January 29, 2009

January 04, 2009

The general objects - are to provide an education adapted to the years, the capacity, and the condition of everyone, and directed to their freedom and happiness - We hope to avail the state of those talents which nature has sown as liberally among the poor as the rich, but which perish without use, if not sought for and cultivated.
~Thomas Jefferson - Notes on Virginia

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you and your families!
Gifted in France is now a non-profit association under the loi 1901.
It was almost two years ago when we held our first meeting to extend support to parents of gifted and talented children. Since then numerous gatherings have taken place to inform parents, and educators on the social, emotional and educational needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. We have also organized several activities for children, including our first annual Paris Spelling Bee last June and the on-going science project.We have a blog and we're still planning to create a website. In the New Year we will look, within our circle as well as outside, for financial, educational and moral support so that we can achieve the projects already set in motion, and others that are in the works. We are also currently in the process of attending to the formalities of our new status as an 'association.' This means preparing registration and membership dues, and seeking grants and donations. We will have more information on this in the coming weeks. There is no doubt that the main reason we have come this far is due to your response to the meetings, newsletters and support you've received from having met other parents with common interests. Thank you for sharing your stories, expressing your concerns and sending in your feedback from time to time.

Because we are a parent-to-parent support group, our ability to help is always going to be limited. It's through friendship and commitment we extend to one another, and by learning, on a continuous basis, about the complexities of raising and educating gifted kids, that we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of our children. Many of us are expatriates and live far away from extended family members. It's all the more important for us to find like-minded parents with similar challenges so that we can exchange ideas and have good role models during those difficult periods when we run into sticky situations with teachers and administrators or when we don't understand the professionals who don't understand our children, or when we can't figure these kids out for ourselves. The conflicting voices, within us, of when to intervene or when to 'let it be' can be overwhelming. Personally, these are the times when parents from GiF have been most helpful to me. A final important note I want to share with you is the limited number of people who have been available to help up to this point. This is probably due to my lack of 'outreach' on a regular basis. But, now it's going to make all the difference in the direction we take considering the events we are looking forward to hosting this year and the impact we wish to make as one of the first Anglophone associations for gifted and talented children in France.

Please consider giving your time to GiF this term. We need parents who are interested in playing an important role in our association, heading or helping, even minimally, with upcoming projects. We need your organizational and computer skills, and we need your contacts for companies and foundations who might be interested in helping GiF financially. If you would like to share your expertise with children or have contacts who might be interested in giving engaging presentations, especially relating to the upcoming Science Day, we would be grateful for that as well. In the meantime, please read the following upcoming activities and meetings for children and parents and respond to the indicated RSVP deadlines.


World War II Soldiers and Technology and Inventions-- Sunday January 18, 2009, 14h-17h30, for ages 8-13 During WWII, soldiers learned to live with very little, and they were often out of contact with others. They had no iPods or cell phones, but they were able to make good substitutes! GiF dad Pablo Martinez Diaz, whose hobby is to "restore antique technology and furniture http://www.rusted.free.fr/ " is going to talk about what these soldiers did to stay in contact and survive. Afterwards, Pablo will teach children how to build one of these technological devices. We can take about 8-10 children. Cost 10€ per child. Must RSVP by January 8, Subject: World War II Technology and Inventions.

Living With Radiation: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Saturday January 31, 2009, 14h30-17h30 prox. for ages 11-14. Discussion will be led by yet another 'cool' dad Ted Lazo who is a Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Protection Specialist: "Radiation is all around us - from the cosmos, from the earth, from our own bodies - and has been since the dawn of the universe. But just because something is "natural" does not necessarily mean that it is "safe". Radiation is also man-made - coming from sources like atomic bombs and nuclear power plants, but also from things like hospital x-ray machines and CT scanners. It turns out that radiation can do good things - like cure cancer, show pictures of broken bones and damaged organs - and bad things - like cause cancer and genetic diseases. So this talk will describe what is radiation, where does it come from, what can it do, how we can detect it, and how we can use it but protect ourselves from it at the same time! And it turns out that radiation comes in different energies. At high energy you get things like x-rays. At low energy you get things like visible light, radio-waves and portable telephone signals. So the talk will also give an idea about how protection fits into all these kinds of radiation. A little "hands-on" discussion of radiation detection will also be included." Cost: 10€ per child. Must RSVP by January 17, space limited, Subject: Radiation with Ted.

(please note that all money collected will go directly to the association to cover related costs and for future projects)

UPDATE ON: SCIENCE AND INVENTION DAY, tentatively scheduled for Saturday May 16th and THE 2009 PARIS SPELLING BEE, tentatively scheduled for June 6th: If we want to make these events happen, I'm going to need help from parents. This is our first attempt at "The Science Day" and we are encouraging children to display their work through something they've built, tested, or a scientific concept they wish to exhibit through art, music or dance. We have already begun a small group of 'budding investigators' with GiF volunteer Karen Kyker, and these 9 children have been meeting once a month since October. The World War II and the Radiation activities, mentioned above, are also expected to feed into the Science Day. As for the Spelling Bee, we will limit participants to 30 children, age 7-13, with two-groups (7-9 year-olds and the 10-13 year-olds). Last year, leading up to the final event, we organized five meetings where children watched spelling bee documentaries, movies, played Scrabble and other games. There were 20 children that partook in those gatherings, and 18 participated in the final June event held at the American Library in Paris. This year, because of the Science Day, we will not have as many preliminary bee meetings. Once again, your help as a volunteer is crucial in making this year’s bee accessible to the talented spellers out there

GiF Volunteer Coffee HourThursday morning January 8, 09h30-11h30Thursday morning January 15, 09h30-11h30 Please come for a cup of coffee, croissant and help brainstorm, and plan for the association's upcoming activities. Take your pick on the events that are of most interest to you and your children. Please RSVP asap if you can come. If you can't make it to these meetings, let me know your availability including during evenings or weekend mornings.

HELPING YOUR CHILD REACH HIS/HER POTENTIAL INTO ADOLESCENCE AND BEYOND Thursday January 22, 19h30-22h00 (Rescheduled from December 12th)Guest Speaker: Pilar Rincon, she's a psychologist specializing in Cognitive Development. Can we prevent or minimize underachievement, low-self esteem, perfectionism...? How can we help children maintain their desire to learn; their ability to develop talents and interests from childhood into adolescence and adulthood? We will also look at characteristics of adults who have developed or 'lost' their potential, and factors involved. Please see Mrs. Rincon's outline, which is attached and in French. Her presentation will be in English. Mrs. Rincon is originally from Colombia. As always, dads are immensely encouraged to attend.RSVP by January 11th, Subject: Rincon's Presentation. Space is limited.
(Please note that guest speakers are invited by GiF to educate and inform parents. If the need arises, it's up to you to choose professionals according to your circumstances. In trying to build a database of professionals for our members, GiF welcomes feedback from parents. More than ever, we need to share our resources.)

Gifted in France is now officially a non-profit association under the loi 1901. Friday January 30th, 19h30-23h00Must RSVP by January 21st. Subject: Potluck to Toast!As always, dads are immensely encouraged to attend!!Keep it low stress, pick up something on the way from your favorite grocery store, boulangerie, pâtisserie

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GIFTED? If you are new to the group and want to know more about giftedness, we encourage you to learn the basics, come watch our educational. If there's enough interest, I can schedule the next oneon Tuesday morning February 3rd 09h30-12h00, please email me by January 17th. If you are not free in the mornings, please email me with your available times. DVDs are: IS MY CHILD GIFTED? IF SO, WHAT CAN I EXPECT? (45 mins) DO GIFTED CHILDREN NEED SPECIAL HELP (40 mins)

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more from you in the coming weeks and months. Thank you, again, very, very much for your support and friendship.

Kind regards,

Helen Sahin Connelly
Common Gifted Education Myths

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