The Gentle Approach

As a teacher you have a very important job, one of the most important aspects of being a teacher is being a good role model. The learners in your class look up to you and they watch your behavior very closely.

If the learners trust and respect you then they are more likely to behave better and more effective teaching can take place. The learners may not always like you when you are disciplining them but if you do it in a fair and kind manner they will respect you for it. If you develop a good rapport with your learners they will be more likely to listen to you and try to please you.

Many of the children who enter your class may be coming from very chaotic home circumstances and at school they are looking for a consistent and calming environment. Having an overall gentle presence in your classroom will help to alleviate stress and anxiety and lead to a happier more productive classroom.

Gentleness is a calm, reassuring approach to managing your classroom that communicates to every learner that you’re in control and they can relax and focus on their responsibilities.

Show your learners that you are a leader worth following.

Written by: Samantha Bolton – Remedial Therapist (LSU)

The woman of the last three decades… #WomensMonth

Jackie now

Jackie Gallagher founded Sparrow Schools a little over 27 years ago, out of a need expressed by a circle of friends and acquaintances for help with extra lessons and assistance for their children.  A qualified teacher, with a love for fixing things, she established the school, with the aim of helping learners reach their full potential.

Aside from her love of education and empowerment, Jackie is passionate about marketing, and networking and uses these passions to drive funding and corporate partnerships for Sparrow Schools.   She says of herself that she is a dreamer at heart, and loves to come up with crazy ideas.

She believes that the next five years will be about succession planning at Sparrow Schools, and laying the foundation for the future of this pillar in the community.  She feels strongly that the future of Sparrow Schools will depend on maintaining the collaborative approach in place at the moment, and finding a general manager that is not only passionate about the school, but also about the team involved, the learners in its care, and the community that it serves.

¨I am part of a wonderful team – made up of family, friends, teachers and other employees at Sparrow Schools and am humbled by the difference we make.¨


Staff from FNB donate stationary to support children with learning difficulties.

On Friday 11th August, Sparrow Schools were delighted to welcome two ladies from First National Bank. Their visit included a tour of the Foundation School and afterwards the FNB volunteers handed over stationary, which was generously donated by the FNB Consumer department.

The stationary, which included items such as pens, exercise books and calculators, was donated to the Learner Support Unit (LSU). Sparrow’s LSU comprises of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Remedial therapy, a Psychologist and Social Workers. This department is dedicated to supporting learners with their various social and learning difficulties and it all takes place on the school premises to support their education. The LSU plays a significant role in supporting children with learning difficulties and are always in need of more resources to help with therapy sessions.

FNB staff’s generous donation will play a vital role in assisting in the sessions the children have with the different therapists. Once again, Thank You to all the FNB staff members who donated their time and money for stationary to our Learner Support Unit at Sparrow Schools.

If you would like to support children with learning difficulties who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, please get in touch or sign up to our ‘Educate A Child Programme’.


How to make your own toys

Parents today often find it difficult to be constantly buying new toys for their little ones, as they feel their children are easily bored, and may play with toy once before discarding it. As parents, it is difficult to find a balance between keeping your child sufficiently stimulated and making sure that you are not spending too much money on toys.

“I love home made games and toys, because kids are often drawn to how unique they are and parents can continuously make new toys as your child grows and develops.”

Tools that work well for making home made toys can include toilet paper rolls, paper for discarding, polystyrene containers, plastic bottles, cans and much more.

Here are some amazing ideas for homemade toys, and they offer amazing opportunities for age-appropriate development and stimulation, yourself?utm_term=.bspwn6Mrm#.ydJ1yARrZ

Homemade toys

Written by Kate Delmont, Sparrow Foundation School Occupational Therapist.

Volunteers from Liverpool Hope University support Sparrow children

In July, Sparrow Schools were lucky to have volunteers all the way from Liverpool, England, to help support sparrow learners at the Foundation School. Sparrow Schools Educational Trust is connected to Liverpool Hope University, as a beneficiary project of the Universities’ charity ‘Global Hope’. The charity gives students and staff from Liverpool Hope University the opportunity to act as global citizens by engaging with international educational projects around the world including India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Brazil and of course, South Africa (Sparrow Schools). We hear from 2 of the staff at Liverpool Hope University to find out more about their volunteer experience, as teaching assistants, at Sparrow Schools.

Lauren Whiston

uk - lauren wh

“I think the organisation (Sparrow) is excellent – the teachers are friendly, but firm and the office works hard to bring in the funds to support children in need. It truly is an amazing project to volunteer for. The love and support that the children receive from Sparrow has touched my heart and is something I will take back with me to the UK. Sparrow is providing morals and values within the children for the future. Keep up the good work!”

Peter Angell

UK - Peter

“Sparrow is an inspiring place that is giving hope to many in South Africa. Thank you all for a wonderful experience; the staff and students made us feel so welcome and everyone is doing a wonderful job. Sparrow Schools is a fantastic organisation that is doing amazing work and I would recommend that others also come and volunteer. “

If you are from another country and would like to volunteer at Sparrow Schools to support children with learning difficulties in Johannesburg, whilst visiting South Africa, please get in touch with us:


Discipline in the school context – Tips For Parents

Discipline is a topic, which is involved in all contexts of human life and is highly important to ensure a working society. Children learn discipline from their parents, from friends as well as at school. In the school context, it is very important that a child knows exactly what everybody expects, which different rules they have to follow and what consequences will come along when they break these rules.

We as a school need to ensure that our learners learn a certain discipline and behaviour structure and that the whole teaching and therapy team follows the known procedure. If everybody sticks to these rules, it helps the learner to be orientated and to improve their discipline. The teaching and therapy team has to be a role model to show the learner a specific behaviour, such as respect, trust or reliability. Especially for remedial learners, it is imperative that they experience the above-mentioned aspects in their home environment as well.

At Sparrow, we follow a specific discipline structure to help the child settle in the school context and learn in the best possible environment. Rules like no bullying, respect each other and each other’s things are basic rules. If a learner does not stick to these agreements there will be disciplinary consequences. It is important that we follow a certain routine and the consequences are followed through. Learners respond most successfully when they experience strict rules at home too.

To improve the disciplinary routine at home it might be helpful to introduce the following steps at home:

  • Reinforce your child positively. That means if your child does something good or behaved very well when he/she normally does not reinforce with positive consequences.
  • Develop a reward system. You know your child best to find the right reward. It might be an hour of some mommy time, a chocolate or stickers. Create the system together with your child and remind them from time to time, it helps them to stick to it.
  • If your child misbehaves follow a warning system. Give out two warnings, if the child does not react and you have to give the third warning, give a consequence. It is important to follow this consequence through. Consequences might be more responsibilities/chores like washing the dishes, cleaning the living room etc. or take away a positive thing e.g. watching TV.
  • Give you and your child a “time out” if necessary. Sometimes a situation gets overwhelming, and it helps everybody to calm down.
  • Specify between levels of severity. Not every behaviour or reaction should get rewarded or punished the same. Find different consequences for different levels of behaviour.
  • Give your child a say. Children have something to say as well and it is important to let them participate. They have to stick to these rules and consequences. It makes it easier for them if they were part of the creation.

These aspects are just some ideas of how you as a parent can improve discipline at home. It might be successful for your child to combine some of these ideas. Play with them and find your way. After all, it is important to try and to be patient, it is definitely worth it.

Words by Judith Zacharias, German volunteer Social Worker at the Sparrow Foundation School.

Donate Sanitary Pads To A Child In Need

It’s that time … #WomensMonth 

Womens month campaign

Sparrow Schools Educational trust is running a Women’s Month Campaign for the month of August, to help our girls with the care they need.

We are asking for any donations towards tampons, sanitary pads or any other ladies products that can assist our girls when it’s that time of the month.

If you’re interested please call us on (011) 482-1015.