What do you mean by visual intelligence

Teaching to see, learning to see

From: Ingeborg Becker-Textor: See with children's eyes. Perceptual education in kindergarten. Freiburg, Basel, Vienna: Herder 1992, pp. 17-42 (slightly edited version)

Ingeborg Becker-Textor

Perception in children

It is difficult for parents or adults in general to understand that children do not perceive their environment in the same way as they do. This becomes clear when children are repeatedly asked to see something specific, to look carefully. But children see differently, apparently choosing what they want to see. Their main interests differ from those of adults. You are much more fascinated by the detail or by seemingly worthless, irrelevant things. But what is important is usually defined by the adult. The child is considered too young to make such important decisions. This is where the inequality begins; the adult man rises above the little man and insinuates that he is more or less inferior.

A number of factors play a very important role in children's perceptual abilities: intelligence, mental maturity, and experiences made in their physical and social environment. It would be too short to define the ability of perception to be based on the age of the child, because it depends essentially on what things and events come across him in his everyday life, especially those that appeal to him, arouse his curiosity and urge to research.

The child checks all things and is not satisfied with just looking at them. Especially in early childhood he puts things in his mouth, moves them, examines them with his hands. Soon it learns linguistic names for the objects (object names). When the child knows what things are, they increasingly want to know what properties they have and what can be done with them.

We all know the infinite why-questions. The children are never satisfied with the answer. When we adults believe that we have finally found an appropriate answer, the child responds with another why. While we were answering him, a new question came to him.

Try the why game on your team. From each answer, the next player formulates a new why question. You will find that this game challenges adults too, demands creativity from them. Let's start: Why is the carpenter called carpenter? Because he makes tables. Why does he make tables? Because people need tables. Why do people need tables? ...

For the child, recognizing the environment begins with sensations, with perception. The richer these are, the more extensive and varied is the knowledge of the environment it acquires.

Seeing with your eyes - visual perception

Even the child feels drawn to conspicuous, interesting, but also inconspicuous things. It is happy about shiny objects, reaches for brightly colored flowers.

The essentials for visual perception are, among others. the color, the size, the shape, the mobility of things. The red, rolling ball is followed with the eyes, the child crawls or runs after it, shows its joy when it has reached it, holds it in its hands.

Which objects the toddler can turn to is determined by the adults through the objects that they place within the child's range of vision or that they have selected directly for the child ("prepared environment" in the sense of Maria Montessori's pedagogy). It is different when the child can walk independently and conquer his living space independently. Even at kindergarten age we can prepare the environment for the child, but only in a so-called protected space: in the children's room, in the apartment, in the group room of the kindergarten. We have little influence on the public environment.

Our children get to see a lot, far too many things, behaviors, events that they do not understand, do not recognize in their meaningfulness or can even assign. What children perceive with their eyes is different from what adults see. The detail or a question arising from the perception of the detail becomes more important for the child than the overall picture. We can check this over and over again when we ask children, "What did you see?" or when we listen carefully to what children report on their own initiative about what they see.

Things that surround the child in early childhood also have an impact on aesthetic upbringing. Tasteful furniture, harmonious color combinations and first encounters with art do not only influence the visual perception. The child takes in and reflects on what they see - even if they cannot express themselves verbally (or cannot yet express themselves).

The "visual sanctuary" kindergarten is of particular importance in our overstimulated, chaotic environment. The result of a survey of 150 teachers is all the more frightening: 70% could not describe their group room - especially the design of the walls. "There are pictures of children hanging there, probably from the topics of the last few months. Today we hung pictures made of autumn leaves. What else is hanging there, huh?" Or: "I can't part with some of the children's pictures, they are so original. Why, I don't know either. I like them. What is on them, I don't know. Whether the children are related to them? I haven't yet thought! "

How the living environment is designed also plays a major role in the child's vision. In doing so, we have to pay particular attention to the perspective of children and adults and differentiate between them. In many kindergartens there are picture ledges on the walls, at the adult's eye level or higher. Crouch down once and walk through the kindergarten. What about your own visual perception? Can you still see the details in the pictures? Can you see what's on the top of the shelf or the summer bouquet on the cupboard? Radiant colors. If you wanted to take a closer look at it, you would need a ladder or a chair. It is problematic for children to see in an adult world. It becomes clear that the different body size alone causes completely different visual approaches to things.

The abundance of what is visible has an overwhelming effect on children. See where It is getting more and more! Getting involved, seeing, looking and observing in peace is made more difficult by the distraction that emanates from the so diverse visual stimuli. Children leaf through a picture book in a hurry, want to see more, suffer from a lack of concentration. It is important to break new ground here, for children and adults. In the later part of the book I will try to give you suggestions - for working in a team, with the children, but above all with the parents.

The other forms of seeing: hearing, touching, smelling, tasting

A blind child was accepted into the children's group. Katharina watches Susanne as she picks out all the wooden men from a box with various small wooden objects and places them on the table in front of her. Your fingertips slide over the small wooden objects, select and bring them to the surface in a targeted manner.

Katharina: "Susanne, she sees with her hands! She has found all the males without her eyes, she cannot see, cannot see properly!" Katharina also gets a box and asks the teacher to blindfold her. She carefully feels for the box and reaches into it. She selects a wooden object and carefully begins to "see" with her fingers. "I think it's a horse." "Show me," says the blind Susanne, "that's right, it's a horse!"

Katharina takes off the blindfold, she wants to know exactly. It's true, she chose a horse. With the inclusion of Susanne in the kindergarten group, tactile games take on a whole new meaning. Peter explains Susanne's "seeing" as follows: "She just sees inside her head that it's a horse. Her eyes can't do that. She just imagines it." Does everyone know what imagination or inner imagination means?

The development of perception requires a good training of all senses. An important goal for work in kindergarten can be to make sensory training one of the dominant methods in pre-school education. Noises, structures, smells, a certain taste are closely related to each other, lead to ideas and images.

Klaus: "Hm, that smells like apple, and the apple is smooth and round and sweet." After this description, the blind Susanne can also get an idea of ​​the apple. Which sensory perception dominates the individual child on the "path to the picture" depends on their level of development, experience and handling of things as well as the support (access) that the child has already received in the family and kindergarten.

Perceiving with all their senses helps our children to grasp their environment, to differentiate it, to organize in pictures - sound images, smell and taste images, tactile images or structure images.

"It would seem that there is only one information channel for the perception of visual and acoustic heating, namely eyes and ears. That this is not true, as strange as it may sound, shows us the experience with tactile perception. We guess one Object through blind touch not least because we visually imagine the object during the scanning process "(Oerter 1976).

Perception training as a support method to increase cognitive performance?

It is not surprising that educators, psychologists and didacticians have tried in various ways to train children's vision in its differentiated way - but geared towards cognitive performance. You want to contribute to an increase in intelligence or even impart basic school skills at an early stage. Schenk-Danzinger reports: "An attempt to accelerate the differentiation of visual perception through appropriate training showed interesting results. After 15 training periods to differentiate between image details, each lasting 12 to 15 minutes (but not on the images that were used for the performance test) the performance of the trained child was significantly better than at the beginning of the training, that of a control group did not change as significantly. When the experiment was repeated after three months, the performance of the trained children had decreased somewhat, while the control group had caught up and was in their performance no longer differed from those of the trained group. "

So children have to absorb, perceive, see - and then progress individually in their development. The pace varies from child to child.

Maria Montessori speaks of a - one could say spurt-like - special readiness, the so-called sensitive periods. As educators, we are challenged to see this in the child and to react accordingly to the needs of the children or to shape the environment. Unfortunately, it is often the case that professional educators in particular no longer see these needs of the children, as they only focus on the educational goals to be striven for. This means that some opportunities for intensive funding are wasted. Perceptual performances of the child are disregarded. The assumption that "perception is an active process of construction and structuring and that this leads to the expectation that 'children need to do this work' of perception longer than adults, who are 'more experienced' in it, has been experimentally confirmed" (Schenk-Danzinger) . As a consequence, this also means for the educator that he has to give the child the necessary time and the necessary freedom, but above all has to be patient enough and be able to wait.

The child organizes and structures visual and different information right from the start. Despite a holistic view, the child's perception process is determined by sub-elements that the child selects, abstracts and relates to already existing perceptions. Since younger children in particular are not yet able to differentiate between important and unimportant stimuli, they need longer than adults to have explored and holistically recorded all the essential characteristics of an object.

In studying five and six-year-old children, for example, in 1967 Denner and Cashdan found that an improvement in the performance of recognizing shapes could be achieved if they had been explored visually and tactilely beforehand. The attention could thus be activated more strongly and the concentration on the object increased. So it is not surprising when people speak of the "sense of sight as the teacher of the sense of touch".

So we have to relearn. If we precede the child with what he is supposed to perceive, he will lose experiences that he will find difficult to catch up in adulthood.

Seeing in relation to walking

Seeing is also closely related to walking, to movement. If children cannot approach objects, but rather have to wait until they are brought up to them by adults or older children, then they can no longer decide for themselves what and for how long they want to look at and look at an object. "Walking gives freedom. Those who can walk are no longer tied to one place and therefore no longer tied to one person ... The child's departure from the mother and ultimately also from the family happens in growing rings: one dies every time a little further away, but always comes back to make sure his mother ... that learning to walk becomes access to personal freedom at the same time, the parents are probably not aware of; because their other pedagogy is aimed at the restriction of freedom, and yet it is the pus that are repeatedly tempted to lure the child to leave "(Ernst Ell).

Walking enables the child to see very different kinds of perspectives. Spatial proximity or distance change the view and influence interest. What looks quite inconspicuous and insignificant from a distance has many exciting aspects up close (see also the later considerations "Aids to Seeing").

Friedrich Schiller once put it: "You can't just wind clocks and children, you have to let them run down." I would add this statement: You shouldn't overwind clocks and children! The clock then no longer works, it goes wrong, it stops. Children are "over-excited", that is, they lose their orientation when overstimulation causes them to react erratically and without concentrating. Then they defend themselves with abnormalities, become stubborn or aggressive, indifferent or hyperactive, etc.

A very personal example will shed light on the connection between walking and seeing. A friend of mine had to sit in a wheelchair after joint surgery to leave the house. Rainy autumn, first snow, we're going to visit Munich. An exhibition attracts our interest. After overcoming all the hurdles with the wheelchair, I pushed her through the exhibition. I was thrilled, but a bit disappointed at the same time, as she didn't look that happy. She had suggested a visit to the exhibition herself! Suddenly she turned around and said: "Let's go! I can't anymore! I can only see half of it anyway. Always look up, that is quite exhausting. And besides, I know you mean it well, but your pace is up." not my pace. Let me drive to the exit alone! "

Later, when the wheelchair was no longer needed, we often talked about this incident:

  • This is how it should be for children: they cannot see anything, everything is too high or too far away.
  • The pace is determined by the adult. The child has to keep up or will follow suit.
  • No wonder children get restless or lose interest.
  • Children cannot choose the objects to be viewed by themselves. The adults only insufficiently perceive their main interests or do not accept them at all.

Teaching to see, learning to see

From birth, humans are endowed with the ability to see - unlike some mammals that are born blind. But what all a child gets to see! How many faces lean over his bed? The environment that it can see from its play area changes again and again!

At the beginning there is not yet a deepened perception, too many impressions are presented to the child's eye. The adult increases this number of impressions by showing more and more to the child. He wants the child to see everything, to take in as much as possible and thus get to know the world faster and better. In doing so, however, it is forgotten that the child also has to organize, sort, analyze, qualify, let them work, evaluate, save, process ... their many impressions.

The child needs many years until it has mastered this process and is then able to abstract everything that has actually been seen and to correctly assign "artificial language terms". Early childhood, right up to preschool age, is shaped by learning about concrete things, by "seeing" with all of the senses. The child needs these experiences in order to fill our very abstract linguistic terms with content.

"'Why do you want to touch her? I'm afraid she'll fly away.' 'This is so beautiful.I do not know either. When I touch her, then I really know her. ' Suddenly something becomes clear to the father. Martin's words have put him back thousands of years, as it were, and let him experience the childhood of language. Only that which man of primeval times could touch was 'comprehensible' to him. He only understood what he could touch and grasp. What a sensual power and vividness the word understanding suddenly gained for his father through Martin's desire! So that's why children always want to touch everything, because they want to 'grasp' it, and that's why Martin now wants to 'grasp' the jackdaw. Children evidently still have the same drive and instinct as primitive men. They do not appropriate the environment with their intellect, but with their senses, with their flesh and blood. 'When I touch her, then I really know her.' Yes that's it! One would have to pay much more attention to the meaningfulness and wisdom of the language than one usually does. "(From" Martin "by Manfred Hausmann).

Teaching to see and learning to see therefore have a very special dimension in this context. The child has no influence at all on the visual environment and the adult only to a limited extent, insofar as he can shape the environment for the child individually. However, this only applies to sub-areas. At the same time, however, he then makes a selection according to his taste, his values ​​and his goals for the child's learning.

For example, adults prefer brightly colored, brightly colored toys. However, Rolf Oerter reports on a study by Rabello who found a decrease in attention to color in small children in favor of an increasing dominance of attention to shape. Other scientists also found out that, interestingly, almost all children before the age of three to four show a preference for the shape. It is not until kindergarten age that there is a convergence between the meaning of form and that of color for the child. There are also statements that children with a higher level of intelligence prefer to pay attention to the shape, children with a lower level of intelligence prefer to pay attention to the color.

What should we offer the child now? How to decide Teaching to see and learning to see therefore means a challenge to themselves for professional educators and parents as well - and an invitation to rethink their own behavior.

The role model effect of the educator

It is not a new finding that education usually takes place when educators do not consciously influence the educational process, do not control their behavior and have no concrete educational goals in mind. Children observe adult behavior and do not always select exemplary situations or exemplary behaviors as a model.

In addition, educators - especially parents - believe that, by and large, they could stay who they are. This prospect represented z. B. 62.3% of Bavarian parents, while 29.1% said they could partially stay that way, and only 8.5% were of the opinion that they should change to a greater extent or completely (G. Dietrich "Educational Concepts of Parents ", Göttingen 1985).

The word role model can be broken down into the words "before and image" and interpreted: Provide a picture, present a picture. Pictures are one of the preferred media of children, that is, they look at the picture that is presented to them, internalize its content, sometimes make it their own picture and behave accordingly. From this one can derive an almost unattainable demand or expectation of the adults, namely to constantly control and change the image that they present or give off, so that the child only experiences exemplary impressions in the truest sense of the word. It is clear and probably not desirable that this is not feasible and at the same time would prevent the individual, especially emotional reactions of people.

That children orientate themselves towards adults, see what they tell them and then apply them for themselves, the following children's statements may clarify:

"My dad always pulls a face when there's potato salad. Yuck, I don't like him either" (the child makes a dismissive grimace).

"When you lie down while watching TV, it relaxes," says my grandpa. I do that too. That's right. But I often don't see the film at all because I fall asleep! "

"Mama always pushes the onions to the edge of the plate. She says she can't take them. Certainly I can't take them either. I also push them to the edge, like mom!"

Task for you as an educator: Observe your children and determine

  • which behaviors of the children match yours,
  • in which areas you see yourself as a positive or negative role model.
  • Try to discuss in a team meeting which connections between teaching and learning to see were perceived by you and your employees.
  • Try to find out how you teach sight
  • how children teach you to see.

"Through the child I gain experience, it influences my beliefs and the world of my feelings; I receive instructions from the child to myself, I make demands, I blame myself, I am indulgent or forgive. The child teaches and educates. For For the educator, the child is the book of nature; by reading it he matures. One must not disregard the child. It knows more about itself than I do about the child. It deals with itself in all hours of wakefulness. I can only guess. Therefore it is a mistake when I try to assess its usefulness and its shortcomings. It is lazy, naughty, capricious, lies, steals - this is not very positive. What is his opinion of himself, his behavior towards the group and the educator; what kind of experiences has it made, to what effort and what concessions it is capable of? how long can it endure something? one should not underestimate the group. in many there is special Clever, observational, critical, vigilant, one-sidedly experienced, ironic, vicious and avenging children. In their striving for understanding, the group discusses, supplements and exchanges observations, looks through the educator through and through. She tries to make him the plaything of his own will and takes advantage of all his mistakes, his indecision, weaknesses and vices ... The children teach the educator, but they also blame and punish him, they make peace again, forget or forgive consciously, but also take revenge. They incite a hot-headed man, laugh at him, turn his head and make him rebellious or pretend to be a fool. They stubbornly demand: Be an example to us and - in accordance with the main requirement of every educational theory - give us an example, not with words, but with deeds. The educator is faced with the dilemma: Either he begins the arduous, laborious and unending work on his own imperfections, or he banishes - which is much more convenient - the theory. "(Janusz Korczak, from:" From children and other role models ", Gütersloh 1979).

The adult as the "determiner"

Here the adult as a so-called "finished person" and there the child as a "small, still unfinished person in need of learning" - this is the opinion not only of laypeople, but also often of professional educators.

In addition the statement of a father: "Children do not know and are not able to do anything. That is why they need me as an instructor, I have to show them (showing is the same as letting see) how it is right or what they have to do or how something should look if I don't do that, then nothing will come of my child. The child has to learn from me what is right and I will explain it to him. "

Or the statement of a mother: "The child is not yet stable. It is in a process that is far from over. I have to show the child the right way so that the process goes right. It does not yet see where there are mistakes makes or runs in the wrong direction. Childhood is too short, and I believe in the saying: 'What Hans never learns, Hans never learns.' All freedom in honor, but if I wait until my child has found his own point of view Then I struggle to re-educate it in the direction of my expectations and those of society. "

Two examples that make it clear that the adult determines or wants to determine what children see, which points of view they should develop or which points of view are allowed. From childhood it is selected which objects the child should be occupied with: the first play materials, building blocks, dolls, play animals, pictures and picture books, through the design of the children's room and the group room in the kindergarten, through the selection of the places that are visited together , Excursions and the like. That our decision is often not that of the children is shown by the fact that children are bored, show no interest, become restless, disturb and destroy, and push towards other objects - often materially worthless. Do's and don'ts have no effect. The child wants to conquer his world and assert himself. Defiance is just one reaction that shows us that the child has its own will, its own ideas, its own point of view.

How about if we let children be "determiners" too? They would be good teachers to us and we would probably learn to see through their eyes!

At this point it is particularly important to draw attention to our picture book world. When buying or renting, adults make the selection for the child. When making books, adults determine the subjects. In recent years it has become more and more noticeable that so-called children's picture books deal with the topics and unsolved problems of adults and illustrate them in pictorial, child-like representations. More and more of these books are suitable for starting a parents' evening or as a basis for a parenting discussion, but are hardly of any interest to children. Children do not want a repetition of their own situation in the form of a picture book and perhaps not even a satisfactory solution at the end of the story. When choosing picture books, we are therefore more challenged than ever to consider whom we want to illustrate or make visible with the book. Then there is next to the so-called children's book, which presents the problems with the parents' divorce and the possible effects on children in plain, simple, clear language, the real children's book, which encourages children to act within their own limits, possibilities and abilities, Dealing with conflicts, opening up spaces for adventure and simply being happy.

Dealing with the role of the "determiner" becomes necessary if we want to do justice to the children.

"You have to see that!"

Impatient exclamations like

  • "You have to see that!" or:
  • Watch out, don't you see, you're not blind! "Or:
  • "It can be clearly seen in the picture. Can't you look closely," etc.

are more than familiar to us in everyday life with children. The adult sees something, the child does not see it, and reproaches arise: "You cannot do it, you do not see it correctly", or even: "You are blind or have to be blind!"

However, the children's vision cannot be controlled according to the wishes of the adults. Children perceive things differently and differently. The ignorance of the child's perception leads to impatience and injustice on the part of adults.

Another tip for your team meeting: Together you look at a poster with a lot to see on it. After a few minutes, take it away. Each team member tries to write down for himself

  • what was most important to him in the picture,
  • all it can remember
  • which colors were particularly dominant or not available at all,
  • which forms predominated in the presentation ...

Then the poster is brought up again and everyone on the team can compare their observations with the representation in the picture. The results will be interesting and hopefully thought-provoking. After such an experiment, do we still say: "You must have seen that, or are you blind?"

Learning location kindergarten - school of seeing

The kindergarten is the ultimate child-oriented place of learning. In the kindergarten there is the possibility that everything - rooms, equipment, material, topics to be treated, etc. - can be tailored to the child and his needs. The kindergarten offers a world that is therefore very different from the world of adults.

We are now perhaps tempted to think that the kindergarten thus represents a protected, specifically child-friendly world, an island of carefree childhood, a laboratory situation. That, in turn, cannot and must not be the case. However, the needs of the children should be seen as a priority. Outside of kindergarten, the needs of adults dominate. B. Child policy versus women's policy and labor market policy. A sufficient lobby for children and what children need is missing.

In this way, the employees in the kindergarten, but also the providers and parents' representatives as well as the parents themselves, become indispensable partners in shaping the kindergarten environment. That this is not possible without conflict is also shown by the various interests, e. B. in terms of opening times. The well-being of the children must be taken into account here, as well as the desire to combine family and work.

All of the aforementioned factors influence everyday kindergarten life and the organization of the daily routine. Related to this are the materials, games and topics that are necessarily available to the children or need to be taken up. The more prudent, far-sighted and open the educators work, the greater the chance that what is important for children will really be seen. Then the children will also be introduced to seeing negative and positive things, beautiful and ugly objects, depressing and motivating situations, values ​​and meaningfulness in our everyday lives.

Since children now spend a significant part of the day in kindergarten or other day care centers, these are the most important socialization instance alongside the family. A great responsibility for educators, to whom training and further education do not yet respond adequately.

All materials used in kindergarten can be summarized under the term play, learning and work equipment. Learning and work are in play, as are play and work in learning, and learning and play in work. The pedagogue Maria Montessori mainly uses the term work and connects it with "self-action" and "self-activity", whereby she wants to lead the child to the development of the senses and individual self-mediation. Whereas Pestalozzi and Froebel, for example, see learning as the solution to complex tasks that the child can face according to his or her needs.

Play, learning and work equipment address very specific senses directly through their material, their function and their purpose, for example pictures the eye, records the ear, balls the skin and the eye, etc. They also demand areas of personality, skills and abilities Skills as well as social, cognitive and emotional abilities such as tolerance, cooperation, ego strength, concentration, observation, creativity, thinking, tenderness, frustration tolerance and much more.

Even if we call kindergarten the Consider school of vision for children, it is difficult to make the right choice in the materials and the design of the rooms and everyday life. Both of these depend to a large extent on the educator and the children. When coercion and performance shape everyday life, the children's view of motivation, curiosity and self-interest is lost.

Children see everything

Even if we don't want to admit it, children see everything - including what they shouldn't or don't want.

  • You can see from a playmate that he is sad.
  • You see the hustle and bustle of Peter's mother, who is just pushing the boy quickly through the kindergarten door.
  • You see the unkindness of an educator towards an unannounced representative at the door.
  • You see the lovelessness with which Susanne's breakfast bread was prepared by her mother.
  • You see the happiness in the eyes of the disabled Martina.
  • You see the new pants from Klaus.
  • You see the bouquet of flowers, which immediately creates a different atmosphere in the group room.
  • You see the curiosity in Karin's eyes.
  • You see how Doro steals the chocolate from someone else's bread bag.
  • You see the many building blocks and select the wooden blocks again.
  • You see the selection of games and cannot decide.
  • You can see the change in color on wet paper.
  • You can see the bubbles in the yeast dough when baking the Martin's geese.
  • You can see the beans germinating in the jar on the windowsill.
  • You see the shadow moving along the wall.
  • You see They see...

The children's seeing never ends. Ask your children what they can see - in the group room, in the garden, with the children, with the adults, etc. Talk to the children about what they have seen. The weekly discussion or the regular children's conference are suitable forums for this.

Example from a children's conference: The hand puppet asks Pedro: "You, Pedro, you have such a radiance in your eyes. What is the reason that you look so happy?" Pedro turns to the side and beams at his friend Max, who is sitting next to him. "You know, Max was in the hospital for a long time and now he's well again. Don't you see, he's really well again!" Max is beaming and can't say anything for joy.

Another child reported in the children's conference that they had seen: "In the garden outside, there are masses of huge mushrooms growing, really!" When the group later went outside, they did not find any mushrooms. Karl protests: "Really, I saw it, someone must have picked it very quickly!" During the search for the mushrooms, however, the children discovered a lot:

  • Small green tips protrude from the earth under the hazel bush.
  • There is a broken beer bottle by the lilac bush.
  • A hole in the ground suggests the dwelling of a mouse, etc.

Had Karl "not seen the mushrooms", a lot would have remained unseen in the garden today!

From overlook

Seeing is also influenced by the will, by consciousness, by mechanisms of repression, etc. The phrase "I overlooked that" is easy and quick to get off the lips of everyone, children and adults. Mostly it is used as an excuse for a mistake, for something that has been forgotten. The six-year-old Peter explains quite correctly: "If you look over something upstairs, you really don't see it. When everything in my room is messed up and I look out the window, then I really don't see all that stuff on it Boden. My mom always doesn't believe me, and neither does the one in kindergarten! " Overlook, an auxiliary bridge or apology for all of us!

But I want to go into another dimension that is hidden in this word. Overlook also means overlook, i.e. to perceive something in its entirety, with all references, connections, causes and consequences. This is only achievable to a limited extent for children of preschool age, i.e. if the area to be overlooked is really manageable for the child, the child can analyze it and establish the connections. For parents and educators, this means creating manageable living spaces for children - at home and in kindergarten. Only in this way can the children learn to deal with the "large living spaces".

If we describe kindergarten as a school of vision, we must endeavor to ensure that the task associated with it is also fulfilled in a child-friendly manner. Our goal must therefore be to help the child to plan ahead. Not everything can be given. Rather, the child has to learn to think about it, to evaluate its previous experience and to incorporate it into the planning, and then to collect the necessary things like building blocks.

This can best be described with an example from the creative area: The child is enthusiastic about the colorful summer bouquet that has been in the group room since today. "Me too," is the decision. "Should I use wax crayons?" Perhaps the teacher will answer yes and say: "Paper and wax crayons are in the closet. You can take them." Perhaps the teacher will also answer: "What do you like so much about this bouquet?" And the child replies with motivation: "You know the many colors. Have you seen all the blue and red? When I squint my eyes, I mean, it's just a motley blob and not a bouquet at all!"

The teacher moves the bouquet onto the sunspot that falls on the table. The child, stimulated by this, turns the vase, looks at the flowers from all sides and suddenly discovers the shadow that falls on the table. She leans back on a chair and thinks: "Well, if I look at it like that, I can't even paint it with wax crayons. Watercolors would be much better ... And if I wet the paper beforehand, everything will work out so motley, like with squinted eyes! Will you give me the colors and everything? " asks the teacher. This replies: "Think about what you need, and then you can get everything yourself."

The child begins to enumerate for himself, runs away, brings the things over and puts everything on the table. It places itself in front of it and takes a careful look at the utensils. It runs away again and gets more newsprint. As if to itself it says: "I put more newspaper under myself, because if my cup with the water falls over ..." The teacher just stands by. The child looked at her again and again, she nodded encouragingly to him. The child has gained the necessary overview and is still busy for a long time.

The finished picture is hung over a chest of drawers, and the child places the vase with the bouquet next to it. If you squint your eyes, there are two bright spots of color next to each other.

Seeing as a learning goal

How about if education to see were included as a learning objective in the catalog of support areas for kindergarten work? The more intensive and differentiated the senses are trained in early childhood, the more comprehensive the child's perspective becomes and thus forms a broader basis for learning. Concrete perceptions would thus be facilitated as well as their transfer and abstraction.

"For memories, sensory impressions are a deeper breeding ground than the best systems and thought methods" (Hermann Hesse). What a person has experienced with his senses is memorized, is not forgotten and thus becomes a component of his knowledge.

In this context, Maria Montessori speaks of the "visual power of love": "The inspiration that urges the child to observe could be called Dante's 'intelletto d'amore' (intelligence, visual power of love) in one word To observe vividly and precisely those features of the environment that seem completely unimportant for us adults, who have already lost that vitality, is undoubtedly a form of love. that others do not see, do not appreciate, do not discover, a characteristic mark of love? The intelligence of the child does not escape the hidden, precisely because it observes with love, but never with indifference in love is a characteristic of childhood. " (Maria Montessori in "Children are different", Stuttgart 1952).

But how can we achieve the learning goal of seeing in kindergarten? The child needs the chance to take in the world. This requires understanding, time and freedom. In addition, it must practice seeing, and this in turn can only be achieved if we behave in such a way that the most important exercise of seeing is possible for it.

"You know with what irresistible verve and courage the child rushes into his attempts to walk. It wants to go, boldly, at any cost, and in this it is like the soldier who rushes towards victory regardless of the danger. The adult seeks the child to protect it from danger and therefore surrounds it with protective devices that represent real obstacles. The child is locked in the playpen or strapped in the stroller and driven around, even though its legs have long been tight. This happens because the child's step is shorter than that of the adult and because they have less stamina on longer walks. The adult, however, is unable to forego his own hearing rhythm, even if it is a nanny, i.e. a person who is trained to exclusively focus on that Dedicating the best interests of the child, the child must adapt to the gait of the nurse and not the other way around. (Maria Montessori in "Children are different", Stuttgart 1952).

In this statement by Montessori it becomes clear that adults determine where the path goes, what the pace is, what the goal should look like. And since walking and seeing cannot be separated from one another, this adult behavior strongly influences and, above all, restricts children's vision. Realizing the learning objective "seeing" therefore means primarily working on ourselves as adults, engaging with the children's pace and their methods of perception.

It is also important to examine which elementary observations we find more often in children and which objects they are particularly interested in. Then we can create visual stimuli for children in kindergarten and thus provide essential learning impulses.


Ingeborg Becker-Textor is a kindergarten teacher and after-school care worker. She studied social pedagogy at the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg and a degree in pedagogy at the University of Würzburg and has acquired several additional qualifications, such as the qualification as a specialist teacher for works and the Montessori diploma.
Ms. Becker-Textor worked as a kindergarten director in Würzburg, as a government advisor for day-care centers in Lower Franconia, as a part-time lecturer in training for nannies and educators, in advanced training for educators and skilled workers in youth welfare and for more than 20 years as head of department at Bayer. Ministry of Social Affairs (one after the other in the areas of youth welfare, child day care and public relations). In the ministry she was also responsible for numerous research projects at state and federal level. From 2006 to 2018 she and her husband headed the Institute for Education and Future Research (IPZF) in Würzburg.
Ingeborg Becker-Textor is the author and editor of more than 20 books and over 40 media packages. She has published around 140 specialist articles in magazines, edited volumes and on the Internet.
Homepage: https://www.ipzf.de