We hear from Minke Molenaar, a social worker from the Netherlands who has been
volunteering at Sparrow Foundation School to support the grade 7s with Social
Development Class. Minke specialises in counselling families with children who have
developmental, learning and behaviour problems.

“Last year, I started at Sparrow School delivering Social Skills Workshops with grade
6. This developed into a ‘social development programme’ for all students in grade 7,
with a focus on social, and executive skills. Social skills are the skills people use in
contact with others, in contrast, executive skills are the skills that help people to get
things done; both are important skills that enable Sparrow students to succeed in
learning tasks and social life.


Last term the learners worked on topics such as:
Expressing emotions,
Problem solving and planning.

“My focus in working with the students is to create a positive environment and offer
them opportunities to succeed based on their needs and where they are at now. In
class, we work in small groups to give the students the opportunity to express
themselves, have group discussions and work together as a team during fun,
interactive, hands-on activities. “

“For example, ‘The Marshmallow challenge’ was an activity, where the students had
to show their planning, problem solving and teamwork skills by build a tower, using
only 20 sticks of spaghetti, one piece of string, one piece of tape and two
marshmallows. This was a challenging, but fun activity for the learners!’

“As grade 7 learners are nearing to the end of their time at the Foundation School,
we are focusing this term on planning, organizational skills, time management and
learning skills to prepare the students for their transition to the next school level.”

Thank you Minke for all your great work at Sparrow!

If you would like to volunteer at Sparrow, then we would love to hear from you. We
have lots of volunteer opportunities from Practical one day projects to reading once a
week with our learners to support literacy at Sparrow. Email sparrow@mweb.co.za to find out

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