Free Education Online Webinars

On Thursday 21 April 2016 the Persona dolls helped to illustrate a presentation for Free Education Online Webinars. It was the first session of a two part series and the teachers who participated used the whiteboard slides and the chat text box to interact with each other to find solutions to the needs of students described in Neihart & Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

The title of the presentation was Personas, profiles and portraits of giftedness.
The recording of the session can be found at

Vanessa Crouch, the moderator also created a Padlet page to collect all the references mentioned during the presentation at


Part 2 was presented on Thursday 28 April 2016.
The second part discussed Sprite, the Twice Exceptional student, causes of underachievement, and De Bono’s 6 Action shoes.

The recording of Part 2 can be heard at
Vanessa Crouch’s Padlet for Part 2 is found at

Sources of inspiration and encouragement


From the beginning of this adventure I have been fortunate to have people who provided inspiration, information, and input of opinions, gifts of materials, encouragement and even prayer support!
The initial inspiration for the project came from the teacher who contacted me with questions about giftedness for her own Persona Doll project

My lovely friend and prayer partner Judy Murcutt joined in the adventure with great enthusiasm from the beginning. She gave me foam balls for heads and metres of quilt filler material. She even sought information about making the dolls and brought me the frame for the doll which became Edward.
At each step she has happy to listen to my stream of thought ramblings and quick to pray about any concerns.

Another lovely friend and prayer partner Elizabeth Albiston has also been a great encouragement and given wise advice and practical assistance.

When I decided to create a full set of the 6 Neihart & Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented I contacted Dr. Neihart and Dr Betts asking for permission to reference their work in this manner and received an encouraging note granting it.

I also asked for advice and opinions from several psychologist and education consultant friends.
Janette Phelan a psychologist with Uplift Centre Pty Ltd in Brisbane visited during the Summer holidays and had many suggestions for possible uses of the dolls for PD, counselling, play therapy as well as teaching empathy in early childhood education settings.
Janette warmed especially to Vince the At Risk Profile student and said there were some excellent programs for graffiti artists in Brisbane


On 3 Feb 2015 I wrote to Janette

Hi Janette

The Persona Doll project is going along well.
I have the clothes for the remaining 3 of the Betts and Neihart profiles but not the materials to make the forms yet.
Plus I now have Bearnice and the Memory Elephant.
I have set up a new blog specifically for the project at

One of the posts I will write will be about discussions/suggestions/advice/help I have received.
Would you be happy for me to include the discussion we had when you visited (especially in connection to Vince, the graffiti artist) with a contact link for you?

Kind regards, Jo

Janette replied

Happy for you to include the discussion and contact details!
And of course say I am in Brisbane.

If there’s any particular fabrics you’re looking for, let me know. 
I may have something suitable in my stash. 
Nothing came to mind when we were talking but you never know…
Good luck getting the timber!

Janette Phelan
Uplift Centre Pty Ltd   

And then there have been all the social media friends who have shared the excitement of the project especially the folk from the Creative Chaos Group on Facebook  founded by Lisa Lauffer of Artisan of Creative Miracles

Lisa Conrad of Gifted Parenting Support  and moderator of Twitter #gtchat   and Susanne Thomas of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and Building Wingspan blog were both very encouraging.
Dr Edith Johnston of How to in life was particularly helpful and we have enjoyed several discussions on Facebook.


This is a post for Lisa Rivero’s challenge to write 30 blog posts for the month of September.
To read all about her challenge see



Michaela the Creative

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag


Meet Michaela the Creative!

Michaela is a persona doll representing the Creative type of gifted student on Neihart and Betts Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

Michaela’s story

Michaela is a bright, creative, moody, nonconformist.
She loves arts and crafts, music, dance and drama.
At times she appears to be a confident, bubbling extrovert but at other times seems quite defensive.
She loves sparkles and frills.
She dances and cartwheels rather than walking sedately and some of the teachers wonder whether she has ADHD.
Michaela’s responses to assignments are usually very different from the expected responses. They reflect her creativity and unusual approach to the subject and often also express her strong opinions and her deep inner convictions. Some teachers consider her to be rebellious and have discipline problems. They can easily find themselves in a power struggle with her.
Michaela needs parents, teachers and mentors who will recognize and encourage her areas of talent and focus on her creative potential rather than achievement.
While there needs to be tolerance of her individualism she does need instruction in interpersonal skills and help with her organizational issues.
Most of all her feelings need to be respected and her original thinking needs to be encouraged

Edward the Autonomous

Originally posted on Sprite’s Site blog 4 December 2014

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

And now there are three!

My friend Judy Murcutt brought me another doll last week. Judy has been helping me to locate materials and work out methods for creating persona dolls. She asked several of her friends who are keen on craft work and has been given new leads. One of them gave Judy a doll frame which had been standing in her garden to scare away possums. She thought I would be able to take it apart and see how it had been put together and she did not want it back.

I was able to see how the doll had been put together and have repaired and clothed it and it has become Edward, a sensitive botany and animal loving gifted boy. Edward is a little professor who dresses in a rather old fashioned manner, plays the recorder and other instruments and reads classical literature. Although quiet and peace loving he is very interested in knights, Arthurian legend and life in mediaeval times. That is a leather bound copy of Ivanhoe he is clutching.
I am having a great deal of fun with these dolls and think there must be a divine purpose behind them because there have been so many amazing coincidences in the finding and making of all of them.
I am just waiting to find out where it is all leading and said jokingly that maybe I would end up with a full set of persona dolls representing Neihart and Betts Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

I am half way there.

Sprite is definitely an example of the 2E Profile.

Felicity is either an example of the Successful Profile or the Underground Profile.

And Edward is a prime example of the Autonomous Learner Profile. Edward reads voraciously and can often be seen examining plants and insects with a magnifying glass. He loves science experiments. He is happy in his own skin and pursues his own learning at his own pace in his own distinct manner. It is very appropriate that he is wearing the ‘Do what is most sensible’ Brown Brogues. He would also be comfortable in the Investigative Grey Sneakers.

So now I need to create Vincent (Vince) the At Risk Profile graffiti artist, a Creative Profile character and either a Successful Profile or  an Underground Profile character.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag