen an animal film and was able to give some information: „In striking places.“ – „What is striking?“

Excursus: Language
I often use difficult words towards the children. It is just my way of speaking. When I notice that children don’t understand me, I say it again in a different way. It is important to me that they have a rich vocabulary on their way. I like to help them derive difficult words by pointing them to words of the same root they know.

Striking places: „These are unusual things that are particularly noticeable in their surroundings, a root, a thick stone. These are ‚landmarks‘ for the squirrel, like a ‚marker‘ in the landscape.“ – „Ah, like on a treasure map!“ – „And it finds it in the snow, too“ – „Well, then we’ll look for landmarks now! Here, the post from the stairs.“

Plant bushes

The next day they find a nut with root while collecting supplies. „There, look, a tree! I’ll plant it now!“ Justin finds a small holly sprout. „What’s his name?“ he asks me. I should also photograph it. For his folder.

Adrian expertly digs a hole with his special root and inserts the germinated nut. „Now I still have to water! I need water!“ He goes in with the bucket. The colleague asks him about his plan. „Water a bush!“

That he had to water the bushes outside with our expensive tap water was not obvious to her. The bushes would get enough water from the rain.
Without water he came back and explained his dilemma. „She won’t let me!“ I went again with him together and cleared up the misunderstanding. I am very happy about our good communication in the team. Here nobody feels undermined in his authority, if the other makes for special reason other decisions.

Squirrels: Impulse through non-fiction

I would like to take up and deepen the interest of the children. I buy a book about squirrels. I would like to introduce this to an interested small group. In the morning circle I ask who wants to participate. Almost everyone raise the hand, except the youngest ones, who probably didn’t understand what I asked. So I decide to let everyone join in. So we all arrange to meet before noon on the carpet.

I design a small square with illustrative material: nuts, acorns, plums, berries, chestnuts – what the squirrel eats. While reading, the children can immediately look at the things and touch them. I have copied some pages. The children who feel like it can then paint the pictures and stitch them into their portfolio. There is a lively rush.

I was surprised that not only the big ones, but also the younger children were so attentive and interested in this offer. Everyone was involved in the process. As far as possible, I tried to involve everyone in such a large group and to capture comments from every child.


The next day the older ones search outside for the squirrel’s nest. It is raining, but they have put on mud clothes to look for the squirrel. They are lucky that the rain keeps the other children from going out, because they can actually watch the squirrel for a long time on the quiet outside grounds and follow its jumps and paths. I watch them through the window. They are very excited, but sneak and whisper quietly so as not to scare the squirrel away.

„The squirrel is my favourite animal“ Justin tells his mother as soon as she picks him up in the afternoon. Then he fetches his folder to show her the pictures.

Excursus: Frank and Mathematics

Frank (4;11) likes to count everything. Every morning there is exactly a dozen kisses for mummy. „…ten – eleven – twelve! Bye, Mama!“ He compares and measures and weighs. „There are three apples more than on the red plate!“

I think about what he might enjoy. In my own kindergarten days I always liked this Montessori hundred tablet. At home at the computer I design a table of hundreds with light grey numbers to trace. That goes down well! The older children all want a sheet of paper. Most of them can count up to 21. Only Frank and Mara are able to count up to a hundred. Frank looks thereby exactly on the numbers and reads. Mara counts rather by heart. Adrian is also there, very eager and highly motivated. Such persistent activities are not really for him. But here he benefits from the motivation of the others.

Outside, I suggest that the children collect a hundred nuts. I lay down four slats as a frame for them. Everyone helps with the search. By dessert we have the two hundred almost full.

The next morning the children look for the nuts again: The squirrel was there and stole some! They fill the table again. „Now we are running a hundred laps“ they call out and run off. After 26, they have made a mess of counting, but they had a lot of fun.
Frank and Justin try out how they can crack the nuts. It works with thick stones. If there’s anything to try, the others are also quick to get in and deliver supplies.

On another day, Frank has built four block towers of different heights. He shows them to me: “ It is small, it is medium“, he truncates for a moment and considers, „it is bigger and it is the biggest!

For breakfast I have filled two different jugs with apple spritzer. Frank comes and lifts both up.
Frank: „It’s heavier, it’s lighter“.
Jordis: „Where’s more in it?“
He points to the lighter, taller, narrower pot.
Frank: „In that, that’s higher.“
Jordis: „And which one is heavier?“
Frank: „The other one.“
Jordis: „Aha.“
Frank: „That’s because the water’s being pushed so high here.“
Jordis: „We can measure where there is more in it if we pour the spritzer into the same containers.“
Frank: „In the cups.“
Jordis: „Well, then get them from the breakfast table.“
Frank: „We’re all pouring the same amount.“
It makes 4 and a little from the narrow pot and 5 and almost full from the wide pot.
Frank: „Aha. There is more in it.“ He points to the wide one.
Jordis: „We can pour the same amount into both jugs now.“
Frank: „Yes. 5 cups in both cans.“
Frank looks again. He laughs, points to the narrow pot: „There is much higher! He weighs: „Both the same!“ He helps me to dry the cups and brings them back to the table.

With this little in-between action he has become aware of the distribution of fluid in different containers and he has made a reference to the weight.

Comment by the course istructor:
It is nice for us to read how relaxed and easy – and yet so clear and deliberate – you take up the children’s many questions and interests, integrate them into everyday life and accompany the children on their explorations!

Apple harvest and what can be done with it

It gets cooler. The wasps only hum around sporadically and slowly. „They will hibernate soon“, Adrian remarks. Now the children can finally venture onto the apple trees to pick the apples. Last month I had forbidden this to the children because of the large number of wasps that feasted in the apples. They eagerly pick and shake the trees.

Our apples are green and quite sour. They bring the apples in so that we can eat them for dessert. They collect the rotten ones outside and process them into „apple juice“ in the sand moulds.
At dessert we all have to laugh because the apples are so sour. There are many left. Adrian has an idea: „We can cook apple sauce after all! – „Ow, yes!“

Somehow apple sauce

The next day my colleague goes gymnastics with the younger children. The big ones are among themselves. „Now you can cook apple sauce“ I suggest to them. „You can do it alone. Just let me know if you need anything“.

Comment by the course instructor:
Fine! We like it well!

On the one hand I didn’t have the opportunity to prepare anything, on the other hand I’m very curious how they will do it now and whether they can develop the work steps themselves.

Adrian shoots off right away: „We need a pot!“ It is quickly fetched from the cook in the kitchen. „Now put the apples in there.“ Uiuiu. Nothing good shimmers to me. But I keep quiet for a moment. Thank God Mara complains that she doesn’t like the seeds.

„You have to cut them out after all!“ – „Well, that’s what we do. Jordis, we need the knives.“ I hand them kitchen knives from our closet. They get boards. Jesper wants to watch.
„Ew, there ist dirt on my apple“ – Larissa holds her apple up in amazement. „Then we probably have to wash them.“ Jesper thinks that’s good. He stutters excitedly, „I’ll do the hm-m!“ So he also has a task that he enjoys. Everyone who is finished, he brings another apple.

Let’s go. Put apples without seeds in the pot. „Now we’re cooking. Turn on the stove, Jordis.“ I advise them to add another small cup of water. I would like to spare them burnt apples. – „Hmmm, that smells delicious! I’ll give it a try – ugh! Sour!“- „My mum makes sugar in there. It’s in the closet, isn’t it? Laura always puts it in her coffee.“

The gymnastics children are also invited to eat apple sauce. Adrian counts the children and takes out little bowls.
Delicious! I still suggest to paint the work steps so that the children have their own recipe. They also want to write themselves. I get the letter cards and put the words they can’t spell themselves.

The children think it’s great that I’ve finally had time only for them after a long time. They are allowed to do something special all by themselves, because I can be there with unlimited attention.

With guidance and guidelines I deliberately hold myself back completely in order to challenge her thinking. That appeals to them very much. To belong to the „big ones“ is a new role for all of them. Adrian is of course a driving force and has a more or less clever answer to everything (whole apples unwashed in the pot). But he acts with the others and not alone. Everyone is involved, everyone can have a say. It is discussed and Adrian also experiences rejection of his rash ideas and actions, for example that he gets the pot from the kitchen alone.

Others want to join him, too! The girls will give him a contra. In the end, he’s probably glad that he didn’t scare the others away by giving in and doesn’t have to cut the apples all by himself in the end. It is a very harmonious round and and the interaction between the children is respectful. They are all very persevering.

I am very happy that Jesper has also found a place in this group. He was often excluded by Adrian in the first weeks, in my opinion because he speaks unclearly and cannot bring in his concerns quickly and fluently. „Jesper, you’re not playing“ he often got to hear. In other game situations Adrian was often very impatient with him and hardly let him speak. Negotiations and common considerations probably didn’t go fast enough for him.
Here I see a change in Adrian’s attitude. In situations like this he experiences Jesper as a valuable member of the group and also discovers many qualities in him. In the meantime the two have also found a common ground: They both like to be on the road with their learner bikes. In cycling Jesper is a manoeuvrable speedster and for Adrian a good buddy to compete with. Adrian has become more patient and lets Jesper play along more often.

Find mushrooms

Last weekend I took part in a mushroom excursion. I found that very interesting. During the walk I found a very beautiful fly agaric and took it to the kindergarten for the children to look at. Many immediately knew how to report „It’s poisonous“.

Justin was able to explain to us why the fungus is called a fly agaric. „Because if you crush it like that and then put it in milk, the flies will drink it and die.“ We look at other mushrooms in my mushroom book. „They grow also outside on the meadow“ Mara recognizes immediately. At noon we set off with a small group to find mushrooms outside.

„We have to put on gloves“ Adrian remarks, because there could be poisonous mushrooms.

In fact, we find some mushrooms. We look for their names in the identification book: green-leaved sulphur head and radish helmet – no, you can’t eat them! Adrian has another idea: „We can paint on and mark the ones we found here.“

What else Adrian does

Adrian asks his friends to „Come, let’s go on a treasure hunt“ after cutting out talers from the gold foil he found on the shelf in the workshop. Of course, he also painted a map.

He directs the group through the outside area and finally says: „So, here you have to search!“ When they find the treasure, I have to hide it again for them. I draw a map with arrows and they brood over the symbols: „That must be the ship. And here the stairs!“  (Our wooden ship in the sandbox is a popular climbing device and always encourages pirate games.) Already it starts and actually they find what they’re looking for.

Adrian asks again and again for a sewing needle. He likes to sew little bags or pillows for his sister. Mara also likes to be there. She sews hearts or cushions for her built things (doll’s bed…).

Adrian is still an avid computer specialist.

In the last week some children have contacted us who would like to become master children in the (wooden) workshop. Adrian has also „applied“. I took these children with me to the workshop course during the week to see if and how they fulfilled their task of helping the newcomers. Adrian and a girl preferred to deal with their own things, build something themselves and implement their own ideas. Adrian hardly took care of the other children at all. I also reported that to him in the same way.

Although I kept reminding him of his task in the meantime, he didn’t try very hard. I discussed with him that at a later date we would consider again whether he could become a master child and what exactly I expect from him. He is very concerned about that. I consider drawing up a „learning contract“ with him so that we can discuss exactly what tasks he has as a master child, how he can initially „practice“ this and how we can finally check whether he fulfils the tasks.


More ideas that I have for the continuation of the theme „animals and mushrooms“:
– Walk in the forest
– Collecting plants, pressing, designing books
– Invitation of the school in the forest
– A father is a forester and could show us how trees are felled.
– Project week in the experiment room

If the topic “ Animals and Mushrooms “ is closed, perhaps another one results. Frank is very interested in the universe, in stars and astronauts. Perhaps in the next months also something new results in this direction, which inspires also Adrian.

In the dark season of the year, Adrian’s interest in the PC could also grow again. Maybe he would like to try out new games, because he already knows all the others. I can make myself smart there times, what there is so new.

Adrian’s wealth of ideas and his creativity are no longer a problem for the others. They accept him and profit from it. In his new role as a preschool child, he now has much more room for independence and opportunities to try out solutions.

He shows more perseverance, even dares to tackle difficult things. In my opinion, this goes hand in hand with his solid self-confidence.

Comment by the course instructor:
For us, the question still remains whether such a positive development would have been possible for Adrian even earlier, whether you could have helped him more in his fight for acceptance with the older ones at that time. What do you think?

Now that the older children are gone, he doesn’t set himself any less high goals. Some of the girls or Justin and Frank are at eye level with him in some areas.

His frustration tolerance has become much higher, he no longer gives up so easily. His perseverance in repetitive activities is increased by the motivation of the other children.

My communication with Adrian has improved. He explains to me what he needs and why, and is no longer irritated or feels misunderstood when asked. I have more patience for him. His parents also question his intentions differently. He no longer has to fight so hard for the implementation of his ideas.

At the moment I notice that he is doing very well in the group. I am much more worried about a lot of other children. There is a danger that I will lose sight of his needs because others need me more.

Allowing exceptions, redefining rules, allowing special activities often means an extreme additional burden in everyday working life. Nevertheless, further training helps me to become aware of such situations. I am becoming more and more successful at simply allowing small support measures to flow into my work without any great hassle.


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



Adrian, 5;0 Years

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.


Butterfly Club

by Sonja Marquardt


When our whole group went on a trip, I talked to four-year-old Sarah on the way. She asked me if I could do a workgroup with her, she would wish for it. (In our two-group kindergarten there are often working groups on different topics.) First I told her that I would think about it and the next day after breakfast we could sit down again and I could give her an answer.

The fact of the matter is that there is going to be a change of teachers. Furthermore, our two groups are not in the building at the same time, but alternatingly one group is in the forest and one is in the kindergarten building. This has many advantages, but makes working across groups more difficult. The upcoming change involves me, as I am going to be working in the other group and thus not in Sarah’s group any more.

… in a nutshell…

Four-year-old Sarah likes to participate in workshops, even if they are intended for pre-school children. After a thorough observation of her development, her kindergarten teacher now gives her her own working group for the first time: It is her topic, she gets to choose the members and she feels responsible for the success of the working group. A strong performance for such a young child.

Her kindergarten teacher will guide her carefully. In the end, there is more knowledge, more self-confidence, more social competence, great satisfaction and a desire for more.

I asked the kindergarten management if I could change to the other group for the project times. They agreed that this was possible.

This is how I see Sarah

Sarah is 4 years old and has been going to kindergarten for about 9 months. Her family lives in an environmentally conscientious way, which is reflected in environmentally friendly behaviour (architecture of the house, maintenance of a large near-natural outdoor area with pond, meadows and garden, care of various animals) and in nutrition (home-grown fruit and vegetables as well as home-made bread).

Sarah has a strong imagination, she invents stories and role plays. She is also very interested in newspaper articles and nature. She is already showing very serious interest in school children’s projects and is also participating in some of them.

The observational charts „Beobachtungsschnecke“ and „Gelsenkirchener Entwicklungsbegleiter“ show:

The field of language Sarah is rather advanced. She likes to rhyme, has a correct sentence structure, is rhythmically talented and knows opposites. Cognitively, too, she is quite advanced. She is well acquainted with the terms of time, she can describe a picture scene intensively, knows general terms, organizes things by size, is interested in different professions and especially so in news (newspaper / radio).

In the social field, Sarah is developed according to her age. She hasn’t made any lasting friends. She often plays alone or with changing playmates. She can play intensively in small groups, but also in larger groups of 7 to 8 children.
In conflict situations she reacts with loud screaming and crying. She does this so loudly, intensely and credibly that people suspect that something really bad has happened to her or that she is in great pain. If Sarah has a conflict with a teacher, she reacts with rejection and ignores the person. She rarely shares, so it can happen that she hides toys from the other children.

She is good at taking her own stand and presenting herself to a large group. She can concentrate for 30 minutes on average. She can abide by rules – but in a conflict, she abandons such limitations. Rules are broken by her once in a while.

Sarah’s fine motor skills and gross motor skills are developed according to her age.

I filled out Joelle Huser’s observation sheet for Sarah.
It turns out that Sarah has a quick comprehension and curiosity. She is often interested in new learning material and is also a good contributor. She brings suitable newspaper articles or specialist books with her from home on her own initiative.

Sarah has a large vocabulary and can use it well and confidently, so she uses words that children of the same age do not yet know. She also has good expression. She can express herself grammatically correctly and also shows pleasure in it.

Sarah has a strong urge for independence and self-reliance. In circle situations, for example, she would like to implement her own ideas and decide a lot for herself. If she is not allowed to do so, she reacts with indifference and no longer participates in the circle.

Sarah deals with ecological problems. So she often asks me about environmental protection and what you have to do to make nature feel better. She also tells me a lot about people who damage the environment, natural disasters or environmental damage. She’s worried about the environment.

Sarah has a great knowledge of natural history topics. She is very interested in animals, plants, natural phenomena and climate protection.

Information for Sarah´s parents

I thought about not involving Sarah’s parents much in the project for the time being, but I will inform them about the project. I told her parents about the certificate course for the advancement of the gifted children (see: IHVO Certificate Course) and also about the practical task that I have to develop for this course.
It is important to me that my work is transparent for parents so that something as special as changing groups during the project can be explained.

Questionnaire for self-assessment of the child

So the next day I told Sarah we could do the surgery. I asked her to interview her and showed her the questionnaire. This is not entirely alien to our children, because with us every child has the right to a „talk day“ with the kindergarten teacher of his or her choice once every six months.

Sarah was very happy and motivated. We looked for a quiet, secluded and pleasant place in the forest and met me confidentially, the other children were told to leave Sarah and me alone for a little while, our children know that too. I explained the questionnaire to her. Sarah quickly understood the meaning of the smileys.

See: Children’s Questionnaire on Communication. There you will also find a printable version.

Sarah’s answers in the questionnaire – a reflection

Questions 1 – The other children are friendly to me (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1)
and 2 – I am friendly to the other children (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1):

I gather from Sarah’s answers that she feels good in the kindergarten group most of the time. She feels that the children are friendly to her and that she is also friendly towards them. This is consistent with my observations. Sarah may not have a close friend, but she’s popular. There is no child who would refuse Sarah as a playmate – conversely, however, Sarah always specifically chooses the play partners she needs. If she thinks a child is unfit, she says so.

Questions 3 – The others like listening to me when I say something (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3)
and 4 – I like listening to other children, especially when … talks (because…) (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 2):

Sarah feels that no child is listening to her, I can understand this from her point of view. Sarah is very dominant and often wants to push through her playing ideas.

Does she have many good ideas?

Does she think that the other children often don’t have such good ideas?

If her playing ideas are not appreciated, she prefers to play alone. She said in her answer: „Only Anne listens to me.“ I interpret Anne’s mention as follows: „Anne only had a try-out day in the group until now, she is yet to start attending kindergarten soon. She played with Sarah and got involved with Sarah’s ideas, and says that she sometimes suggests a funny game, „but the other children prefer to dig up grass“.

Sarah says that she „sometimes“ listens to the other children, especially the girls, but also to Holger and Kalle.

I can partly agree that she is listening to the children. According to my observation, she often listens to the children for as long as she thinks this is useful for her.

Questions 5 – The other children like talking to me (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3)
and 6 – I like talking to the other children, especially to:.. (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1):

I also think I understand how she comes to feel that no child likes talking to her, as she  probably doesn’t attribute much importance to the conversations she does have with other children. Observation disproves, however, that no one talks to her. Many children talk to Sarah and often ask her to join them, but she rarely accepts.

That she speaks with other children can be observed regularly in the group. The fact that she mentions Tia can be interpreted in the way that her little sister can easily be guided by Sarah. Familiarity could also play a role.

Questions 7- The other children understand what I say (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 2)
and 8 – I understand what the other children say (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1):

She feels that the others „sometimes“ understand what she wants, I could often observe this in the group. She tells children about a playing idea or something else, and the children will sometimes find it difficult to follow her – either out of lack of interest or because Sarah wants to take the lead and the other children do not always allow it. So they do not listen to Sarah for long, and I interpret this in the way that Sarah might then think the children do not understand her.

I can, int urn, see why she thinks she understands the other children well. It can be observed in the group that Sarah shows no interest in some games and ideas of the others and she, according to my own interpretation, perhaps does not want to / does not have to  or is even unable to understand this at all.

She herself says that she understands the other children well and knows what they want. She also tells me that she understands what she herself says and wants.

Questions 9 – If I need help, the others help me, for example: … (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3):
and 10 – The other children accept my help, for example: … (
Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1):

Unfortunately, Sarah feels that she gets no help from the children, except from her little sister. I suppose Sarah sometimes feels detached. The observations made by the kindergarten in advance show something different. Sarah does gets support from the other children, but often doesn’t want it and rejects it, often in a very unfriendly way. She frequently raises her voice and gets verbally aggressive. She easily gets angry with herself when she can’t do something on her own and needs help.

It has also happened that she did not receive any help because she had not drawn any attention to herself. (Example: She got her boot stuck in a tree and could not get out by herself. She didn’t call on anybody, so she only received help when she was finally seen  by somebody.)

Sarah reports that she is helping the other children. That’s true. She is often helpful, even to strangers. She says that she is helpful when carrying a heavy box, for example. (She is big and strong for her age.)

Questions 11 – My ideas / suggestions are appreciated. For example: … (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3)
and 12 – The other children have good ideas, too. For example: … 
(Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1)
and 13 – When I have an idea for a game, the others usually go with it and I am happy (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3):

Sarah reports that her ideas are not being accepted. This is similar to the beginning of the questionnaire. She often wants to push through her own ideas and now has a hard time getting her ideas accepted in the kindergarten group. She tells me that she often proposes to play captain, which nobody wants.

It is often observed at the moment that the children ignore Sarah’s ideas, which could be due to the fact that she herself has been doing the same thing with the ideas of the other children for a long time.

I was surprised when Sarah said in the interview that the other children had good ideas, such as „playing horse“.
I suppose that she did not want to say clearly before me that she does not like the ideas of others. Or she doesn’t dare admit it in front of the other children, which is rather what I believe, because I have always experienced Sarah as a very sincere child. Maybe she doesn’t see her own behaviour as it is in reality.

Questions 14 – I think, most of the children in our group like me. Except for: … (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3):
and 15 – I like most of the other children. Except for: … I especially like: …
(Here she ticked off Smiley No. 2):

The next answer made me very sad. Sarah thinks the kids in the group don’t like her, except for Jule. This was also not noticed in earlier observations. It’s nice that she called me Jule. So there is already one person in the group who is positive for her.

It could be that Sarah had a bad day at the interview and replied very negatively.

I’m not surprised she said she didn’t like the boys. There is currently a fight between girls and boys in kindergarten and vice versa. They try to „make war“ against each other and put each other in „prison“. They also tell each other off and get angry. However, all this remains within the boundaries of normal children’s play.
That she doesn’t like Ronja either could be explained by the fact that Ronja is very popular and often gives ideas for games that are accepted by the other children. She has a srong standing and she is also very intelligent, which many notice. (Children, for example, remark how clever Ronja is). Ronja also has a very close relationship with me. She visits me at midday care, which I supervise. Sarah would also like to take part there, it could be that Sarah is jealous of Ronja.

Questions 16 – The other children often ask me good questions. Example: … (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1):
and 17 – I can ask the other children many things.
(Here she ticked off Smiley No. 3):

I think it’s nice that she feels that the other children are asking her good questions. As an example she cites: „What does Hello Kitty look like?“ And she can answer the questions well. So there is one more positive with regard to her relationship with the group.

It reflects her previous answers that she doesn’t think there is a lot she can ask the other children. Maybe she sees herself as misunderstood in general.

Questions 18 – The other children do mostly answer when I address them. (Here she ticked off Smiley No. 2)
and 19 – I usually answer, too, when they address me
(Here she ticked off Smiley No. 1):

She reports that the others do answer sometimes when she addresses them. I can understand why she thinks so, because that is the way it is.

What is remarkable, however, is that she thinks she always answers when other children address her. In observations one can see exactly the opposite. She often avoids conversations and only talks to children selected by her.
That’s probably not very nice of her, but at the same time it shows a very goal-oriented communication behavior. Perhaps she is more concerned with content than with communication for its own sake.


This interview really made me think. Sarah doesn’t seem to be feeling quite so comfortable in the group at the moment. I’ll pass the interview on to her group teacher. I want Sarah to continue to be observed in that direction.
It may be that she had a bad day or a bad week and that is why she answered so negatively – but there is also the possibility that Sarah has been feeling misunderstood and disliked for a long time.

Also her perception of her own behaviour and that of the other children seems to differ in some respects from what I have observed. It should be examined whether this divergence  is due to the observer’s own or due to Sarah’s perception, or whether there are yet other reasons.

In the following project I will always keep Sarah’s answers in mind and take them into account with regard to the aims. The questionnaire represents an occasion and a guideline for a more intensive and undisturbed conversation and has thus contributed greatly to a more precise understanding of Sarah’s situation.

This is good on the one hand, but on the other hand one also wonders why such conversations do not arise naturally, and there the focus inevitably shifts to the good old (poor) children-teacher ratio.

Comment by the course instructor:

However, you have a fairly clear finding and recognize the need to act. You also see that your interpretations require further observation in order to critically examine them.
A motif seems to crystallize throughout your account: the continuum between tendencies to dominate and a justified feeling of being misunderstood as possible causes for Sarah’s not quite satisfactory social integration in the group.

From a socio-political point of view, it is basically to be welcomed if a girl does not give in and take a step back, but rather knows how to stand up for something and make her point. In the individual case – here Sarah’s – it remains to be ensured that strong self-assertion has a constructive rather than a destructive effect on the social integration of the person.
It seems important to work out with her that she should continue to try and pursue her ideas in the group – but that she can and must learn to do this more successfully. (Example Ronja – What makes Ronja different?)

A more relaxed attitude towards her own communicative failures (which of course will inevitably materialize) can only be expected from her when she feels she has enough communicative successes „on balance“.
Maybe it also helps to take a closer look at the quality of her ideas. Are they really unattractive, or do the children reject them for other reasons?

Finding a topic for the project

Sarah and I met after the morning circle to talk about her project and to plan it. It is important to me that our meeting is undisturbed so that Sarah feels she is being taken seriously. I leave the choice of location up to her. She chooses our willow tipi, which she had designed together with me.

I ask her if she has any ideas yet. She reports that she wants to do a butterfly project. She explains that she’s already been thinking about it at home. She continues that she wants to do a unicorn club, but not now.

Because, so she explains, now there are many butterflies to watch. She also wants to know how old butterflies can get and how they have babies. I liked Sarah’s thoughts, also that she had already given the project a lot of thought and had already expressed wishes. That’s really strong. I would now like to work out a butterfly project with her.


Sarah and I are working out together what you can do in a butterfly company. Sarah expresses the wish that Jule should help us think. Here Sarah may also strive for a stronger bond that could become a friendship. That is another reason why it is good to involve Jule so that both can see how the cooperation between them works. I pick up the idea, because I have taken from the questionnaire that this might be beneficial for Sarah’s social behaviour and self-confidence.

The three of us are sitting on a log. I have brought some note pads to record our ideas. We are all in the forest and our log is not far away from the rest of the group, so that we can be undisturbed and still include other children any time if necessary.

I begin the conversation by mentioning that Sarah would like to know how old butterflies can get. I want to know whether the question is still important. I immediately receive a „of course“ answer and a request to write down the question, in very big letters.

Sarah already has several ideas, which she dictates to me, Jule contributes some too. A couple of boys come over, they are interested and ask what we are doing. I ask Sarah to explain it to the boys, which she does right away. The boys sit join us.

A a first thing, I just wrote down the ideas without evaluating them.

(Information about who had the ideas:
Sarah=SA, Jule=JU, Dennis=DE, Boris=BO.)

Children’s idea list

We want to find out how old butterflies get. =SA
We want to discover how butterflies have babies. =SA
We want to watch butterflies. SA and JU
We want to handcraft and paint butterflies! Best make a big one together, if possible. =SA
We want to find out whether butterflies are loud and whether they can talk to each other. =SA
We want to understand how butterflies can fly. =BO
We want to grow plants for the butterflies. =SA
We want to out about different butterflies. SA and JU
We want to listen to „The Very Hungry Caterpillar“. =JU
We want to find out whether what is written in the book „The Very Hungry Caterpillar“ is really true. =SA
We want to find out what the first butterfly looked like and what it was called. =DE
We want to visit the Klimahaus [Climate House]. =SA

I read the list back to the children and ask whether everything is correct or whether I have forgotten something. The children are happy and tell me that they prefer to find out whether the story of the Ver Hungry Caterpillar is really true or whether it doesn’t work that way.

I praise the children for their ideas and declare that we will try to find out and do a lot together. But I also honestly tell them that unfortunately we can’t go to the Klimahaus because it’s simply too far away.

Selection and description of the AG members

My idea is to include Jule and Anne (who is new in kindergarten and was positively considered by Sarah in the questionnaire) in the project group, but I would like to wait for Sarah’s ideas.

Sarah had already expressed her wishes regarding the composition of the project group at the planning stage. It is also important to me that I will strongly involve Sarah in the election of members. Before the actual start of the project I meet Sarah alone once more.

Now we decide who we want to have with us. Of course, the selected members will also be involved in this selection process it the way that if someone does not show any interest at all, they will not be forced to participate in the project. On the other hand, if someone shows strong interest and would like to participate, we will also find a fair solution.

But I have one small limitation: I don’t want the number of members to become larger than 5, so planning is easier for me, the group can find each other faster, and working intensively is easier.

Group members:

Jule was already actively involved in the planning. She wants in. She is 4;3 years old and has been attending kindergarten for a year now.
Jule is a self-confident child. In circle situations she likes to communicate. She can make up her own mind. However, if something happens that is not in Jules mind (games she doesn’t like, sudden rain, no adult has time…), then Jule gets very upset. She then expresses this through crying, refusal, insulting or rarely also through physical arguments. She doesn’t have a permanent partner at the moment, which is partly explained by the fact that she can hardly adapt or subordinate.
She wants to take the leading role in the play situation, but the other children in the group do not want this and play without Jule.
It will be exciting how Jule and Sarah will communicate with each other in the small group, since they both lead and do not want to adapt or subordinate.

Jule is generally average and age-appropriate, only in the social field should it be strengthened, and its frustration tolerance should also be strengthened. She is very independent, shows a lot of imagination and creativity. In the field of coarse and fine motor skills, Jule is very well developed. She enjoys painting and handicrafts very much and very concentrated. She likes to move, but does not like persevering movement. This can be observed during gymnastics and longer walks. In the cognitive area, jule is developed on average. She likes nature and asks a lot about animals and plants.

She is a very cheerful child, which she can show with her cheerfulness. She has a great sense of humor. She likes to make up jokes, rhyme and fool others. But she shows sensitivity and knows when the situation is no longer funny.

From the very beginning it was Sarah’s wish that Anne participate in her working group. Anne’s brand new in kindergarten. But Sarah and Anne knew each other before. On Anne’s trial days one could observe that Sarah and she played together.
Before Anne came to us in the kindergarten, she had already attended another kindergarten for one year.

Anne is 4;8 years old. She grows up bilingual. She is fluent in German and English.

I can’t say much about Anne at this time, because I only know her from the taster days and she doesn’t visit my group. However, I asked the group educators: they estimate that Anne is on average developed and shows a lot of joy in learning. She quickly got used to the new group and the kindergarten with its nature project. She is very helpful and friendly, both to adults and children.

She is cheerful and actively participates in the group. She likes to tinker and knead, she can also follow a story for a long time and concentrate and also reproduce it well.


Janette is interested in many working groups and likes to participate. She was very interested from the beginning and asked me if she could participate in the Schmetterlings AG. Sarah agreed immediately and I also liked the idea.
Janette is 5;5 years old and has been attending our nature kindergarten for over two years. (For our concept see: Our Indoors-Outdoors-Concept.)

Janette’s development is above average. Various observation aids clearly show that it is cognitively wide. On the part of the kindergarten, little would have spoken against premature enrolment. The parents have decided against it, however, they want to grant Janette another kindergarten year, so that she becomes more self-confident and self-confident.

Janette is very self-confident in everyday kindergarten life. She actively participates in circles, works well and joyfully in working groups, can defend her own opinion and is very popular in the whole group. She has a strong relationship with nature, shows great interest in this area and also has her own pet, a cat, for which she is already largely responsible.

Janette is highly developed in the field of fine and gross motor skills, she likes to tinker, climb trees, design freely with natural materials and play role-plays. It can take the leading role in the game or in a working group, but can also subordinate itself to other children and accept their ideas.

Like Janette, Marie likes to participate in working groups. I had already thought in advance that Marie would like to participate in the Schmetterlings-AG. One year earlier, she had run a small butterfly heart company herself. Although the focus there was on handicrafts of butterflies and hearts, she already showed great interest in the life of butterflies at that time.

Marie asked Sarah and me if she could „join us“. Sarah liked the idea and immediately agreed.

Marie is 5;10 years old and is now attending our kindergarten for the third year.
She is a very quiet but not shy child. Their social behaviour is very well developed. She can settle many disputes and adheres to rules. She is helpful and friendly. Marie is sporty and developed according to her age in the area of coarse and fine motor skills.

She is linguistically very talented and can express herself well. Marie is very well developed in the cognitive field and could have gone to school prematurely, only from this point of view. The parents did not consider this, however, as Marie was hardly able to prevail against other children this spring; but now in summer it looks quite different.

There are other children who want to participate in our butterfly club. So I explain to the children that only five children will participate in this working group. I give them the certainty again that they will all get the chance to run their own working group. This also solves this little problem. Sarah and I promise to keep the children up to date about our working group and to report about it in the morning circle.

Short reflection

It was important to me to put together a balanced, work-filled and active group for the working group.

The children should complement each other and there should be the possibility to strengthen friendships and possibly create new ones. I can also find many similarities in the group. An important common ground for the project is the love for nature and also the interest for it. Another advantage will be that some children already have some specialist knowledge and can contribute ideas, knowledge and suggestions.

The characters are also balanced. So there is the spirited to the calm, balanced. It was not planned that the whole group would consist of girls. On the day of grouping, the boys who were already interested in the project in advance were ill.

General objectives of the project

I want to expand my knowledge about butterflies.

Aims of the children:
We want to find out how old butterflies are.
We want to discover how butterflies have babies.
We want to find out if butterflies are loud and if they can talk to each other.
We want to understand how butterflies can fly.
We want to get to know different butterflies.
We want to find out what the first butterfly looked and was called.

It is important to me that the children in the butterfly project learn something. They should be confronted with the new unknown, but also with the old. They should get to know new terms and thus expand their vocabulary. But they should also enjoy acquiring knowledge and learning. I want the children to learn a lot for themselves / find out for themselves. They should try out many things and use illustrative material.

The children should act imaginatively and become creative.

Aims of the children:
We want to make and paint butterflies.
In the preliminary talk the children, especially Sarah, had already told me that she wanted to paint or do some handicrafts. I’ll take that up. Through observation I know that the whole project group is very imaginative, whether telling stories or role-playing. It is very important to me to encourage my imagination and to live out my creativity. The creative work is also up to me, so I want to pursue this goal in any case.

The group’s sense of community should be encouraged!
I want the group to do a lot together. The children should acquire knowledge together, they should create and shape something together. I want them to experience a sense of achievement together and to achieve a result together. They should experience knowledge together, have fun together and find ideas together. I want them to plan together, discuss a lot and find their own solutions. I also want them to feel comfortable in the group.

Project goals I have set for Sarah

I want to strengthen Sarah’s sense of community!
She should feel comfortable and accepted in a group. It should experience to achieve something together with a group. I want her to have a sense of achievement in the group. She should feel good and strong in a group. I want her to feel that she belongs. Sarah should work, play, discover and experience together with the other children.

Through observations and partly also through the questionnaire I noticed that Sarah often does not feel quite well in the kindergarten group. Often she feels that she is not noticed, that nobody accepts her ideas, listens to her and sometimes she feels unpopular. She also feels that nobody likes playing with her. She also often feels left alone and feels that the other children are not helping her. In a group you often meet them playing alone.

I want Sarah’s sense of responsibility strengthened.
I want Sarah to take responsibility for the project with me.
With my support and also with the support of the other project members, she should take care of the material, the planning and (suitable for children) the well-being of the group.
Observations have shown me that Sarah has a great sense of responsibility and organizational talent. She likes to take care of tasks and planning, always participates in group projects and often brings material on the topic from home.

She also cares for other children, although sometimes selfish reasons are in the foreground, which I do not find worrying. (This could look like this, for example: I protect the little girl from the boys and I can play with her doll.
I think Sarah has a gift for taking responsibility for something I want to promote.

I want to strengthen Sarah’s self-esteem and self-confidence!
I want Sarah to share her own ideas. Let her dare to speak in the group. Sarah is to take over the role of head of the working group and lead small sequences herself. Just as Sarah should share her ideas with other children, she should also give other children the chance. It should learn to accept other ideas, decisions and opinions.

I’ve noticed that Sarah thinks she’s unpopular. Which is not really the case. She also thinks that the other children have a bad opinion about her, which has not been observed in the group so far. Sometimes Sarah has self-confidence, she can often speak her mind, but in return she lacks the self-confidence to accept other ideas or opinions.

I want Sarah to be friends!
This is probably the most difficult, but also one of the most important goals. I want Sarah to let the other children get to herself, that she has experiences together with them, has fun and gains trust.

It would be nice if the project made playdates for the time after breakfast or for the afternoon. I would be happy if the still very tender friendship between Anne and Sarah could grow and become a firm friendship.

Observations show that Sarah has no boyfriends. She often plays alone or only briefly in small groups. She thinks she’s unpopular and misunderstood. Anne is new to kindergarten and already knows Sarah. In the questionnaire Sarah reports that Anne is listening to her. I would like to strengthen and promote this positive bond. Both children also live close together and often meet each other, so a friendly relationship would be nice.

As an alternative to the ambitious goal, it is enough for me if Sarah gets confidence in other children and approaches them!

Comment by the course instructor:

We understand that you want to create an environment for Sarah in which she can find good experiences of cooperation and maybe even friendship. Highly gifted children often need such an environment (a small group of similarly gifted children engaged in interesting and challenging tasks) to recognize the possibility and value of interaction with other children, which they have sometimes already rejected for themselves.
All the better if they have professional, intelligent support (you) with them.

I want Sarah to learn about the butterfly.

I want Sarah to know about the butterfly and keep it. It should acquire new knowledge. With my help, together with the group and alone. It should use its existing knowledge. Sarah will expand her vocabulary and make new experiences.

Sarah has decided on this topic on her own. She is motivated to expand her knowledge in this area. She shows interest and pleasure in this. In general, she shows the joy of learning that I want to keep her!

First project day

Together Sarah and I present our project to the group in the morning circle. We name the group members and report that we will meet immediately afterwards with a seat cushion in the forest church (self built from sticks and stones) after the circle.

(Self-esteem, sense of responsibility as well as self-confidence of Sarah is promoted / integration of the whole group is aimed for / the project group is motivated.

After the morning circle we walk in the „butterfly flight“ to the Waldkirche and sit down. All the children except Anne are present.
I report to the children that Sarah is the head of the working group and I am their godmother. I’ll ask Sarah if she’d like to tell you what we have planned for today. Sarah reports that I will read „The Caterpillar Nimmersatt“, that we will paint a big butterfly together and that we also want to watch butterflies.

(Relaxation after long sitting and concentration in the morning circle / Self-esteem, sense of responsibility as well as self-confidence of Sarah are promoted / invitation to verbal utterance.

Sarah gives me the book about the caterpillar Nimmersatt, and I read the story to the children. We take a close look at every page. We pay special attention to the aspects of tasting and transformation.

(Promotion of concentration / invitation to look at the picture with more detailed analysis.

I ask the children what they believe: whether the book is true or not.
After we’ve thought about it together, I’ll get out a few books with the remark that they say a lot about butterflies. I give the books to the children and ask them to look in them for what is important to us.

(Promotion of concentration / invitation to view images with precise analysis / invitation to form hypotheses.

Then let’s look at the information we found together.

After we have found out together that the picture book – except for the food – comes close to reality, I give the children a copy showing all stations from the egg to the caterpillar, then to the cocoon and the butterfly. I explain to the children that they can take them home.

(Common knowledge acquisition.)

Sarah shows the children a large sketched butterfly and asks them to paint the picture together. We consider which rules should be reconsidered when doing something together to make everyone feel good.

(Request to find your own solution / shared sense of achievement.)

I ask the children to follow me on a butterfly flight to the edge of the forest so that we can try to observe butterflies.

(Loosening up after longer sitting / looking at the animals / consolidation of the acquired knowledge.

I’ll ask the children again, is the story of the caterpillar „Nimmersatt“ realistic?

Now I ask the children to have a short round of talks. Together we think about what we would like to do on the next project day. For help, I consult the children’s wish list.
I end up asking Sarah to talk to me alone again. I ask her about her condition and ask her to collect the AG things together with me.

(Promoting a sense of community / promoting social behaviour / encouraging verbal expression and reflection / Sarah’s sense of responsibility is promoted.)

Reflection of the first project day

In general, the first project day went as I had imagined. The kids and I had fun, too.
I have achieved my goals. The children have accepted the new and partly already known knowledge about butterflies well. They participated well and interestedly and asked many questions.

Sarah and Janette could contribute a lot to the creation of the butterflies. This was also taken up attentively by the other children. I was very happy that Sarah obviously felt comfortable in the group. She shared her ideas with the group and gave her own opinion. She could also share the material with the others, accept other ideas and even settle a small dispute between Jule and Marie.

The group has accepted Sarah as head of the AG. They listened to her with interest and accepted her ideas.

This shows that Sarah has the appropriate behavioural repertoire.

Sarah’s sense of responsibility has been strengthened. She took responsibility for her working group, even reported on her project alone in the morning circle and also directed sequences alone. This worked so well that I will continue to give her responsibility in the following sequences.

There was a beautiful harmony in the group. I think I can say that everyone was comfortable, including Sarah. Everyone has dared to express themselves. Sarah was good at leading the group.

Even in the small final round, everyone dared to take part. Only positive feedback was received. The children reported that they had fun and actually wanted to go further. Unfortunately I had to explain to the children that I have to go back to my kindergarten group. But I also motivated them to go on without me.

They then decided together to play butterflies. In a one-on-one conversation Sarah told me that she really enjoys it and that she wants to check at home if she can find another book of butterflies.

She also spoke positively of the small group. She said literally, „We weren’t really bitchy at all“ and „I can do it really well with the AG, right?“ That made me very happy and I praised and motivated them again.

The joint planning with the children also went well. We want to meet next time at the edge of the forest, because we have observed that many butterflies fly there. We want to play the caterpillar Nimmersatt, or better said: our own version. We have compiled a list of what I should bring with me from kindergarten: Jewellery, cloth, silk cloths to dress up, pipe cleaners, fold-out tunnels that look like a cocoon, and much more.

Sarah suggested making a little butterfly to see exactly what it looked like. This idea was immediately accepted by the group.
I am satisfied with the first project day. I was very happy that everyone liked it so much and above all that Sarah felt so comfortable. If I did something different, I would give even more responsibility to Sarah and the other children.

Second project day (1 week later)

Again Sarah and I report together briefly about our project in the morning circle. I ask Sarah to name the group members and explain where we want to meet (on the meadow at the edge of the forest).

(Promoting Sarah’s self-awareness and sense of responsibility / Involving the entire group.

Together we go to the meadow, the children take cushions with them. Arrived there we sit down together to the circle. I’ll ask the kids what they remember from last time.
Then I’ll ask Sarah to tell us what we want to do today.

(Promoting the self-confidence and sense of responsibility of Sarah / The group management will be handed over to Sarah.

We get all the necessary objects from my car, put them in a pile and discuss how we can play the creation of a butterfly. Together we repeat the biological facts (suitable for children) and try a first presentation. It is important to me that the roles are distributed equally. I can stay in the background because the girls handle everything on their own.

(Consolidation and expansion of knowledge / equal rights of group members / stimulation of imagination and creativity.

We use the colourful bandana for a game of movement. We spread evenly around the cloth and swing it up at the same time. Then two children can fly through as butterflies.

(Loosening / movement.)

The children make a small butterfly out of thin cardboard: they cut out a butterfly and attach feelers and legs out of pipe cleaners to it. I pay special attention to the feelers and the legs. While doing handicrafts I explain technical terms and explain biological backgrounds.

(Consolidation and expansion of knowledge / vocabulary extension / promotion of fantasy / living out creativity / promotion of fine motor skills.)

Afterwards I ask the children to have another short round of talks to think about what we would like to do on the next project day.
After finishing I ask Sarah again for a little talk. I’ll ask her about her condition again.

(Request for verbal expression / reflection.)

I like this connection between
creative action and knowledge input very much –
this goes down too easily in the large group.

Reflection on the second project day

The second day also went according to plan. Anne was there for the first time. I hope for a strong bond with Sarah and a possible friendship.
We have achieved the goals we set ourselves. The children were again very interested and motivated. They asked many questions again and were sometimes able to answer them with the help of a group member.

They met the body structure of a butterfly with curiosity and developed a strong ambition to make the butterfly in detail. Especially Sarah and Marie worked very intensively on their model. Again Sarah felt comfortable in the group and could realize ideas. She was also good at accepting ideas from others.

Even with the presentation sequence she could accept and implement other ideas. Janette had many good ideas for the presentation, which were then well implemented by the group members, also by Sarah. Sarah could bear to give up her leading role for a change. But if it became necessary, she could accept it again.

Sarah took over the responsibility for her project again and I was able to stay in the background. Sarah was able to achieve a fair distribution of roles together with Janette. Despite the justice Jule felt misunderstood and reacted with verbal aggression against Janette. Anne and Sarah were able to resolve the situation. Despite all this, Jule held back for a while, but after a short time this stopped.

The children’s imagination was stimulated, which became clear to all children in the presentation and design of the butterfly.

Sarah’s self-confidence and self-esteem were further strengthened. She received a lot of praise and recognition from the other children for her working group in general, but also for her tinkered butterfly.

The movement game with the swing-cloth was made, but changed by the children. First they crawled as a caterpillar and then they flew through as a butterfly. Jule rolled under it as a little egg. Everybody wanted to try that. This little unit of movement loosened us all up.

In the final round the feedback came again that the children liked the working group and that they are looking forward to the next time. Already during the sequence the children had the idea to depict the development from egg to butterfly again, but then to take photos and a poster for the whole group, so that the other children could also learn that. The idea came from Janette and was well received by everyone.

In a familiar conversation with Sarah I could again get a very positive impression of her mood. She reported that she likes it very much and she would like to make an AG for all children when the AG is over.

I am satisfied with the second project day and had a lot of fun like the children. I was happy again that everyone liked it so much. I was very pleased that Sarah had established a relationship with Janette and that she had arranged to meet her for the afternoon. The relationship with Anne also seems to me to be getting stronger.

If I did something different, I would respond even more intensively to the butterfly’s eyes. Many questions came up and we kept them for the next meeting. Until then I will continue to learn more about the butterfly.

I would perhaps offer a wider range of pencils and materials, but in the forest you have to make compromises. On the other hand, this restriction also promotes creativity and the ability to improvise.

Third project day (again one week later)

Sarah reports again in the morning circle about our project. I ask Sarah again to name the group members and explain where we want to meet.

(Self-esteem, sense of responsibility as well as self-confidence of Sarah are promoted / integration of the entire group into the project.

We go with our cushions to the nearby meadow. There we are very lucky and can watch several butterflies dancing. Afterwards we start a small discussion circle. I ask the children to think about what we did last time and what we have planned for today.

(Request for verbal expression / repetition and consolidation of knowledge / small reflection for me: What was understood? / Promoting retentiveness.

As soon as the children have worked out the little reflection together, I ask them to plan today’s project unit. The children should independently represent the sequence from the egg to the butterfly with different materials and poses and take pictures themselves. I support the children, but I can stay in the background most of the time.

(Joint planning of the presentation „From egg to butterfly!“)

Before I start, I explain the operation of the digital camera to the children and help them to get the desired material out of my car.

(Independent work with the medium „digital camera“ and responsible use of it / Independent work of kindergarten children / Explanation of the digital camera and assistance.

The children perform their portrayal of the „egg to the butterfly“ independently and take their own photographs.

(Independent and collective presentation of the kindergarten children / practice of creativity / promotion of group membership.

Together we look at the resulting photos. We are considering which photos would be suitable for our poster. I ask the children what text they want to see under the photos. I ask the children to always think of the biological process from egg to butterfly.

(Joint experience of a result = experience of success / joint planning / consolidation of knowledge / freedom for creativity / no devaluation of ideas.)

Afterwards I try to answer the questions of the children from the last meeting with the help of pictures. Above all, I ask you to look closely at the butterfly’s eyes.

(Responding to the knowledge needs of children / expanding knowledge / expanding vocabulary.)

Now I ask the children to have another short round of talks. I try to keep myself in the background here as well, which succeeds.

Then we will continue to think together about what we will do on the next project day. I remind the children that they want to finish the poster.

(Request for verbal expression and reflection / joint planning.)

After the round of talks I ask Sarah again for a little chat. I’ll ask her about her condition again. Together we consider that we want to hand out a certificate on the last day and what it should look like.

(Requests for verbal expression and reflection / joint planning / self-esteem, sense of responsibility and self-confidence of Sarah are encouraged / opportunity for Sarah to express herself freely.

Reflection of the third project day

Also the third day went similarly as planned – with the difference that we had less time this time. The whole group went to feed sheep after the morning circle. (Currently our nature kindergarten helps with the care of a flock of sheep.) Only afterwards was time for our project. It was important to me that the children did not have to do without feeding sheep because of the project.

Nevertheless, I have achieved the goals I set myself. The children were again very motivated and inquisitive. They could easily explain the path from egg to butterfly. The children were able to plan and execute the presentation „From egg to butterfly“ together.

The independent alternation with the digital camera worked very well. I had already prepared myself to possibly have to intervene in order to achieve a fair division. That wasn’t necessary. We had discussed in advance that everyone should have the opportunity to use the camera. The group succeeded, which made me very happy.

Sarah fit in very well with the group. Despite her position as head of the working group, she was no higher than the others and did not take advantage of her position. She feels she belongs to the group. Sarah’s sense of responsibility was further strengthened. She is very good at assuming responsibility for her working group. She was actively involved in planning, made independent decisions (for example in material planning) and was very pleased to introduce the working group to the entire kindergarten group in the morning circle.
So it is clear that Sarah has found here a role appropriate to her abilities and talents.

According to Sarah’s group educator, she also reports a lot about the AG in the closing circle and on other occasions. Probably the picture of Sarah’s group will gradually change as well.

The children’s imagination was stimulated. You have thought about the representation „From egg to butterfly“ and have thought about suitable materials. They have lived out their creativity in the presentation and also in dealing with the camera. Very nice motifs have been created.

They were also able to exercise their creativity in the selection of photos for our project. They made color changes with the camera, but reversed them because they liked the original colors better.

The children were able to use the digital camera well and responsibly. Some of the children have already been used to the contact from home or from our kindergarten. They could pass on their knowledge to others. All the kids tried the camera.

I think the small final meeting of each AG unit gives Sarah a lot of pleasure and strengthens her. She feels taken seriously and takes the opportunity to have an individual conversation with me. Responsibility within the Group also strengthens them.

She gets a lot of recognition from the other children. During the last project unit, intensive questions arose about the butterfly. We were now able to answer these by looking at illustrative material and stories from my side. Thus, the children were able to expand their knowledge about butterflies again.

The children were all actively involved. They had remembered a lot of the last working day, and many technical terms also stuck with the children.

Even when planning the presentation I was able to withdraw from the group. Occasionally I had to answer questions from the children (for example: „Can we take the photos along the dirt road?“). In the actual representation I was only an assistant if any difficulties arose, for example with the disguise or the camera.

The children could quickly agree on the roles. Some sequences were also played several times so that everyone could play their desired role. I felt very comfortable on this project day because I could see how the group could work independently, fairly and creatively.

When selecting the photos, the children were able to come to a good agreement and for a long time they had to decide verbally which picture they wanted to put on the poster. Everyone also put a lot of effort into the reflections on the text. The children asked me to get our butterfly book again to see if we had forgotten anything. They stuck with the biological process and didn’t confuse it.

The children were very concentrated when I answered last time’s questions together with them. In the reflection round the children had a lot to talk about. I had to lead something here to lead them to the end. But I offered the children the opportunity to continue talking about it together over breakfast.

The children could again plan very well and also together for the next project unit. Now they not only want to design the poster, but also make caterpillars out of wooden beads.

In the small final discussion with Sarah I could experience again that she had a lot of fun. Together we thought about what the certificate should look like for the children. Sarah had many good and precise ideas.
We also talked about how we want to ask the children how they liked the project. Sarah remembered an older working group in which all children got pearls and depending on how many pearls they gave them, they liked it so much. I liked the idea, especially since we will use pearls for the last project unit anyway.

Fourth (last) project day, 1 week later

It starts as always: Sarah and I report together in the morning circle about the preceding project day, Sarah names the group members and explains where we want to meet.

(Self-esteem, sense of responsibility as well as self-confidence of Sarah are promoted / integration of the entire group.

We meet together in an extra room in the kindergarten building and take a seat at a large table. I ask the children if they still remember what we already know about the caterpillars.

(Consolidation of the learned knowledge / repetition / invitation to verbal utterance / small reflection for me: What else do the children know? / opportunity for utterance for all.)

Together with a project member, I fetch a tray containing various wooden beads, felt-tip pens and pipe cleaners. I’ll ask Sarah to explain how to make a caterpillar out of the material. All the kids can do it.

(Self-esteem, sense of responsibility as well as self-confidence of Sarah are promoted / stimulation of the fantasy as well as living out creativity / promotion of coarse and fine motor skills.

I get out the book about the caterpillar Nimmersatt and ask the children if they still remember it. We briefly discuss the book again and recall our role play „From Egg to Butterfly“ and the associated photographs.

(Consolidation of the learned knowledge / repetition / invitation to verbal expression / promotion of retentiveness.

A large poster, the photos, the texts from the last project meeting as well as writing and handicraft material are already available on the next table. I would now like to design the poster together with the children. The children think together and discuss how the poster should look at the end and are happy to go to work.

(Joint creation of a result / promotion of community feeling.)

Then we gather around the finished poster and go through the project days verbally again. I ask the children how they liked it, and Sarah gives each child four pearls. I ask the children, depending on how much they liked it, to put pearls on the table (the more pearls, the better).

Finally, together with the children, I create a corner in the kindergarten where we hang our poster and exhibit our books and handicrafts.
Sarah and I present the children with a certificate of participation and a project photo.

(Consideration of joint results / Experience of success / Joint review of the project /
Presentation of the project results, open to the whole kindergarten and community groups / remembrance of the project / praise for the participation.

I ask Sarah again for a little talk and give her the possibility to give her pearl rating. I ask her if she is satisfied with her working group and thank her for the cooperation.

(Sarah’s self-esteem, sense of responsibility and self-confidence are encouraged / opportunity for Sarah to express herself freely / praise.)

Reflection of the last project day

I was able to achieve my goals again. By repeating them together we were able to strengthen our knowledge about butterflies. The children had kept much of the previous project days and were able to give a lot back. Janette and Sarah could memorize many technical terms. Jule showed a lot of joy in the repetition and was visibly proud that she could remember a lot.

Sarah’s sense of community has been strengthened again. She felt very comfortable and accepted in the group again. The friendship with Anne is now very strong. They make regular appointments. The relationship with the other project members has also become strong. The bond to Janette is still intact, now and then they also arrange to meet.

Outside of the project, I was told by Sarah’s educator, it can be observed that the project group plays together.

Sarah’s sense of responsibility was strengthened again. She was again very well able to assume responsibility for her working group. She was actively involved in planning, making independent and responsible decisions. I have been told that Sarah informs many children and adults about her AG and introduces her group.

The children’s imagination was stimulated again. The children have thought about how they would like to design their caterpillar. The children also considered what the poster should look like. They also found the space for the poster and the small exhibition themselves.

The children were able to express their creativity by designing the caterpillar and the poster. The design of the presentation site also required creativity on the part of the children.

Sarah’s self-confidence and self-esteem was further strengthened! She feels more comfortable in the group and has reached a good level. She is popular and has become more confident in her appearance. I think the project did her very good. She makes a very happy impression on me. The team spirit of the entire project group was promoted and strengthened in this project unit.

The children have managed to repeat their knowledge. They were able to complement each other well. What one child no longer knew, another child knew. They also felt that everyone is important and that you can complement each other well in a team. They were able to plan the design of the poster together and each could contribute their own ideas.

The children were divided in the actual design. Jule was allowed to glue on everything there was to glue on. Marie took over the division of the material and the trimming, Janette, Anne and Sarah completed the poster with paintings. The photos and the knowledge texts were also selected and glued together with me, whereby I had only one role in the background. I supported the children by reading the texts.

Looking at the poster together, the children were visibly proud of their work. They took their time and laughed a lot. A place for the small presentation was also found together, whereby the basic idea came from Sarah and was well accepted by the other children. The design of the exhibition again proceeded together and in a balanced way. When the children had their own certificate, they were visibly proud and very happy.

All children were motivated and well involved in the knowledge reflection on caterpillars. Everyone was actively involved in the design of the caterpillars. They tried hard and were proud of their finished caterpillar. After everyone was finished, the children wanted to play with the caterpillars. I could see how balanced, friendly and cheerful they played together.

Every child was able to get involved in the planning of the poster. Jule had the idea to put the poster and all materials on the ground, because we had more space there. The other children and I liked their idea and implemented it. The joint viewing of the poster also took place on the floor.

The poster as visual material provided the introduction for the reflection of the entire project. The children could remember a lot of things. Sarah was proud that with my help she could guide this little reflection with the pearls.

During the evaluation the children gave almost all 4 beads. Jule, however, only had three, she could justify it well: She didn’t like the fight with Janette on the second day of the project. We talked about it again briefly, so she felt taken seriously and important. But I took care that Janette didn’t feel misunderstood, because she acted fairly at the time and Jule had a hard time dealing with how the roles were divided. However, I also made sure that this dispute was only briefly addressed, since it had already been resolved and a certain amount of time had passed.

Together the children thought about where we want to build our little presentation. Sarah had the idea of putting them up in the hall above the dressing room. The other children accepted her idea. When handing out the certificates, Sarah was very proud. The children were also very happy and, like Sarah, proud of their own documents.

The final talk with Sarah was very pleasant. She now had the chance to give away her pearls. She chose all four and told me that she had a lot of fun and she would like to do something like that again. I also thanked Sarah and told her that it gave me a lot of pleasure to do this project with her. Sarah was very proud and told me a little bit about home where she had found a butterfly.

I thought a long time in advance whether Sarah should get four pearls in the final reflection to act together with the other children. I decided, however, that she would rather moderate at this point, but also contribute verbally to the evaluation.

Final report

Was I able to achieve the goals I had set myself?

Goals for all project children:

1) I want to expand the children’s knowledge about butterflies.
I have achieved this goal. We have expanded and consolidated our knowledge through knowledge books, visual aids, observations and reports.

2) The children should act imaginatively and become creative.
I have also achieved this goal. The children often got the opportunity from Sarah or from me to use their imagination and act creatively.

3) To promote the group’s sense of community!
This goal was also achieved. The children did a lot together. They have gained experience together, they have created something together and have shared a sense of achievement. The group has grown together and felt like a group. They were there for each other and often continued to play in the small group after the project unit.

Despite her desire for leadership, Jule fit in well with the group and accepted Sarah’s leadership role well.

Targets for Sarah:

1) I want to strengthen Sarah’s sense of community.
I have achieved this goal. Sarah felt increasingly comfortable in the group. Together with the group she had a sense of achievement. She felt well looked after, recognized and belonging. One could observe that Sarah has built up a very positive relationship with the group and the individual members.

2) I want Sarah’s sense of responsibility strengthened.
I was able to achieve this goal. Sarah took responsibility from the beginning of the project. With my support, she was able to manage her project well and responsibly. She has also taken good care of the well-being of the group and has also done preparations responsibly. In general, Sarah has shown a great sense of responsibility.

3) I want to strengthen Sarah’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
I was able to achieve this. She has often acted with confidence. She has made important decisions and can justify them well. I’ve also seen her self-esteem increase. You could see that she felt important to both the children and me, she really enjoyed it. She was able to realize her ideas, which was good for her self-esteem; the children also listened to her. She has experienced recognition and even popularity in the group.

4) I want Sarah to make friends!
I am pleased to say that I have also achieved this goal. It’s nice to see how Sarah is friendly with the other children. She has already made appointments with various project children in the afternoon. She also tells me that she now has friends.
The friendship with Anne has grown stronger. They now play regularly and are friends. I can’t say that the project has done all this, maybe Sarah would have evolved like this without the project, or the conditions in general have improved – but I have already strengthened Sarah in this area. In principle it doesn’t matter, it’s just nice to see that she has friends now. When I think about the timing of the interview, I can be satisfied.

5) I want Sarah to learn about the butterfly.
As with the other children, I can consider the goal achieved.

Am I satisfied?

All in all, I am satisfied with the project. I was able to achieve my goals, gained experience and had a lot of fun. I would have found it nicer if I could accompany the project even longer. I would have liked to have observed further how the group grows in knowledge and how the group dynamics develop.
I was not able to fulfil all the children’s wishes, which was not possible due to lack of time. For me it was also nice to work across groups, so I was able to gather new experiences and gain new insights.

I would like to continue the project. The group is so motivated and interested! But due to time constraints it is not possible now.

What’s the next step?

I want to continue working on the children’s ideas and wishes. So I would like to give the task of growing plants for the butterflies to the plant company. If they cannot take it into account in their work, I will do it myself on a work assignment with the parents.

I had also thought about the climate house. We looked at newspaper articles and brochures together. I could also report about it myself, since I also visited it.

To give parents and children the opportunity to continue working on this topic after this project, I found a butterfly farm about 45 minutes drive away. Parents can visit these with the children if they are interested. I have noted the address and telephone number once again on the documents.

I really liked the opportunity to work across groups and I was able to communicate this convincingly to my colleagues. After so many positive experiences, we will work more frequently across the Group in the future.

At the appropriate time of the year I would like to observe the developmental stages of the butterfly in reality with the children. But this takes time.

Involving Sarah’s parents

When the project was underway, there were several short discussions on questions about the process or the exchange of knowledge.

Finally I had a little final talk with Sarah’s mother. I gave her another summary of the project and we talked about it.
She emphasized once again how beautiful Sarah found the project.

I was especially happy that the mother came back to my group after the conversation to say thank you. Sarah would have told her a lot more positive things and she wanted to teach me about that. She also told me how good she liked the idea of the documents. She continues to tell me that Sarah is very proud of it.

Further support for Sarah – see:
The Mountain Club (German version)

Word Club with Sarah (German version)

Newspaper Club with Sarah (German version)


Date of publication in German: July 2013
Translation: Arno Zucknick
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.







Soccer and Newspaper

by Anke Cadoni


In this last practical assignment (of the IHVO certificate course) I am to carry out a project in a small group that ties in with Jonas‘ interests and playing and learning needs and offers him real challenges.

Since I’m going to change to another kindergarten after the summer holidays, I think it is very important for Jonas and myself to finish our joint work really well and to give Jonas one more extraordinary challenge.

Read more about Jonas:

Since Jonas is a huge soccer fan and there is a World Cup coming up (in South Africa) this summer, it is relatively easy for me to find a corresponding project topic.
First of all, I observe Jonas thoroughly again to determine exactly what his interests and desires are.

I have known Jonas to be a soccer fan ever since I met him. He has also been playing soccer with the Bambini team (= kickers under 6 years) for over a year. After the weekend Jonas proudly tells me about a game or tournament they have successfully mastered. Sometimes he even brings a certificate, a medal or a trophy to the kindergarten.

Jonas often chooses me to play soccer with him. Sometimes he comes back to the kindergarten in the afternoons to play soccer with me outdoors, in the gym or on the nearby soccer field. Because Jonas knows I have more time for him in the afternoon.

…in a nutshell…

The particularly talented Jonas (5;5) likes to work on cognitively ambitious projects. The author uses the upcoming Soccer World Cup and Jonas‘ enthusiasm for soccer as well as his interest in writing to start a soccer newspaper project.

This project is well embedded in the entire group and benefits many children. Jonas can have important experiences working with other highly motivated children, which is important for his social development.

This is where demanding cognitive and social advancement overlap.

While Jonas was interested in soccer and liked playing it v ery early on, there were hardly any other children who shared this passion. Only about half a year ago, other children also began to take an interest in soccer. Jonas now plays soccer more often with Mick and Paul in the corridor.

Unfortunately, this often doesn’t go well for long, because the other children are not used to playing by real soccer rules as is Jonas. Disputes often arise and the game is quickly over.

Shortly before the World Cup, soccer is becoming an increasingly important topic in our kindergarten. Many children collect the supermarket soccer cards and trade them in kindergarten. Meanwhile Paul also plays in the Bambini team and so Paul and Jonas now regularly go to training together. This means that the two play together better and more perseveringly even in kindergarten.

Shortly before the World Cup, a real soccer fever breaks out in the kindergarten. I think there is hardly a child in our group who is not interested in soccer, each in their own way.

Together with the children we dust off the tabletop soccer, we were given a few years ago, and make it ready to play again.
Immediately all children rush to the tabletop soccer, Jonas of course right in the middle of them. That’s not how it works, of course. Everybody is screaming and no real game comes off.

We sit in a circle and hold a children’s conference. The children work out rules and consider how best to solve the „situation tabletop soccer“. Jonas suggests using an hourglass to show the children when to change players.

We also decide that the tabletop soccer should not remain outdoors but in our group adjoining room and that all children, including the children of the other group, may use it. All children agree with this.

The very next day I notice how dynamic issue soccer is developing. Our adjoining room is gradually becoming a soccer fan room. It’s nice to see how well the children interact socially. At no time are there children crowding around the tabletop soccer, the children work things out it really well among themselves.

The topic of soccer also creates a new group constellation that did not exist before: Many children of the other group are now visiting our soccer room and are very interested.

Jonas begins – already during the test matches – to draw great soccer pictures. He draws in great detail. Soon Mick joins him. Wonderful pictures are being created.

One of the pictures is our calendar title page for the months June/July. These two months are truly World Cup months. Jonas‘ soccer pictures are getting more and more complex and he wants to know from me how to write the names of the soccer players.

The project idea

Since more and more children are joining Jonas‘ artistic ideas and I have collected many great works in the meantime, I have the idea to present these works in a newspaper. In one quiet minute I tell Jonas about my idea.

I explain it to him as follows: „Jonas, I have recently observed how much you are interested in soccer and that you already know a great deal about it. In the last few days, really great works have been created by you and your friends. I’d hate for them to just disappear back into your drawers. How about we make a soccer newspaper that would have a place for these great pictures and more?“

Jonas really likes this idea, because now – that’s my impression – he enjoys working with me on projects.

But now I have to make it clear to Jonas that this time not only the two of us will be working on the newspaper. This is how I explain it to him: „You probably know a daily newspaper or a soccer magazine and how many pages such a newspaper has. Before a newspaper as you know it can go to print, many people have researched (gathered information), written texts, taken photos and much more. This means that a newspaper is a joint effort and only in this way an elaborate newspaper can be produced!“

To my astonishment he immediately realizes it and says: „Mick has quite a lot of ideas and draws great pictures, he could help me.“ I agree immediately, of course. Then I tell Jonas about another boy Jonas knows: Corvin from the other group.

Corvin has often caught my attention, and even more so now during the present observation period on the subject of soccer. Like Jonas, he also has a great deal of knowledge, especially on the subject of soccer. At the breakfast table he once told me about a soccer match. I was amazed at what he knew and how great he could express himself.

In addition, his teacher, Ms. F., told me what he had recently said at a children’s conference. It was about the preparatory work for a project. Ms. F. asked who knew what a project is. Corvin reported: „A project is the development of a specific topic. For example the subject of soccer. In a project you do all kinds of things with this topic, such as going to a stadium, playing soccer on a soccer field, making your own jerseys, organising a tournament, celebrating a soccer festival, borrowing books on soccer in the library, etc.“.
You could tell how much Corvin wanted a soccer project.

Jonas also agrees with Corvin’s work on the project, I am happy about that, but at the same time I know that it will not always be easy.

Comment by the course instructor:
It’s interesting that Jonas promptly approves of both children; presumably it’s because he thinks they are qualified enough.

Jonas takes it upon himself to ask Mick and Corvin whether they would like to create a soccer newspaper together with him.
Both of them are thrilled and say yes immediately. Jil is standing nearby when Jonas asks Mick. Now, of course, she wants to join in and asks Jonas if this would be okay. Since Jonas is very socially minded, he can’t say no here; and he also knows that Mick and Jil are doing a lot together at the moment.

So now we start the project with four children, which actually seems a little much to me, judging from the previous experience with Jonas. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

About Jonas

Jonas is now 5;5 years old. Soccer has meant a great deal to him for some time. He enjoys playing soccer himself and is a fan of FC Bayern Munich. He already undersands the rules of soccer very well and that’s why he wants to play according to these rules, but only very few children can do this in kindergarten, that’s why Jonas prefers to play soccer with me most of the time.

Now that there are a lot of soccer-loving children just before the World Cup, I keep suggesting to Jonas that he should play with the other children, he could also explain some important rules to them. He tries this again and again, but unfortunately it usually ends in a quarrel.

Since Jonas‘ interest in soccer does not only pertain to the educational field of physical development, but also extends into other areas of education, I have considered designing a soccer project with Jonas. Especially in the areas of visual design, language and writing he shows great works again, a lot of perseverance and great focus.

Jonas has shown great interest in letters and his own writing in recent months. He wants to know how soccer related expressions and names are written.

Therefore, the soccer newspaper project is to be part of the soccer project, which is currently taking place for the entire group.

I deliberately leave the selection of children for this activity to Jonas. From experience I now know that Jonas knows quite well with whom he can work intensively. Besides, the group work still isn’t quite as easy for him, so he still prefers to work with me alone. But in this last acivity with him it is very important for me to work in a team, because he should also gain positive experiences in this area.

Educational goals for Jonas

    • He unfolds his creative personality freely.
    • He tries out new things, gains experience.
    • He experiences a satisfying exchange with other children.
    • He learns to communicate better with others, and also has an open ear for the ideas and contributions of others.
    • He can experience in the small group work that there are children with similar needs, talents and interests. He learns to use this as a good opportunity for himself.
    • Like all other participating children – he is to have his due part in influencing the course and result of the project.
    • He helps to record the results of the World Cup in the form of a newspaper suitable for children and to deepen and internalise individual topics relating to the World Cup in accordance with his expectations.

Here we go! We collect ideas.

Shortly before the start of the World Cup we meet for the first time in our World Cup Fan Room (this is the room next to the group’s classroom).
This is where the tabletop soccer stands, the room decorated with German flags. Several soccer books, which I have borrowed in the library, are ready to be browsed.

Now Jil (6;4), Mick (5;11), Corvin (6;3) and (being the youngest one) Jonas (5;5) are sitting together at a table. I have brought them a few different children’s soccer magazines and a daily newspaper to give them a better idea.

First of all, they have the opportunity to take their time and take a look at these magazines. Everybody thinks it’s great. They recognize soccer players and tell their names. Corvin recognizes the notes of the national anthem and proudly tells us that he knows the national anthem by heart.

I ask him spontaneously if he would like to sing it to us. He does it right away. The other children are quiet immediately. They really like Corvin’s singing and want Corvin to sing the hymn again so they can learn it. Jonas, in particular, is very keen on learning it. I think he’s a little envious of Corvin.

Comment by the course instructor:
Maybe he was just a little bewildered by the fact that he could learn something so great from another child?

After this performance we discuss what a real World Cup soccer magazine has to contain. Corvin says the national anthem should not be missing. Jonas says that the World Cup, meaning the very trophy itself, must be shown. Jil mentions the German mascot „Paule“, which they all know from the supermarket collection cards. It’s important for Mick to put the schedule in the paper so everyone knows which game is when and who’s playing against whom.

The children are just bubbling over with even more ideas, for example:

    • Pictures and photos from the World Cup,
    • the soccer players,
    • flags,
    • Vuvuzelas,
    • information about the World Cup’s host South Africa.

Apart from the newspaper, they want to do this:

    • play soccer themselves,
    • make their own medals,
    • have a tournament,
    • make German flags,
    • make red and yellow cards and get a pipe.

Jonas still has the wish to hang up a soccer plan in the fan room, where he can always enter the game results.

With all these great ideas in our pockets, we end the first meeting. I praise the children for having been very attentive for almost an hour, for having collected great ideas and for having understood each other well. We make an appointment for the next day, same time same place.

2nd day

The next day, many other children have already „smelled the rat“ and now want to work on the newspaper too.

Now we have the exact situation that usually leads toproblems with Jonas:

When there are too many children, Jonas closes himself off and no longer enjoys his work,
because he gets too little attention and the pace of work and learning becomes too slow for him.

So I explain to the children that not so many children can work on a newspaper in one room at the same time, but I will try to plan further meetings, so that these children also get their chance.
Since Mick is not here today, I allow Jan to participate; he has been asking for it all morning.

Comment by the course instructor:
How would you have decided if the time frame had been much tighter? Would you have managed to explain to the kids that this time it’s not their turn, but then some other time?
This, I think, demonstrates the need to change structures:
Much more small group work, so that all children can enjoy (!) and thus also learn to accept current rejection calmly.
Since you yourself write at the end that it was a very nice time, I assume that you also developed this idea yourself.

I am of the opinion (as you have indicated yourself) that projects that are to support highly gifted children should not be watered down by too many additional participants.

And this is how the second meeting goes:

Jonas cuts out his game plan from a newspaper, sticks it on solid cardboard and hangs it up in the fan room so that he can enter all the results there from Friday, June 11th.

Then we start gluing all German national players into the newspaper. I ask the group: „Do any of you know how many German players came to the World Cup?“
„With Jogi Löw 24!“
I myself don’t know exactly and have to count them, but Corvin is actually right. I notice that Jonas is a little angry and now he finally wants to tell something great and interesting. Jonas: „And seven players are from FC Bayern Munich and only one from 1st FC Cologne!“

Comment by the course instructor:
Perhaps he is not so much angry, but perhaps he feels challenged and motivated. Are you sure it was an unpleasant, negative emotion for him?
Among boys this is a „normal“ event: wanting to outdo each other – Jonas finally has the opportunity – while us women quickly find it unpleasant. Of course, my remarks are only guesses…

„Do you know the names of the players?“ „Yeah, sure!“ And he begins telling the names. But Corvin cannot stay silent and shouts some names too. That’s when Jonas gets pretty angry, and the first small arguments between Jonas and Corvin begin.
I intervene, let Jonas continue saying the names and afterwards have Corvin name the remaining players together with the other children.

At this point I notice that Jonas can hardly stand it if someone else knows a little more. I have observed this before, that’s why I think it’s so important that Jonas works in a group now, because he has to learn to cope with situations like this.

Comment by the course instructor:
In other words, only if he can experience this more often and often enough, he will learn how to deal with it.

Day 3

After the first game of the German team we meet again.
Jonas was even allowed to watch this game on TV at home, even though it showed in the evening. He can report exactly who scored the goals, who got a red or a yellow card and how the goals were shot.
Corvin told me that he was not allowed to watch the game at the time of its broadvast, but his father recorded it for him.

Jonas always wants to write or draw pictures to go with the results. He doesn’t enjoy cutting and gluing so much, but unfortunately this is also part of our newspaper work.

As the demand for participation in the making of the newspaper is growing, I have organize a second group. The other children also agree, because they quickly realize that such a newspaper is quite a lot of work and that a little support is not bad at all.

Tim (5;10) and Jan (6;4) are happy about this, from now on they participate very regularly in the meetings of the second group. The other two seats are always occupied by varying children, depending on their mood and the day’s form.

It is also nice to observe the free play development of the participating children. Corvin, Mick, Jonas, Jan and other children play soccer outside every day. They always ask me to draw the outlines of a real soccer field on the ground with chalk. One soccer goal was donated to us and the other one was assembled from wood by the children themselves. Jil, Tim and other children build a grandstand and a snack bar for each game, where you can buy drinks and small dishes.

In our group we have already made German flags, with which some children can cheer the boys on. Before the game begins, the four always stand arm in arm in line and sing the national anthem together. Meanwhile all four of them have learned the lyrics perfectly.

Unfortunately, Corvin and Jonas often have conflicts during the game. Most of the time one of the two claims something and the other is of a completely different opinion. It usually starts with a verbal argument, then it gets louder and louder until in the end they sometimes turn violent and the game has to be ended.

This is also one of the reasons why I later put the two working groups together differently, because after such a show down the cooperation in a group is hardly possible. I then replaced Corvin with Tim. Tim is also highly committed. He later even brought newspapers from home or important articles he has already cut out at home.

Further sessions

Now we meet twice a week. After a game with the German team we talk about it and enter all results of the last games in the newspaper. The tasks are distributed fairly so that everyone can write, cut, glue or paint.

At the beginning of the meetings I ask who has something to report and who would like to do which task. Often the children agree quite well with each other.

When the results of the games are recorded, we work on general information about the World Cup. Jonas, for example, wants to draw the trophy and Jil the soccer players as they are singing the national anthem. Mick draws scenes from the game, such as a player scoring a goal.

At one meeting we talk about the country South Africa. At this point I deem it important to work with the original group, which means that Corvin and Jonas meet again. After all they are not avoiding each other in everyday life, on the contrary, they are always looking for each other to play soccer.

So today it is okay for both of them to work together. On the subject of South Africa it is also unproblematic, because neither of them knows much about it.

Actually, all children say that South Africa is a poor country, many children are starving there and elephants and lions live there. I explain to the children that this is a side of South Africa that will be concealed by a lot of positive things during the World Cup. But it is good to know both.

I tell them that even penguins live in South Africa, I didn’t know that before my own research. The children are amazed. Then I ask them about the „Big Five“. „Which animals could be the „five greats“?“

Jonas said, „The elephant, the lion and the giraffe!“ Elephant and lion are right, but then there is the leopard, the rhino and the buffalo. They can also be seen on South African banknotes.
Jonas: „But the giraffe is much bigger!“ „That’s true, but I think the Big Five are all stronger than the giraffe, so it’s not one of them.“

Tim likes the South African flag very much, he draws it again and again.

This meeting with the topic South Africa is very pleasant, nobody feels an urge to show off. They all are learners and go on a journey of discovery together. I think this is very interesting and informative for everyone involved.

A very special topic is the vuvuzela. Of course, all children now know that this is an African wind instrument, which sounds like a swarm of bees coming after you. I bring a vuvuzela to the kindergarten and the children can try to find out if they can get a sound out of it. Jonas is very proud, because he gets a louder tone than I do.

The more often the German team wins, the more exciting it gets. All the children now hope that we will also become world champions. The newspaper is getting fuller, more interesting and more beautiful.

Jonas asks:

„Who actually gets the paper,
when it’s done?“

I thought about it and had an idea. I want to deal with it in the way of a challenge cup, Jonas knows all about it, because he has won one on several occasions.
„Each of you may then take the newspaper home for a week and show it to your parents, siblings and friends, and eventually the newspaper will stay in the kindergarten. Is that okay with you?“ They all agree with that.

At this point, however, I am not quite aware that our newspaper is yet to take up a lot of time. On the one hand, the children are so enthusiastic about their work. They bring more and more information material from home. Jil, for example, brings an entire soccer newspaper that her father has bought and given to her after reading it.

On the other hand, my farewell from kindergarten, the pre-school children’s sleep festival and the summer holidays are approaching with great strides – and of course there are still many things to be done and organized.

In addition, I had promised Jonas one more thing very firmly, namely to hold a tabletop soccer tournament. Jonas has already reminded me of this several times, so I absolutely have to get this done.

I will organize it in the last week before the holidays. A friend gave me three soccer cups of different sizes. When I showed them to the children, they were thrilled. Jonas: „Look, we can win them, like in a real tournament. The biggest cup is for the first winner, the middle one for the second winner and the smallest one for the third winner.“

I always have two play against two. Jonas chooses Mick as a partner.

Running the tournament isn’t that easy. A lot of children want to participate, which stretches the tournament a great deal. Some children won’t be so patient afterwards. But in retrospect I’m glad I did it because I realized how good it did Jonas. He had to play together with a partner the whole time, and on top of this, before a quite large audience. He had to learn to accept his partner’s mistakes and also to cope with conceding goals. He has also had positive communal experiences. He came in second with his partner and is proud and satisfied. He was even able to grant the first-place winner a good win.

Comment by the course instructor:
Many gifted children are able to grant others more with an increasing number of positive (learning) experiences, which you can see here again.

Our newspaper is finished at the last moment, exactly one day before my farewell party. It is clear that the newspaper can no longer go round like a challenge cup. Jonas realized that by himself. Jonas: „Ms Cadoni, the holidays will start next week, so we won’t be able to take the newspaper home at all. But I’d love to show it to Mom!“
„You’re right, Jonas, that’s really too bad, but I’ve already thought about it and I had the idea to present the newspaper in the corridor tomorrow for my farewell. Many parents will come to say goodbye and then there will be enough space and time for the newspaper presentation, I will make sure of that, because this is still very, very important to me after all“.

On the day of my farewell I prepare the newsstand with the children who come in first early in the morning. We put a large table in the corridor, decorate it with flags of Germany and other flags we made ourselves, to direct attention to the newspaper.

During the newspaper’s development and the whole project I took some photos. Now we stick them on a big column and put them next to the newspaper table. In this way, parents can see what their children have achieved in the last few weeks in the kindergarten.

Already during the early morning arrival period the table gets visited by many parents with their children. Tim and Corvin proudly show their parents the newspaper and explain what they have designed themselves.

Later, during my farewell speech, I mention the newspaper on display and invite parents to take time to look at a page or two designed by their child. The parents start applauding loudly! I just say, „Kids, that’s your applause, you’ve done a great job with this paper!“
At the end of the farewell, Jonas‘ mother comes to me again and thanks me for my commitment and dedication to Jonas: „You have put Jonas and many other children on a good path!“

Jonas‘ mother was always a little reserved and sometimes sceptical throughout the time I I have been working with Jonas, I suspected. Now I’m sure that she appreciates my work with Jonas.
I only hope that my successor will not loose sight of Jonas and his concerns – otherwise it would be a great pity. I recommended Jonas to her, that’s all I can do for now. I will definitely keep in touch with the children’s parents.


In any case, all the children involved had a good insight into the media work and were able to experience for themselves how much work the production of a newspaper is.

Jonas really enjoyed writing the letters, words, sentences and numbers, he would have loved to do this exclusively. But here he could experience that he cannot always choose the most beautiful and interesting things for himself, but that he also has to do things that he doesn’t enjoy so much. That’s the facts of life!

Jonas was able to gather many experiences in working together, positive as well as negative. It was clear to me from the beginning that working with Corvin will not be so easy, but nevertheless the experience was very important for Jonas. Because he had almost never before experienced it in our kindergarten that someone could hold a candle to him. But Corvin, like Jonas, has a very broad knowledge, a good memory and can express himself really well.

In situations in which they became violent against each other, I also had the feeling a few times that the „newspaper“ project was over. But the interest and commitment of each individual have kept it alive.

Comment by the course instructor:
All in all, the fascination was always much greater than the frustration, which is decisive.

There was no child at any time
thinking about giving up, I think.

It was good that I could put the groups together differently because of the great interest of the children. So I could vary the cast of participants according to the interests of the children and the level of difficulty.

In some situations I could also go deeper. This reminds me of a situation during the project I have not yet described, but which I consider important:
At one meeting we talked about the fact that there are different soccer balls and always a very special World Cup ball. Jonas wanted to know how a ball like this is made. I could only vaguely explain to him that the balls used to be sewn together from hexagonal pieces of leather. However, I was not sure how the modern balls are produced.

Spontaneously we went to the computer and surfed the Internet. In fact, we found a really great video clip about the production of the World Cup ball. We got the interested children together and ran through the film a few times. All the children were fascinated and I, too, learned a lot.

I also thought it was really good that Jonas and Corvin, despite their rivalry, kept looking for each other to play with and try playing together on a new one.
There were situations afterwards when I had the feeling they could do neither with nor without each other. Sometimes the friendship between Mick and Jonas suffered. Jonas must have noticed that – he is actually always very careful that all children and especially his friends are well. I think that’s why Jonas chose Mick as a partner in the tabletop soccer tournament.

If I had worked with Jonas alone, I would probably have gone into more depth in terms of content. But with this project the social experience of togetherness was more in the foreground for me and I think I succeeded in doing this quite well.

Comment by the course instructor:
I think a gifted child ideally needs both, sometimes this, sometimes that.

I always tried to include Jonas‘ and Corvin’s special demands in the project somehow. These included, for example, the tabletop soccer tournament or the installation of the soccer field on the outdoor area. Of course I could not always fulfil their wishes entirely, but when can you do that? Here, too, the children must learn that there are limits: in terms of time, material and financial resources. For example, we were unfortunately unable to go to a large stadium.

Comment by the course instructor:
Here too, gifted children can show a great deal of understanding as long as their basic mood is in order (and thus there is no permanent frustration).

All in all, I think the children were very happy with the programme and the offers. I have always tried to adapt to the children and their interests, and I think the children have felt that too. There was not once a situation in which a child refused to cooperate. On the contrary, many began to collect texts and pictures at home.

Jonas always followed the games very closely, sometimes he was missing the day after the game to catch up on his sleep. But he always had all the goals and red or yellow cards memorized. He could tell us exactly who scored which goal, sometimes he also knew how a particular goal had come about. Here I could again determine very well, how good Jonas‘ memory is and how well and intelligibly he can recall what he has memorized. In any case, these two areas have been advanced once more.

In addition, there are initial attempts to acquire written language. He enjoys putting letters on paper. He was also able to make use of and apply this for himself during newspaper production.

I had relatively much time and space available for my project, and of course the children also benefited.

The children could always decide for themselves how long they wanted to participate in an activity and what task they wanted to do.

Most children showed a lot of stamina and good concentration. At the end of a unit we often played tabletop soccer, which always gave the children a lot of pleasure and often also served as a motivational boost. There were also activities, where in the end only Jonas sat next to me. Often he was still busy writing or had a question that interested him very much.

Overall, this project had a big impact on the group, which was of course reinforced by the current World Cup. Suddenly everyone became interested in soccer and wanted to make their contribution in some way. The girls also thought about how they could participate, for example, a halftime snack stand was set up or flags were made for cheering, and much more. There were also more and more children who wanted to take part in the soccer newspaper project, which I tried to facilitate.

It was a really nice time. It was also noticeable that the children were much more social and helpful with each other. This had rarely ever worked as well across the whole group as it did in this project.


Date of publication in German: January 2017
Translation: Arno Zucknick
Cpyright © Hanna Vock, see Imprint




Communication in Kindergarten

by Hanna Vock


The communicative climate

In every kindergarten there is a special communicative climate. It is determined by the way in which the children and parents are treated, but also how the management treats the team and the colleagues with each other. It is also very important how the children communicate with each other.

Gifted children often experience irritations here. They are always irritated when the level of communication does not meet their expectations. Especially in the first weeks after entering the kindergarten they are surprised and try to understand the way of communication if it deviates from their expectations.

Especially highly gifted children, who are also particularly talented in languages, sometimes run against a communicative wall, which will have to be explained.

…in a nutshell…

Gifted children often have communication problems in kindergarten. They are often not well received by the other children with their already pronounced language, they do not find adequate communication partners among them. Some of them react confused, they „annoy“ or they withdraw (linguistically and at all).
In order to avoid this and to help them to communicate appropriately, it is worth taking a closer look at this problem.

See also:
Specific Problems Gifted Children Face in Kindergarten

In general, the quality of communication and the quality of relationships are closely interrelated and interdependent, regardless of giftedness:
Good communication facilitates good relationships, and good relationships facilitate good communication.

Good communication is important

    • for the current well-being of the communication partners,
    • for the level of respect felt between them,
    • for the level of trust in the relationship,
    • for the extent of perceived/recognized authority,
    • for the effectiveness of interaction.

It is important for the promotion of highly gifted students:

The dissatisfied partner can largely withdraw from a communication that is perceived as unsatisfactory or incriminating.

This is exactly what highly gifted children often do.

How can this be expressed?

    • Some children literally fall silent in the kindergarten. They speak very little, even if they speak „like a book“ at home.
    • Some children refuse to communicate with certain people, for example, they only ever talk to the same educator, the one who, from the child’s point of view, is the only one who communicates appropriately with them, from whom they feel they are best understood and taken seriously and from whom they expect the most interesting answers to their questions.
    • Some children are unsettled because they cannot reconcile the way of speaking in the family with the language code in the kindergarten. The consequence of the uncertainty can then be a reduction of the linguistic utterances.
    • After a short time, some children adapt so precisely to the (often simpler) use of language in the kindergarten that no one would think that the child could perhaps speak in a much more differentiated way.

To get an impression of how precise and differentiated highly gifted children can speak at an early age, please read:

Examples of: Elaborated Speech, Large Vocabulary, Great Joy in Configuring Language

Parent´s Observations on Children under the Age of 3 – (German version)


A little digression: What is communication?

1) It is a process that is carried out (almost simultaneously) in several processes:

    • Via the sensory organs, body language, phonetic, written or factual information is collected and passed on to the brain.
    • The intercepted signals are processed (filtered, classified, evaluated) in the brain. The time required for this can be fractions of a second or minutes, hours and, in exceptional cases, many years.
      Because the evaluation of some signals challenges the entire personality; and with grown life experience it can be carried out anew and with different results.
    • There is a reaction to the stimuli that have arrived. The basis for this can be instincts or feelings or habits or conscious decisions, often a mixture of all of these.
    • The answer is given. This means that communicative signals are sent outwards (to the current communication partner, to the wider environment) and also inwards (in the form of feelings, conclusions, physiological or psychosomatic reactions).
      The answer can also mean not giving a visible answer.

2. contents of the communication can be (according to Watzlawick and Von Thun):

    • Information about one’s own state (self-food level),
    • Information about wishes, demands, claims (appeal level),
    • Information about facts, knowledge, observations, assessments (factual level),
    • Information about the communication process itself and about its evaluation (relationship level).

Good communication works well at all these levels.

What does inadequate communication mean for children’s feelings?

I would like to give you an example that I experienced when I first worked as an educator in a kindergarten at the age of 40.

With a lot of verve I started the first working week, but after three days I was „devastated“.
At first I trusted my husband. I expressed my concern that I was wrong, that I was not suitable for work and – worst of all – that the children did not like me. They hardly talked to me, but often turned around and just walked away.

It was an awful feeling,
that gave rise to strong self-doubt…

… although I was an experienced woman with two adolescent children, two university degrees and a lot of professional pedagogical experience.

How would a three- or four-year-old child who comes to kindergarten and walks in front of such a communicative wall feel?

Once the discomfort had been expressed, I was able to confide in my young colleague: „I’m doing something completely wrong, tell me what I’m doing wrong“.

My colleague watched me for a while and suddenly started to laugh out loud: „Hanna, the children don’t understand you. You make exactly three mistakes: you talk too fast, you speak in too long, complicated sentences and you require far too much knowledge.“

Uh-huh. I was used to rapid language development and rapid learning from my own children at an early age; and so I had managed to say to a three-year-old in kindergarten:

„Julia, can you just see if there’s any water left in the watering can – we have to water the flowers on the windowsill, they’re almost drying out.“

I had expected Julia to take care of it and know what to do, or that she would make it clear that she didn’t feel like it or had other plans. But Julia looked at me with big eyes and just walked away.

With the help of my colleague, I understood that I had to relearn:

„Julia! … come to the windowsill. … look, there’s a watering can. Put those down and take a look inside. … Is there water in there? … No? Then we must get water. … Can you do that?“

To my amazement it turned out that Julia had no plan; she had probably only associated the taps in the day-care center with washing her hands and brushing her teeth, but had not generalized that one could get water for all possible purposes there.

… „So let’s take a look at this flower. The earth is completely dry. It’s not good for the flower, it needs water. Can you give her some water?“

And lo and behold, it worked;
the children accepted me as their communication partner and showed me their sympathies.

For most highly gifted three-year-old children, however, if they are left alone with it, because nobody sees their problem, such a relearning might be a hopeless overload.

Strategies of highly gifted children

In such a situation, highly gifted children naturally also try to make themselves bearable.

Some children try – increasingly desperately – to draw attention to their communication needs.

– For example, they keep giving lectures to the other children, which often do not meet with any understanding or interest at all; so there is also no positive resonance, but perhaps even annoying comments.

– Or they try to place their questions and inquiries or their realizations to a topic in the chair or morning circle, which takes (from view of the educator and also the children, above all the younger ones) disproportionately much time.

– Or they try again and again to draw the educator into longer discussions, to „attach themselves to her“, to win her for difficult games – even if the situation in the group actually or supposedly does not permit this. At the same time they reap a lot, albeit friendly, rejection and the resulting frustration. Because they do not push and push because they want to gain advantages (for example through more attention), but because they want to satisfy a basic need that most other children can satisfy to a large extent among themselves.

– Some try to adapt by withdrawing. They have many questions, a lot of knowledge, many ideas (which is their great talent), but they do not express them because they realize that they are not successful in the long run, but rather make themselves unpopular. This self-limitation is detrimental to their personal development and well-being.

Ways must be found to avoid this; only in this way they can remain active, well-tuned children who can integrate themselves.

See also: Permanent Frustration because of Being Underchallenged and Facing Incomprehension.

What can you do?

In my own practical work in kindergarten, it took me a long time to realize that I disadvantage particularly gifted children when I – unintentionally – suppress their questions and thoughts. I wanted to pay the same amount of attention to all children and take up the same amount of ideas from all children.

At some point I realized that the knowledge, ideas and thoughts of the particularly gifted children were a valuable resource for the entire group. They only had to be helped (by me and my colleagues!) to make them interesting and understandable for some other children.

As this became more and more successful, it became clear that the other children were by no means jealous or felt relegated when I addressed the highly gifted child(s) in a different way, presented them with different challenges and helped them to pass something on to the group.


– A play developed with three children was presented to the group and then imitated by other children in free play.

– A picture book that a boy had designed and labeled with my help alone went into the Kita library as a particularly interesting copy and served as an example for other children’s own creations.

– The same happened with a board game invented and made by two children.

– A girl gave a little talk about the life and care of turtles when we bought turtles for the kindergarten. I had helped the girl with the lecture, because she had no experience with it; but the group gratefully accepted the important information and asked the girl again and again in everyday life (the turtle care); it was good for her to feel like an expert.

– I asked a boy who was particularly interested in science to help me try out and prepare experiments; he thus became my experiment assistant for a long time.

It is important not only to „serve“ the special interests and abilities of the highly gifted children, but also to find talents in all children that make it possible for them to take up a special position in the group, a role of experts, for a while.

This can be the knowledge about football, about technical tricks, the mastery of dances…

„Professors, Step Forward!“ is a good practical example of how to get started.

It is also very helpful to make Advancement in Small Groups an integral and everyday part of kindergarten work.

See also: Examples of a Positive Communicative Climate.

For communication between educator and highly gifted child

As soon as it is indicated that the child thinks and speaks more complex than his or her peers, a special talent, possibly a high talent, should be taken into consideration.
See also: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness.

To check the communication between you and the child, you can use the following questions:

What body language, phonetic and phonetic signals do I receive from the particularly gifted child?

    • Which body-language, neonatal and phonetic signals does the child receive from me?
    • How do I assess his signals?
    • Is the communication between me and the child good or difficult / disturbed / too little right now? (If it is difficult: is it a short phase or a permanent condition?
    • How well am I aware of what the child’s inner mind is currently occupied with?
    • Have I asked the child recently what he or she would like to learn in kindergarten?

In case of loss of trust or authority, the child will limit communication! Children regulate their communication very precisely.

How do you rate the statement of parents: „My child tells nothing / almost nothing / little about kindergarten at home“?

For communication between the highly gifted child and the other children of the group

    • Watch closely: Which signals in body language, speech and language are received and sent by the child in the group? Especially important are the first days (!) and weeks in kindergarten.
    • For slightly older children, please also use the
      Children’s Questionnaire on Communication.

Possible consequences of unsatisfactory communication between the highly gifted child and the other children:

    • Retreat, silence, avoidance of communication, solidification.
    • The child’s conclusion: „I’m somehow wrong here, I don’t get along well here.“
    • „I’m dumb.“ or „The others are dumb.“
    • Preference for single play (or possibly playing with a single good friend), loneliness.
    • Very clear preference for communication with adults.
    • Which of these points apply to the highly gifted child?

Last but not least, a quote from a novel set in an American Indian reservation in the 20th century.

A boy, who was already 12 years old, came into a new family after long, painful experiences among people who did not understand him and therefore did not have adequate communication with him.

„In the beginning Wakiya-knaskiya was like a newborn child who does not think or dream, but looks, listens and takes in. He hardly said a word, but he heard everything.“

From: Light over white rocks by Liselotte Weißkopf-Henrich, see bibliography and giftedness, depicted in literature and film.

Wakiya had come to people who understood him. And after the time of wonder he began a happy and rapid spiritual development.


Date of publication in German: October 2016

Translation from German: Hanna Vock
(Sorry, there is no money for a professional translator. If you discover any gross errors, please let me know.
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.

Isabel (2;10) und die Zahlen

von Ellen Görg


In den Beiträgen Hinweise auf Hochbegabung bei einer Zweijährigen und Eine Zweijährige meistert schwierige Aufgaben berichtete ich bereits über die kleine Isabel aus meiner Kita-Gruppe.
Isabel hat sich bereits mit dem Spiel „Heinevetters Trainer“ vertraut gemacht, bisher nur mit der einfachen Variante. (Heinevetters Trainer- Kindergartenspiel – Ein Spiel für vorschulische Erkennungsübungen im 3.-6. Lebensjahr mit automatischer Kontrolle.)
Dabei geht es darum, Gegenstände aus sieben Sachbereichen auf 49 Symbol-Täfelchen zu erkennen und diese dann den Bereichen zuzuordnen.


…kurz gefasst…
Da sich Isabel anhaltend für das Spiel „Heinevetters Trainer“ begeistert, nutzt es die Erzieherin, das immer wieder deutlich werdende Interesse des kleinen Mädchens für Zahlen und Zählen zu fördern und schildert ihre Beobachtungen.

Isabel ist mittlerweile 2;10 Jahre alt und hat weiterhin großes Interesse an „Heinevetters Trainer“.
Da sie nun aber die einfachste Spielvariante sehr gut beherrscht, braucht sie eine neue Herausforderung.
Isabel zeigt – auch im Zusammenhang mit dem Trainer-Spiel – großes Interesse an Zahlen und beginnt zu zählen. Durch Zahlenspiele möchte ich das Zählen und ihr Interesse an Zahlen weiter fördern. Diese Spiele sollen sich vor allem aus dem Kindergarten-Alltag ergeben, beim Umgang mit alltäglichen Gegenständen.

Eine neue Herausforderung für Isabel

Was kann ich tun, um Isabels Interesse am „Heinevetters Trainer“ weiterzuentwickeln?

Ich beobachte, dass Isabel von der einfachen Spielvariante zunehmend gelangweilt ist. Sie ist immer sehr schnell damit fertig. Wenn sie mit einer Kleingruppe spielt, ist ihr das Tempo der anderen Kinder zu langsam. Dann bricht sie ihr Spiel ab oder räumt gleich das gesamte Spielmaterial ein.

Um ihr vielfältigere Möglichkeiten zu zeigen, sich auszuprobieren, möchte ich ihr die nächst schwierigere Spielvariante anbieten.
Aber meine Überlegungen gehen noch weiter: Was ist, wenn sie das Material langweilig findet und auch in dieser Hinsicht neue Anregungen braucht? Ich suche nach Alternativen.

Da Zahlen für Isabel immer größere Bedeutung bekommen, suche ich eine Kombination: Wie kann man Bekanntes wie „Heinevetters Trainer“ mit dem verbinden, was sie auch sehr interessiert?
Vielleicht ist eine andere Version geeignet, die unsere Vorschulkinder auch nutzen, der „Heinevetters Trainer – Einertrainer 1-5. 392 Aufgaben für vorschulische Gestalt- und Mengenerfassung.“ Damit möchte ich Isabel die Möglichkeit geben, sich auszutesten. Ich will ihr mehr Auswahlmöglichkeiten geben, um ihren Wissensdurst zu stillen.

Von selbst nahm sie sich die nächste schwierigere Spielvariante und schaute sich aber nur das Vorlagenblatt an. Als ich sie frage: „Wollen wir dieses Spiel einmal zusammen spielen?“ ist sie sofort begeistert.

Wie bereits zuvor möchte ich auch diesmal schrittweiswe vorgehen und an bereits Bekanntem anknüpfen.

Am ersten Tag treffe ich mich mit Isabel im ruhigen Nebenraum und frage sie: „Heute möchte ich mit Dir unser Spiel spielen. Hast Du Lust dazu? Wenn Du willst, kannst Du es allein spielen oder mit mir zusammen.“

Isabel ist sehr erfreut, dass sie mit mir wieder etwas zusammen (vor allem nur wir beide) spielen kann. Zusammen bereiten wir das Spiel vor. Isabel will allein spielen: „Das kann ich schon.“ Rasch ordnet sie alle 49 Legetafeln richtig den sieben Sachbereichen zu (Fahrzeuge, Geschirr, Spielzeug, Kleidung, Werkzeug, Tiere und Möbel).

Dabei legt sie viel Wert auf meine Anerkennung und das Loben für die richtige Zuordnung. Immer wieder fragt sie mich: „Ist das richtig, passt das?“ – obwohl sie genau weiß, dass es richtig ist. Denn wenn ein Symbol falsch zugeordnet ist, passt es nicht in das System. Isabel kann also auch selbstständig kontrollieren, ob sie richtig gelegt hat oder nicht. Für das komplette Spiel braucht sie etwa zehn Minuten – eine tolle Leistung. Sie ist sehr konzentriert und hat viel Spaß; sie klatscht sich oft selber Beifall und freut sich.
Nicht ein einziges Mal bittet sie um Hilfe.

Das Schwierige provoziert

Als wir die Legetafeln einräumen, fällt ihr Blick schon auf das nächste Blatt, die nächst schwierigere Variante. Ehrlich gesagt, habe ich dies ein bisschen provoziert, um Isabel darauf neugierig zu machen. Es hat geklappt. Sie betrachtet es mit Interesse. Ich frage sie: „Wollen wir auch mal mit diesem Blatt die Tafeln legen?“ Sie nickt und sagt: „Aber nicht jetzt, ich möchte raus gehen.“

Bleibt noch zu erwähnen, dass sie auch bei diesem Spiel versucht hat, die Tafeln zu zählen. Bis zwölf kann sie das in richtiger Reihenfolge. Einen „Hänger“ hat sie bei sechs, dann zähle ich die sieben, und sofort zählt sie bis zwölf allein weiter. Ich bin sehr erstaunt, denn bisher zählte sie immer nur bis acht.
Dieses Kind versetzt mich immer mehr in Staunen.

Am zweiten Tag sind wir wieder allein im Nebenraum. Nun geht es um die schwierigere Variante des Trainers. Ich sage: „Als wir das letzte Mal dieses Spiel spielten, hast du dir dieses Blatt angesehen. Frage: wollen wir dieses Spiel zusammen spielen? Das Spiel ist auch schwieriger, man muss genau hinschauen, weil die Gegenstände etwas anders aussehen.“ (Bei dieser Spielvariante sind die Symbole auf dem Spielblatt verändert. Sie stimmen nicht mehr genau mit den Symbolen auf den Legetafeln überein. Es sind eine gute Aufmerksamkeit und eine gute Konzentration nötig, um die entsprechenden Symbole zu erkennen und um die Tafeln richtig zuzuordnen.)

Sie will es alleine schaffen

Während ich noch bei meinen Erläuterungen bin, konzentriert sich Isabel bereits auf das Spielblatt. Ich frage: „Kannst du die Gegenstände erkennen?“ Es dauerte einige Zeit. Immer wieder betrachtet sie das Spielblatt mit den Symbolen auf den Legetafeln. Sie spricht kein Wort. Aber ich sehe ihr an, dass sie sich etwas ausdenkt. Auf einmal fängt sie an, die Legetafeln den Bildern auf der Vorlage zuzuordnen. Sie fordert mich nicht auf, mitzuspielen.

Ich sehe, dass es eine Herausforderung für Isabel ist und ihr zunächst schwer fällt. Doch es gelingt ihr, einige Symbole zuzuordnen. Auf meine Frage: „Warum hast du diese Legetafel auf dieses Bild gelegt?“, erklärt sie mir, an welchen Merkmalen sie sich orientiert hat, zum Beispiel bei der Ente an Kopf und Schnabel. Erneut kann sie die Bilder zuerst zuordnen, die ihr am geläufigsten sind – Tiere, Spielzeug, Geschirr.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Sie musste sich anstrengen und war bereit dazu. Sie hat das Prinzip erfasst und ein System entwickelt.

Nach etwa 15 Minuten lässt ihre Konzentration nach und sie will nicht mehr weiterspielen.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
War es kognitiv zu schwierig für sie, oder war es für sie nach einiger Zeit anstrengend, aber wenig inspirierend? Hoch begabte Kinder zeigen oft wenig Neigung, etwas immer wieder zu wiederholen, wenn sie das zugrunde liegende Prinzip begriffen haben. Wiederholungen verlieren dann an Reiz und werden als anstrengend und ermüdend wahrgenommen.

Mich wundert, dass sie mich nicht aufgefordert hat mitzuspielen. Hat sie schon so einen Ehrgeiz entwickelt, schwierige Aufgaben allein lösen zu wollen?

Isabel will zu den anderen Kindern. Ich lobe sie, wie toll sie das Spiel gespielt hat, und betone nochmal, dass diese Spielvariante viel schwieriger ist. Das bejaht sie. Sie will das Spiel nicht einräumen, es soll so liegenbleiben. „Möchtest Du später weiterspielen?“ – „Ja.“

Keine Begeisterung für Kleingruppenarbeit

Da ich auch das Zusammenspiel in einer Kleingruppe fördern möchte, schlage ich ihr vor: „Wir könnten auch noch andere Kinder fragen, ob sie mitspielen möchten. Was meinst du?“ Sie sagt Ja, aber wirkt nicht begeistert.
Für mich stellt sich die Frage: Warum möchte Isabel bei solchen Spielen, die für sie eine Herausforderung sind, allein oder nur mit mir spielen? Bei anderen Gelegenheiten, Rollenspielen oder Kreisspielen, spielt sie durchaus auch mit anderen Kindern zusammen.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Von Dir aber will sie Neues lernen.

Ich denke, auch wenn Isabel noch so jung ist, spürt sie, dass ich sie ernst nehme, dass ich für sie da bin, wenn sie Fragen oder Probleme hat. Denn meine Kolleginnen bestätigen mir, dass Isabel immer zuerst zu mir kommt, wenn sie etwas beschäftigt. Und ich glaube, sie weiß genau, wenn wir zusammen etwas machen, kommt sie auf ihre Kosten, es kommt keine Langeweile auf.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Du hast die Frage gut beantwortet. Aber Vorsicht: Am zweiten Tag war u.E. doch Langeweile aufgekommen. Im Grunde hättest Du schneller, nicht erst nach 15 Minuten, eine neue Version anbieten können. Auch die Absicherung am ersten Tag (Kann sie es wirklich?) war vielleicht überflüssig? Du hattest ja schon erkannt, dass sie es konnte. Warum soll sie ein paar Monate später dümmer sein? Es ist schwierig, das Lerntempo hoch begabter Kinder nachzuvollziehen. Aber bei Isabel raten wir Dir zu (noch mehr) Mut.

Aber ich erlebe sie auch in bestimmten Situationen, wo sie sich der Gruppe (äußerlich?) anpasst. Wenn wir zum Beispiel in der Turnhalle ein Kreisspiel spielen, steht sie zwar mit im Kreis, macht aber fast nie mit, oder beteiligt sich nur teilweise. Für mich ist das in Ordnung, denn eine Aufforderung mitzuspielen bringt nichts, da ist sie stur.

Isabel hat ihr angefangenes Spiel nicht beendet. Ich habe es ihr mehrmals angeboten. Sie zeigte einfach kein Interesse mehr. Nach drei Tagen durfte ich es mit ihrer Erlaubnis einräumen.

Vorschulübungen zur Gestalt- und Mengenerfassung

Weil Isabel immer größeres Interesse am Zählen zeigt, will ich ihr nun den „Heinevetters Trainer – Einertrainer 1-5. 392 Aufgaben für vorschulische Gestalt- und Mengenerfassung“ anbieten.
Auch hier gibt es 49 Legetafeln, zehn Applikationen (Marienkäfer; Enten; Küken; Mäuse; Schmetterlinge; Äpfel; Kirschen; Blätter; Luftballons und Sterne).
Jede Applikation hat 5 Tafeln, wo jeweils von 1-5 die Applikationen abgebildet sind.

Es gilt die Menge der Gegenstände zu erfassen und diese richtig zuzuordnen. Die Gegenstände sind auf den Legetafeln anders als auf der Bildvorlage dargestellt – nur die Anzahl der Applikationen stimmt.

Um Isabel zunächst nicht mit der Vielzahl der Legetafeln zu überfordern, wähle ich aus den zehn Bereichen vier aus: Luftballons; Küken; Sterne und Blätter.

Zuerst liegen nur die Legetafeln auf dem Tisch. Isabel soll sich die Tafeln anschauen und sie benennen. Das ist für sie nicht schwierig, alle Applikationen benennt sie richtig. Als nächstes soll sie die Gegenstände abzählen – zum Beispiel vier Luftballons oder drei Blätter. Damit hat sie Schwierigkeiten. Meistens zählt sie mehr ab: abgebildet sind vier Blätter und sie zählt bis fünf oder sechs.

Ich versuche, mit ihr gemeinsam abzuzählen, aber sie zählt immer weiter. Fällt es Isabel doch noch schwer, Gegenstände richtig abzuzählen, obwohl sie das Zählen bis zwölf in richtiger Reihenfolge beherrscht?

Aber trotzdem will ich testen, ob sie bei den Legetafeln die richtige Menge erfassen und dem Bild auf der Vorlage zuordnen kann. Ich zeige ihr die Spielvorlage und erkläre ihr das Prinzip. Ich überlasse es ihr, mit welchem Gegenstand sie beginnt.

Isabel zeigt sofort großes Interesse und beginnt mit ihrer Aufgabe, ohne dass ich ihr noch viel erklären muss. Mich erstaunt, dass sie auf einen Blick erfasst, welche Anzahl der Gegenstände auf der Tafel ist und wohin die Tafel auf der Bildvorlage gehört (Erkennen von Übereinstimmungen und Unterschieden – sortierendes Denken). Mich fasziniert, mit welcher Schnelligkeit Isabel die Tafeln zuordnet –  zumal auf dem Vorlageblatt mehr Applikationen abgebildet sind, aber Isabel nur eine geringe Anzahl von Legetafeln hat. Von den anderen Bilder lässt sie sich nicht ablenken.

Ich kann es kaum fassen.

Die Anzahl der Bereiche ist für Isabel ausreichend. Sie beschäftigt sich etwa 15 Minuten und schafft es, alle Legetafeln zuzuordnen. Als sie die Sterne zuordnet, singt sie das Laternenlied „Sonne, Mond und Sterne“. Ich finde es bemerkenswert, dass sie in der Lage ist, während ihrer Tätigkeit, die eine hohe Konzentration erfordert, auch noch Verbindungen zu anderen Bereichen herzustellen – wie in diesem Fall zur Musik. Aber zur Zeit werden auch viele Laternenlieder gesungen.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Dass sie spontan anfängt zu singen, zeigt ja auch ihre gute Grundstimmung: angeregt, aber nicht angespannt.

Isabel signalisiert weiter großes Interesse. Sie fragt mich, ob wir das noch mal spielen. Weiterhin zeigt sie kein Interesse, in einer Kleingruppe zu spielen. Sie gibt mir gleich zu verstehen, dass sie allein mit mir spielen möchte.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Sie ist ein kluges Kind und ahnt, dass Du (und sie) dann abgelenkt wärt, und sie dann doch nicht so gut „auf ihre Kosten“ käme.

Zahlenspiele im Alltag

Um ihr wachsendes Interesse an Zahlen weiter zu fördern, möchte ich ihr auch im gesamten Tagesablauf die Möglichkeit geben, sich an alltäglichen Dingen darin zu üben und immer mehr Lust und Wissbegier im Zahlenbereich zu wecken.
Ich möchte Isabel so viele Impulse wie möglich geben:
– durch Fingerspiele und
– durch Zahlenspiele mit Instrumenten (sie ist auch musikalisch sehr interessiert) und
– beim Sammeln von Eicheln und Kastanien und
– bei Schildchen an unserer An- und Abmeldetafel. (Wird erläutert in: Hinweise auf Hochbegabung bei einer Zweijährigen.)

Es gibt unzählige Möglichkeiten, Kindern im Alltag Mathematik / Zahlen nahe zu bringen.
Siehe auch die Handbuch-Beiträge in Kapitel 4.4.1.

Auf jeden Fall möchte ich erreichen, dass ich Isabel immer Angebote entsprechend ihren Bedürfnissen mache, bei denen sie neue Herausforderungen bekommt.

Mein wichtigstes Ziel ist es, Isabel nicht zu unterfordern.

Denn ich bin davon überzeugt, dass sie eine überdurchschnittliche Begabung besitzt.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
In den ersten beiden Berichten zu Isabel hast Du eher befürchtet, sie zu überfordern!

Wir zählen beim Tischdecken und beim Musizieren

Wie viele Teller brauchen wir an diesem Tisch? Wir zählen die Stühle, denn an jeden Stuhl, der am Tisch steht, kommt ein Teller. Wir zählen zusammen: sechs Stühle. „Wie viele Stühle stehen am Tisch? Isabel, zähle bitte noch mal nach.“ Es kommt immer noch vor, dass sie sich um ein oder zwei verzählt. Aber es wird nicht dramatisiert. Wir probieren es immer wieder bei passenden Gelegenheiten. Sechs Stühle stehen am Tisch, also brauchen wir sechs Teller. Zusammen stellen wir die Teller auf den Tisch und zählen dabei, ob es auch wirklich sechs Teller sind.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Du hast genau beobachtet und gesehen, dass sie kleine Mengen zwar intuitiv erfassen, aber noch nicht sicher abzählen kann. Und genau da forderst und förderst Du sie.

Wir musizieren in einer Kleingruppe und Isabel hat viel Freude daran. Bevor wir mit Instrumenten spielen, müssen wir hören, wie sie klingen – etwa die Klanghölzer. „Seht zu mir, ich zähle, wie oft wir mit den Klanghölzern schlagen“ – und alle machen mit. Das wird verbunden mit lautem, leisem, schnellem und langsamem Schlagen der Klanghölzer. Isabel ist sehr konzentriert, beobachtet ganz genau meine Bewegungen.

Das sind nur einige von vielen Situationen, in denen ich Gelegenheiten zum Zählen nutze. Mir ist wichtig, dass ich dies immer mehreren Kindern anbiete, allen die Interesse und Spaß daran haben. Auch soll Isabel positive Kleingruppen- Erfahrungen sammeln und möglicherweise auch ihre guten Ideen mit einfließen lassen.

Habe ich mein Ziel erreicht?

Ja, obwohl ich anfangs einige Zweifel hatte. Beim Vorstellen der schwierigeren Spielvariante des ersten „Heinevetters Trainer“ konnte ich beobachten, dass das Interesse bei Isabel nachließ und sie das Spiel auch nicht zu Ende spielen wollte.

Was kann die Ursache dafür sein? Ich glaube, dass es für Isabel nicht mehr interessant genug war, da sie die Symbole und den Ablauf schon kannte. Sie brauchte eine neue Herausforderung, was auch das Material und ihr neues Interessengebiet „Zählen / Zahlen“ betrifft.

Da sie zum Anfang ja Interesse bekundet hat, aber beim Spielverlauf bemerkte, dass sie das Prinzip des Spiels kannte, ließ ihr Interesse einfach nach. Ich vermute, dass sie mir signalisieren wollte: „Gib mir neue, interessantere Impulse, die meinen Bedürfnissen entsprechen.“

Könnte das auch Widerwille gegen Routineaufgaben und Wiederholungen sein?
(Auch dieses Merkmal ist in den Hinweisen auf eine mögliche intellektuelle Hochbegabung aufgeführt.)

Mit dem Angebot des neuen „Heinevetters Trainer“ für vorschulische Gestalt- u. Mengenerfassung konnte ich ihren Bedürfnissen gerecht werden. Diese Reaktion von Isabel hätte ich nicht erwartet: Mit welcher Schnelligkeit sie das Prinzip des neuen Trainer erfasst hat, und alle Symbole richtig zugeordnet hat! Ich bin immer noch sehr erstaunt. Da komme ich meiner Vermutung immer näher, dass bei Isabel eine überdurchschnittliche Begabung vorliegt.

Kommentar der Kursleitung:
Hochbegabung ist eben keine kleine Abweichung vom Durchschnitt, sondern eine wirklich große. Es ist toll, wie Isabel Dir das zeigen kann.

Da ich bei dem neuen Trainer die Anzahl der Legetafeln reduziert habe, um Isabel nicht gleich mit der Vielzahl der Legetafeln, zu überfordern, werde ich in der nächsten Zeit, mit ihr gemeinsam, die Anzahl der Legetafeln erhöhen. Isabel soll über die Anzahl der Legetafeln selbst entscheiden.

Weiterhin möchte ich das Spiel in einer Kleingruppe anbieten. Denn Isabel soll (so hoffe ich) für sich die positive Erfahrung sammeln, dass das Zusammenspiel mit anderen Kinder viel Freude bereitet, und dass man auch dabei Neues lernen kann.

Und so ging es weiter mit Isabel:

Isabel (3:3) lernt „Halli Galli“

Bei Zahlen-Spielen findet Isabel (3;8) passende Spielgefährten


Datum der Veröffentlichung: Juni 2015
Copyright © Hanna Vock, siehe Impressum