Wednesday December 4: I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Sprite and friends are dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card they write and listening to the song about it here
Postman Pedro Perez whose parents live in Peru and Beloved Snail and other Mail Snails are busy delivering Christmas mail.
Sprite has made sure that her soft toys Puppy and Pony, Panda and Penguin do not feel neglected by giving them last year’s cards. Pedro is relieved that the dog accompanying Sprite today is the quiet little fawn pug, Pugnacious Loyola, rather than the boisterous Psycho Motor Dabrowski.
Columbus Cheetah has brought a poster for Sprite’s pin board to remind her that today is the International Day of the Cheetah.
You can read more about cheetahs by following this link or scanning the QR code


Namibia, Cheetahs and Gifted Students

I would like to thank Roya Klingner from the Global Center for Gifted Education for inviting me to blog as a part of Gifted Education Awareness Week in Namibia.
For detailed description of the aims, program of events during the week and the bloggers that are participating see The Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children page at


Namibia – Cheetahs – Gifted Students
What are the connections between these?

Namibia – Cheetahs
Namibia is home to the world’s largest cheetah population and also home to the
Cheetah Conservation Foundation

From the CCF Education Programs page

“In central Namibia, CCF operates a Field Research and Education Centre to conduct formal and informal education programs. The Centre is open to the public daily, as well as on-site public education and student training to Namibians and foreign university students. At a national level, the objective of CCF’s Research and Education Centre is to teach young Namibians the value of sustainable practices in environment and conservation from an early age. The Centre allows students to be exposed to CCF’s integrated research programs on the cheetah’s ecology, habitat and prey base, and the demonstration of CCF’s non-lethal livestock/predator management techniques. Relevant issues are presented regarding factors that affect conservation efforts at the community level. The Fund’s education program and cheetah museum displays are designed around CCF scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah; its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations. The CCF Education Team present two-day environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. All participants are exposed to CCF’s research and conservation efforts via presentations, and to the Namibian farmland ecosystem through the museum, nature trail and game drives. Team-building activities are designed to highlight the importance of team efforts in conservation. Role-play and drama are also included in the programmes and include scenarios of livestock and predator management. Since 2000, over 16,000 students have participated in these courses. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers, participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center. You can visit CCF Namibia’s Education Centre and take a virtual tour of the displays there.”

In order to ensure the continued survival of the cheetah it is necessary change attitudes toward the cheetah, to educate, problem solve and develop partnerships.


Cheetahs – Gifted Students

The logo for Gifted Resources  is a cheetah head in a circle.
Many other organizations (several of them related to giftedness) also use the cheetah as a logo.
(The connection between using the cheetah as a logo and contributing toward cheetah conservation is a possible topic for a future blog post)
Gifted Resources logo was chosen because the cheetah provides a very apt analogy for a gifted person.
The cheetah metaphor for giftedness is based on the brilliant article “Is it a cheetah?” by Stephanie Tolan
Stephanie Tolan’s article emphasizes that, just as cheetahs are designed to chase down fast running prey and need a suitable environment in which to thrive, so gifted students are designed to learn at a greater speed and depth and need to be presented with material at a suitable level of challenge in order to thrive academically.


Gifted Students – Namibia

In order to thrive gifted and talented students need to be given an environment of understanding of their needs and opportunities for learning at the pace and level of their capabilities.Gifted Education Awareness Week aids in building this understanding in Namibia

“This week it’s the start of a new “adventure”, with regards to discovering talents in Namibia” says Silvia van Biljon

Dandelion wishes answered!





Wish 1 Sprite: I wish that Dr Laurie Marker won’t be too sad without Chewbaaka and that the Chewbaaka Memorial fund will bring in lots of money for cheetah conservation.

The day after I posted Sprite’s dandelion wish I received this note from the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
And today there was another note bringing news of the cheetah cubs who are being trained to follow in the tracks of Chewbaaka and become the future ambassadors for the species





Wish 2 Sprite: I wish that someone would help me to clean up my room and get organized!

Sprite has been visiting Angela Esnouf’s Creating Order from Chaos website at  and Angela has promised she will write a letter to Sprite giving her some basic tips for getting organised.





Wishes 3 Sprite: I wish that Ginger Pony had a friend because it is really lonely if you don’t have a friend
and 4 Sprite: I wish that I could work out why Bea doesn’t like me. I wish someone could help me work it out!

Both these wishes were answered by a invitation in the Comments Section from Sue Weatherill of Horse Instincts


Hi Sprite,
You and Ginger pony and all your friends can
come and join Buddy and his team at Horse Instincts
during the school holidays if you like?

Buddy, Maestro and the herd help train people of all ages
in the subtle cues of body language and communication.
They are great at it. It is fun and easy to learn.
It can really help reduce your stress levels when making
friends and being around lots of people or new ones.
We hope you can come and visit.

Sue Weatherill

Dandelion wishes


Sprite was sitting on the grass with Columbus cheetah and the Dabrowski Dogs, blowing dandelion seeds into the air and making wishes.

This is the conversation I heard.

Sprite: I wish that Dr Laurie Marker won’t be too sad without Chewbaaka and that the Chewbaaka Memorial fund will bring in lots of money for cheetah conservation.
(You may remember that Sprite chose Dr Laurie Marker for her notable person to study for Night of the Notables   and she and Columbus Cheetah dressed up as Dr Laurie Marker and Chewbaaka)

Intellectual Dabrowski: There’s a link here for the Chewbaaka Memorial Fund

Sprite: I wish that someone would help me to clean up my room and get organized!

Intellectual Dabrowski: I think Jo was talking to Angela Esnouf from Creating Order from Chaos about that a little while ago. Her website is at

Sprite: I wish that Ginger Pony had a friend because it is really lonely if you don’t have a friend.
(I was not sure whether she was displaying genuine empathy and concern for a real problem Ginger Pony was suffering, expressing her own loneliness by projecting it on Ginger Pony, or whether this was a ploy to get a second real pony!)

Sprite: And I wish that I could work out why Bea doesn’t like me.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski: Don’t worry about it! There are dandelion will- o- the -wisps to chase!

Emotional Dabrowski:  It makes people feel sad and confused if they think people don’t like them and they don’t know the reason. It makes me sad too!

Intellectual Dabrowski: Let’s look at this logically. Do you have any real evidence that Bea doesn’t like you, Sprite? Has she said or done anything mean?

Sprite: No, not really… but…

Imaginational Dabrowski: Maybe it is the way she looks at Sprite. Sprite isn’t very good at understanding what people mean by their facial expressions. Maybe she thinks Bea is sneering at her but she isn’t really! Maybe Sprite is just imagining that Bea is sneering.

Sensual Dabrowski: I don’t know. I think Sprite picks up a lot of things, sort of by osmosis, from subtle cues like body language; so she can’t quite work out why she thinks Bea doesn’t like her; but she just has an overwhelming feeling that it is true.

Sprite: I wish someone could help me work it out!


“Can you help me get the things I need for dressing up as the Notable Person I choose for Night of the Notables?” asked Sprite.

Night of the Notables is an excellent program in which students research the details of the life of a person who is or was important in the field of their passionate interest. They write a biography and a bio riddle and create a learning centre display about their notable. As the finale there is an evening when the students come dressed as their notable and act in character as they show the learning centre they have created.

“Who have you chosen to research?” I asked

“Either Violet Murrell
Or Pat Smythe
Whichever one I choose I need jodhpurs, and a riding jacket, riding boots, a riding hard hat and, of course, a REAL pony!

So this was another ploy to get a REAL pony! Nice try, I thought!

Gifted kids are often like Little Lawyers and parents can be drawn into over negotiating each issue with them. Discussion and negotiation is good but too much of it is very tiring for parents and can erode rules.

“Riding gear is very expensive!” I said “But I think we would be able to borrow it from a friend. And you would not need to take a REAL pony! You could take your soft toy pony”

“If I can’t take a REAL pony I would prefer to take Columbus Cheetah and research Dr Laurie Marker from the Cheetah Conservation Fund” said Sprite.
I could make a really good learning centre about her with information about cheetahs and their conservation and genetics and Bushblok fuel logs and Anatolian and Kangal herd guarding dogs.”

“I don’t suppose you would let me take a REAL cheetah?”