Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Grooming female scientists and engineers of the future

Girls in science classroom
Parktown Girls
Stories about inspiring women and girls are always great to share! We got an email about Parktown Girls who are grooming female scientists and engineers. We have a Miss that only has a few years (3 years eeek!) before she also has to decide what direction she is going to go with regards her career and her subjects. How do we prepare girls like her to choose a career in STEM?

South Africa is in desperate need of qualified scientists and engineers. Compounding this, only 11% of engineers globally are female according to an article published by UNESCO in October 2017.  This is a worldwide phenomenon, despite a rising global demand for qualified science, technology, engineering and, maths (STEM) professionals.
Tracey Megom, Principal at Parktown High School for Girls, says the idea for a Science Centre was born 15 years ago, but the school initially struggled to come up with the money to build it, so parents started fundraising and looking for partners. Anglo American helped them with their dream by a multi-million Rand investment that is already impacting this skills gap.
Following Anglo American’s contribution, the construction of two conjoined laboratory and classroom facilities for life sciences, physics and chemistry began in 2015 and the science centre was opened in late 2016 to the school’s 1 100 pupils. Its effect was almost immediate: 30% more Grade 9 girls chose the sciences as matric subjects.

Parktown High School for Girls is a government high school in Johannesburg that serves a diverse grouping of girls across class, race, and culture, and happens to be one of Gauteng’s province top-performing schools. It boasts a consistent 100% matric pass rate and achieved a 97% Bachelor Degree entrance rate in the 2017 matric results.  The school has been acknowledged by the University of the Witwatersrand as its top feeder school.

Tracy Megom answers a few questions, about herself and how to inspire young girls.

Monday, 19 February 2018

LIfe is a choice, not an excuse

Notes in notebook, with coffee in background and Stabilo Boss highlighters
Study course notes
We signed up for a study course, and this past weekend was the weekend that we could fit it in. Grade 4 is a culture shock! More for the parents than the kids, it seems! :-) The extra subjects, tests, exams and projects are a lot more than the previous grades. The parents need to help manage, AND time manage, AND help the kids to learn.

We are so glad we signed up for this! We got a couple of telephone numbers to phone from the Grade 3 teachers last year, and the lady who phoned me back is from a Tina Cowley Reading Centre. The course was from a Friday afternoon, followed up by the Saturday afternoon. It was more than a good six hours of learning how to learn.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Grade 4 is a culture shock, but mostly for the Mom

Girl looking through binoculars
Grade four is a total different ball game here! The children start changing between classes and they start writing tests and exams. The pace is also much faster than the previous grades. Miss Fine has been taking it all in her stride, but we (the parents) feel a little bit overwhelmed.

We have to make sure that we are abreast of her calendar and her homework, A standard request each day is to immediately take out her homework book so that we could check if there is something new. I am writing this down for future reference. We feel like we are doing grade four for the first time, but our grade four, way back when, surely did not involve as much as this? Even 15 years ago with the eldest it was not so tough!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Breather away at Dikhololo

Dikhololo sign board at the entrance
Arrival on Friday at Dikholo Nature Reserve, near Brits
We had a good rest at Dikhololo, a second year in a row. We are very blessed to be able to celebrate my Dad's birthday away in the Bush!

We complain about the eleven kilometers of bad dirt road we have to get there, and we even said this year was the last! But thinking back about the weekend, I have a rubber arm! I would be there in a flash if I get the chance. A weekend away is a great way to breath. I have been spamming my Instagram feeds. Sorry! Not sorry!

It was great to get away from the year that has started with a bang!

A post shared by Karen Du Toit (@karentoittoit) on

Thursday, 1 February 2018

World Read Aloud Day - Every Day

Girl searching for story books on library shelves
Girl searching for a story book on the library shelves #WRAD2018
This day needs a shout-out! World Read Aloud Day! It should not be the only day that we read aloud, but it is always good to get a formal reminder each year that we should read aloud to our children. They should also read aloud to us!

The Read Educational Trust, a NGO, and Nalibali are doing great work in South Africa with regards reading, and Read Aloud Day today!