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New Zealand Association for Gifted Children

GAW 2024 Opening the Door - Rosemary Cathcart

11 Jun 2024 11:59 AM | Anonymous

Opening the door…………….

Last week I happened to be present while a group of gifted eight and nine-year-olds were discussing rather a big question: is art necessary?

The debate was lively, especially round the issue of whether art could be judged by how much people were willing to pay for it. Was that an indicator of how necessary art is? The children questioned the astronomical sums that are sometimes paid: was that how its value could be judged? They could not agree. But one boy had a different thought: the value of art, he said, lies in how it makes you feel. Ultimately this became the shared answer for them all.

That led into a session where children made an art work of their own. Many and varied were the results, but I was particularly fascinated by one construction: a workable door in a frame.

Made of sheets of cardboard some five feet high, the door was cut out, hinges were made and fixed to the frame, the whole thing was painted green, and then a door handle was made and painted gold. A symbolic circle in a soft pink was painted above the door.

But what was behind the door? Where did it lead to? It was, the girls said, the Door to Life.

That apparently simple answer left me reflecting on the depth of comprehension that lay behind their careful construction – and on the value of providing opportunities for gifted children like these to explore and express such profound ideas and feelings.

There are, I know, teachers and classrooms out there which do provide such opportunities. But it is an accident of fortune for a gifted child to find themselves in such a situation.

While our teaching profession and our trainers of teachers remain so firmly convinced that this is all so unnecessary, that crucial door will continue to be firmly closed.

We as advocates must continue to fight for those children who see their own need for that open door and who try so valiantly to let us understand their need.

Author: Rosemary Cathcart became a member of the NZAGC way back in 1981, was later a national Chair, and gratefully carried everything she learned in that role into her subsequent lifetime of work in the field.

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