Sparrow Schools joins third industrial revolution

Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing is taking the world by storm and Sparrow Schools is joining the revolution. With just a click of a button, you can turn a digital file into an actual physical 3D part object. Many manufacturing industries have also joined the wave. According to a Wohlers Report 2014, the 3D printing industry is expected to grow and exceed the $21B mark in worldwide revenue by 2020.

3D

After being approached by two University of Cape Town students who started a programme called 3D for Schools, the Sparrow Foundation School is looking to integrate 3D printing into the school’s maths, science and technology curriculum.  For instance in the mathematics subject, while learners are taught about shapes, through 3D printing, they will be able to physically develop the shapes, giving them a better grasp of volume, height and width.

3D print

Furthermore, 3D printing will take its remedial intervention plans to a whole new level, particularly for autistic learners. It has been found that autistic children learn differently from their peers.  They have difficulty visualising concepts and relating to stories or pictures on a page.

The Foundation Schools’ autistic learners were tasked with designing floor plans for their dream houses. They failed when they drew on paper but thanks to 3D printing, they successfully completed the floor plans in 2 days after using Sketchup (3D modelling computer programme). People with autism are visually gifted, they think in pictures. In this sense, 3D printing is one of the tools that can help them express their ideas and creativity.

3D printer

The 3D printing programme also aims to inspire and trigger thoughts in young minds. It seeks to keep them up-to-date with the third industrial revolution, driven by additive manufacturing (3D printing).  The programme will also instill the spirit of entrepreneurship in learners from an early age considering that the industry is going mainstream. “We are already starting to see businesses, both large and small, take advantage of 3D printers to create customized designs or follow blueprints. The real appeal lies in speedy prototyping and increased accessibility,” says Chris Elsworthy, CEO of CEL, the makers of the Robox 3D printer.


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Investing in Early Childhood Development

On 20 November 2014, the Sparrow FET College in partnership with Brainwave Careers officially launched the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program for those who want to enter the field of Education, Training and Development, specifically within the sub-field of Early Childhood Development. The aim of the programme is to formally recognise those who are already practicing in this field but do not have any formal recognition.

ECD candidates doing a class activity
ECD candidates doing a class activity

The program further aims to “develop the appropriate skills and knowledge required by a person for the establishment and development of a small to medium business venture, and addresses the economic, administrative and behavioral (psycho-social)barriers that contribute to success in starting and sustaining the venture.” After the success of the first intake, the program has had some notable successes.

Starting with only 3 children in January 2015, Millicent Boa, a former ECD candidate, opened a day care which now caters for 25 children in her hometown, Glenridge, Soweto.  Boa attributes much of her success to the ECD programme, “The ECD programme taught me a lot about children and how to handle them with care. I learnt that there are four things which are very crucial in a child’s development. These are, ‘patience, nutrition, self-esteem and the parents’ involvement.”

Boa at her day care
Boa at her day care

Being just eight months old there is increasing demand for Boa’s day care in the community. She started the day care in her mother’s house, running it with both her sister and mother.  Due to the high demand for her services and her mother’s house getting smaller to house all 25 of the children, construction has already started at the backyard of her mother’s house where she will accommodate more children. We spoke to one parent who sings high praises of the day care. “I can really see the difference between this crèche and the last one that my son attended. I can see it in his behavior when he comes back from crèche, he is happier and can tell me about his experiences from crèche, that never used to happen,” says parent, Carol Phakathi.

Carol Phakathi with her son, Siyabonga Phakathi.
Carol Phakathi with her son, Siyabonga Phakathi.

After the success of the first intake of the programme ran by the Sparrow FET College and Brainwaves, the College has recruited a sought after facilitator in Tessa Wolfaardt to facilitate the second intake. Starting off as a primary school teacher, Wolfaardt has over 15 years’ experience in the industry. She penned one of the first ever ECD manuals in the country.

After taking a break to go and pursue other ambitions, Woldfaardt got back into the ECD field due to a high demand of her experience by different institutions. Her mission now is to pass on her wealth of experience to those coming after her through the ECD programme at the FET College. “I want these learners to walk away from this programme having developed in every aspect of their lives. That will lead to them passing that on to the children they will care for. South Africa is lacking behind, early childhood development is extremely beneficial for children in need of proper care,” Wolfaardt explains.

Lydia Munyai
Lydia Munyai

Lydia Munyai, 39, is one of the candidates in the current programme. Munyai who is a mother herself, joined the programme after losing her job and sitting at home unemployed for months. “I joined the programme because i’m planning my own creche. When I first started in the programme I took childcare for granted. I have children of my own and I always thought that raising children was just about the security. Because of this progamme I now know that there is more to it, there’s a lot to consider about a child’s developmental process,” Munyai says.

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Meet the Sparrow Choir

In November this year, the Sparrow Combined School Choir will embark on a tour of the United Kingdom. The tour will be a huge cultural and social experience for the learners. Many of them will have never traveled outside their hometowns and will have had no idea of the real meaning of an English winter. Meet one half of the choir members:

Kamo Lephallo

Kamo Lephallo

Age: 16

Born: Orlando West, Soweto

Voice type: Soprano

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: I’m kind and friendly with people. Basically, what you see is what you get.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: In my spare time, I play computer games and chess. I really like playing brain games

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself as an actor or musician. If I go into the acting field, I would like to be an actor on Isidingo (popular South African telenovela). If I go into the music industry, I would rap.

Q: What does the Mandela spirit mean to you?

A: From what I have been told and read, he was a well-known, respected man that did a lot of good deeds for our country.

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?

A: I would help the poor by providing disadvantaged children with free basic education and jobs for their parents.

Kelebogile Peele

kele peele

 Age: 18

Born: Molapo extension, Soweto.

Voice type: Soprano

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: I am quiet and shy in nature that is why I have a small circle of 4 friends. I usually speak when spoken to.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I cook and occasionally sing old school RNB music the likes of Mariah Carey and Tamia.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself opening my own restaurant in Sandton (Johannesburg) because I am passionate about cooking.

Q: What does the Mandela spirit mean to you?

A: It means Ubuntu and working as one as well as equal rights for all citizens.

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?

A: I would help street kids with shelters to accommodate them. I would also set up programmes to help them achieve their life goals

Noma Ngamlana

Nomathamsanqa Ngamlana

Age: 15

Grade: 9

Born: Mofolo, Soweto

Voice type: Alto

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: I am a shy person. I am short-tempered and I love my family.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I read books when I have nothing to do so far I have read High School Musical.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself studying BA Tourism Management at the University of Johannesburg

Q: What does the Mandela spirit mean to you?

A: It means fighting for people’s rights even though it personally affects you.

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?

A: I would build homes and hospitals for poor people.

Sanele Nkabinde

Sanele Nkabinde

Age: 14

Grade:  8

Born: Diepkloof, Soweto

Voice type:  Soprano

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: I love singing because it makes me happy. I do not like greedy people.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: If I’m not singing, I am probably reading a book like Charlie and the chocolate factory, and Silver Book.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself as an English or Isizulu teacher. If I choose to go into singing, I will sing gospel songs like Rebecca Malope and Hlengiwe Mhlaba.

Q: What does the Mandela spirit mean to you?

A: It means an act of heroism whereby a man went to prison for 27 years in the fight for equal rights.      

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?

A: I would reduce crime in South Africa by deploying more police onto the streets.

Karabo Khupe

Kari Khupe

Age: 15

Grade: ASP 3

Home: Parktown, Johannesburg

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: I’m a kind person that loves joking around. I also play sports namely netball and hockey.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: When I have nothing serious to do, I go to the gym or simply unwind at the mall with my friends.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself as a successful hockey player for the South African national team.

Q: What does the Mandela spirit mean to you?

A: It means freedom, and equal rights and responsibilities for all.

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?

A: I would reduce crime in South Africa by creating employment.

Tumelo Vilakazi

Tumelo Vilakzi

Age: 16

Grade:  ASP 1

Home:  Fourways, Johannesburg.

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: I like singing a lot. I do not like cats because I have asthma. I attend church on Sundays and I like travelling.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I chill with friends and teach them how to sing. I also sketch fashion designs because I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself working for a sewing company so that I can learn how to start my own fashion company, if not, I see myself singing on Idols South Africa or being a choir mistress like Mrs. Badesile Gaobepe (Choir Mistress).

Q: What does the Mandela spirit mean to you?

A: Simply means to help people that cannot help themselves and spread peace.

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?

A: I would buy houses for poor people and I would reduce the price of bread, milk, toiletries and other essentials.

The tour will help expand links with Sparrow among a number of UK schools, some of whom have organised exchange tours of their own including Tudor Hall School for Girls and Westminster Under School. The aim is to expand knowledge of Sparrow to new audiences, as well as among existing supporters. Click here for the tour itinerary.

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