In the gifted world, one of the best-known voices is that of the Columbus Group, whose members include such respected authorities as Michael Piechowski, Linda Silverman, Stephanie Tolan, Ellen Fiedler, Betty Meckstroth, and half a dozen more. Since the early 90s, this group of researchers, psychologists, educators and writers have been crusading for recognition of the fundamental nature of the gifted child. Recognising the value of nurturing talent, they have nevertheless drawn our attention to the inner world of the gifted child, to the very different emotional, imaginational and intellectual perceptions which shape these children’s exceptional abilities and responses.
In 1992, the Group formulated the now-famed asynchronous definition of giftedness, a statement which has helped thousands of teachers and parents to understand the behaviour of gifted children and the complex needs that giftedness brings with it. Since then they have continued in a myriad of ways to further develop these insights and to share them with the rest of us.
Until now, all the members of the Columbus Group have come from the US. But recently our director, Rosemary Cathcart, received a very unexpected call – an invitation to become one of the Columbus Group, recognised as one of their members. It is a rare honour, one which Rosemary acknowledges has left her deeply moved, but, she says, what matters is the further recognition of the value of the work we can do here in New Zealand, linking with our colleagues elsewhere.