Growing smart schools

2016-09-13 06:00
From left: André Lamprecht, school principal, Jordaan Davidson, Sidney Felix, Ibrahim Lawrence and their teacher, Cheryl Staggie, pose with equipment won at the annual Growsmart inter-school literacy competition. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

From left: André Lamprecht, school principal, Jordaan Davidson, Sidney Felix, Ibrahim Lawrence and their teacher, Cheryl Staggie, pose with equipment won at the annual Growsmart inter-school literacy competition. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Lavana Primary School in Lavender Hill won the annual Growsmart interschool literacy competition last week.

The finals were held at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 3 September and the school walked away with an iSchool Africa iPad Learning Programme worth R250 000 as well as training and support for teachers for the whole year.

Three learners from the school – Sidney Felix (grade 4), Ibrahim Lawrence and Jordaan Davidson (both in grade 6) – represented the school. They won R20 000 each which will help them with school fees and many other responsibilities.

One of the teachers, Cheryl Staggie, prepared the learners for this competition and says: “We had to work after school and even on weekends just to prepare for the competitions. It was a lot of work but the dedication and commitment of the learners made it very easy. I’m glad that they came out on top, as they really worked hard,” she says.

The competition, now in its seventh year, takes the form of an expanded spelling bee with three learners in each team. The action is fast with each learner spelling words, defining them and using them in sentences. The words, as well as numeracy questions, come out of specially designed Growsmart newspapers which are distributed four times a year to every child in grades 4, 5 and 6 in the 160 participating schools.

The competition has four rounds and Staggie says her learners gained confidence with each round. “At first they were very nervous, but they improved with each round. When it came to the finals they were very confident but I think us teachers and parents were more nervous than them. They went there and did their best. This is such a proud moment for us,” she says.

The school principal, André Lamprecht, says this victory just shows that their learners are alive with possibilities and destined for greatness. “A lot of things count against them but it’s moments like these that inspire them – not only them, but other learners as well as the community as a whole. We are very happy for the iPad lab; it’s going to be a game changer at the school. We are very happy and motivated to do more for next year,” he says.

In 2009, Growthpoint Properties made the strategic decision to focus its corporate social investment projects on the major literacy crisis being experienced in South African schools. Seven years later the organisation, supported by the Western Cape Education Department, has accomplished its purpose of promoting the importance of literacy in a practical and fun way that benefits both the schools and their learners.

The two new additions to Growsmart are science and maths competitions. They run alongside the literacy competition with teams of three learners from each participating school. Learners from this school came sixth in the science competition.

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