Are children between the ages of 5 and 7 years of age actually becoming increasingly developmentally disturbed and in need of therapy, as current reports indicate (see AOK Heilmittelbericht 2018; see Bildungsberichtsberichterstattung 2018)? Or are there possibly other explanations for this increase in recent years? These questions form the starting point of the short report “Am I a normal child?”.
An initial trail for answering these is laid by phenomenological educational science, which provides a different explanation for the strong increase in the number of children allegedly in need of treatment. It does not see the cause in the children. Instead, the predominant non-pedagogical norms for early childhood education in early educational institutions are considered to be decisive for the situation. First interviews with parents and educators, insights in observation reports as well as in observation sheets also confirmed this perspective.
In the course of this research, it became apparent that child development in early education practice is “measured” and evaluated to a large extent by developmental psychological norms. Developmental psychological norms are basically linked to age specifications and do not include any educational science perspectives on upbringing, education and learning. The individuality and the respective horizon of experience of the individual child are also excluded. This can lead to increased norm deviations on the part of the children, which are responded to with pathologisation and normalisation. The briefly outlined non-pedagogical approach to child development in early educational institutions could thus be an explanation for the high rate of increase in the number of children with an ascribed need for therapy. According to this, fewer children would show difficulties in their development requiring treatment than the statistics show.
The film contribution would like to draw attention with its protagonists to these imbalances in early education, which often leave traces on the children. In the short report, four protagonists from the field of early childhood have their say: a grandmother of an affected child, an educator, Dr. Simone Beller, the developer of the “Kuno-Bellers Development Table 0-9”, and the educational scientist Prof. Dr. Malte Brinkmann.
The content of the article was filmed together with Jeremy Lacher and thanks to all participants in a cooperation between MIZ Babelsberg and the Humboldt University of Berlin.
Nancy Weiss (HU Berlin)