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C a p e

To w n ’ s

b e s t

g u i d e

f o r

pa r e n t s

science experiments your child can do at home


of the new curriculum

reading to learn

the fourth-grade challenge

August 2011


a pain in the back

is your child’s school bag too heavy?

education beyond the classroom 21 exciting school outings




Hunter House PUB L IS H ING

I love a good book. My dad, however, was more of a newspaper kind of guy.

Publisher Lisa Mc Namara •

Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • Features Editor Anél Lewis • Resource Editor Lucille Kemp • Copy Editor Debbie Hathway

Art Designers Nikki-leigh Piper • Alys Suter • Samantha Summerfield •

Advertising Director Lisa Mc Namara •

Client Relations Taryn Copeman • PUBLISHER’S PHOTOGRAPH: Brooke Fasani

Lisa Waterloo •

So, to compromise, I bought him a copy of Professor Jonathan Jansen’s book, We Need to Talk, for Father’s Day. Hughie (as we fondly refer to my dad) was a big fan of the man, but as a subscriber to the Pretoria News and not The Times, he had to rely on a friend who would carefully cut out every one of his columns and hand deliver them to him. Being in the final stages of lung and brain cancer, it sometimes took my dad half a day to read each perfectly penned piece. The chemo had eroded his sight and the cancer his motor control, but he read them as he lived his life – with stubborn determination and a sense of humour. Each column provided a proverbial ray of light in his final months, because he shared Professor Jansen’s sense of black and white, wrong and right and his distaste for racism or discrimination of any kind. He was open to new ideas, but steadfast in his principles, with a firm belief in honesty, integrity, humility and hard work – qualities he shared with Prof Jansen. Sadly, my dad died last month, and so the book was left to me to read. I thought it fitting to quote from it this month, especially

as Prof Jansen addresses us, parents, about the need to inspire our children to embrace learning. “It is the simple things that parents do between tests and examinations, like the marvel they express when observing a loaded plane lift off the runway, the questions they pose about a scientific discovery, the joy they demonstrate when recalling a favourite poem, and the delight they exude when solving a problem. For parents to inspire children to learn, they need not be highly schooled themselves. All they need is to enjoy learning themselves.” In this high-tech, dynamic and competitive world in which we raise our children, it is certainly the simple things that count. Thanks Hughie, for the simple things you did that lead me to love learning so much. I learnt by example… yours.

If you love the magazine, you’ll love our website. Visit us at

To Subscribe Helen Xavier •

Cape Town’s Child magazineTM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: Unit 7, Canterbury Studios, cnr


Wesley and Canterbury Streets, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel: 021 465 6093, fax:

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August 2011



august 2011 32 the big day how do you know if your child is school-ready? Donna Cobban goes looking for the answers 38 room to grow


Christina Castle’s son has immigrated – to his own bedroom

health 9

spot(s) of trouble

Tamlyn Vincent finds out what to do when your baby has thrush


10 a heavy burden


a note from lisa

6 over to you


readers respond

7 wins

8 reader’s blog  Lucille Blignaut shares how donated breast milk saved her son’s life

12 dealing with difference

14 back to basics  ichelle Jones explains Action Plan M 2014 and the new school curriculum

18 so in love with science

11 upfront with paul  Paul Kerton reminisces the death of a family pet


your child’s school bag may cause injury, warns Gillian Hurst

Robyn Goss gives you fun projects your children can do at home

 new research into the causes of ADHD suggests alternative treatment options. By Donna Cobban 34 resource – beyond the classroom  Lucille Kemp compiled a list of extraordinary school outings

20 survive the fourth-grade slump

39 a good read

 your child will need extra support when reading turns to reading to learn. By Caroline van der Mescht

41 what’s on in august

24 to board or not to board

54 last laugh

Lucille Kemp poses the boarding school question to a few parents

 Sam Wilson suffered from sleep deprivation when her children were small. Now she’s catching up

26 what is your child’s style?

new books for the whole family

help your child by understanding how they learn. By Anél Lewis

classified ads

30 banish boring lunch boxes

48 family marketplace

51 let’s party

Margaret Barca gives you recipe ideas to replace the boring sarmie

this month’s cover images are supplied by:


August 2011


Cape Town


SAHETI School Photographer: Shireen Arbuthnot

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magazine cape town

August 2011



over to you apology Child magazine apologises unreservedly for the publication of the back page image in the July issue. The image was mistakenly placed during the production process, and is not in keeping with Child magazine’s strict editorial policy regarding the use of children in photographs. We regret any offence it may have caused.

good old-fashioned family time I enjoyed the July publisher’s note where Lisa Mc Namara refers to playing games with her children – something so many of us forget to do. My own two children love, more than anything, sitting as a family, playing games. Our favourites are Uno, which we’ve played since my daughter was three, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Hit the Hat. Winter holidays are the perfect time to haul out the puzzles and Lego. Activity sheets and colouring-in pages are downloaded and we also swap games with friends for something different. Playing with your children is so rewarding. It’s often while playing with mine that they tell or show me the most of what is happening in their world. Candice Freeman

make the right choice for your child When my son was at school in a small town, he was confident, polite and friendly. The school had a personal touch and parents had regular contact with teachers. In Grade 2, he was diagnosed with ADHD and was put on Ritalin. He later said it made him feel “not himself” and he stopped taking it. He coped just fine, but not as well as with the Ritalin. We then relocated to the city and it was a huge adjustment going to a bigger school. He complained about problems at school, but I dismissed his stories of victimisation as “attention-seeking”. Then an incident in Grade 5 made me look for an alternative school. I found a “home school” type of private school that also works with the mainstream school syllabus. It has a familyorientated environment where values and respect, not just learning, form part of the education. My now


August 2011

it’s not just “cheers!” In response to Claire Douglas’s letter (July 2011) – society tends to disregard the fact that alcohol is a drug that acts on the nervous system, causing a change in behaviour. Sugar also causes behavioural changes but unlike alcohol, sugar is not the number one cause of death in our society. Just look at the number of drunk drivers on our roads. Our full rehabilitation facilities attest to our inability to raise responsible consumers of alcohol. In my 15 years as a teacher, I have dealt with numerous adolescents who overindulged in alcohol. They mostly come from households where parents drink freely and they encourage their children to have the “odd sip”. I have been unfortunate to know teenagers who have been killed and maimed because of alcohol. Interestingly enough, these children all fall into the category Claire calls “middle income children”. It should be noted that one doesn’t need to be classified as an alcoholic or an addict to be able to injure yourself, or someone else, in a drug-induced state. Claire quite rightly cites sugar overindulgence as a cause of behavioural problems and body issues. However, society is far too glib about indulgence in its cousin – alcohol. I’d rather offer my children a piece of chocolate than a sip of wine or beer. Michelle According to a Unisa study for Rape Wise more than 40 percent of people who begin drinking before the age of 13 stand a good chance of becoming dependent. It is illegal to give or supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, or to allow them to drink alcohol. To get help, contact Alcoholics Anonymous on 0861 435 722 or Al-Anon (for families of alcoholics) on 0861 252 666.

teenage son is independent and confident. I have my “real” son back. My message to parents is to find an alternative before it becomes a necessity, and before your child suffers psychological damage. If your gut tells you your child is unhappy, listen to it. Kerry Cooper My son didn’t eat breakfast for four years and homework was a daily struggle. Educational psychologists’ reports showed he had above average abilities, but he wasn’t thriving. Instead, he was anxious about going to school, thought he was stupid and his self-confidence was being eroded. We had years of therapy, in consultation with the school, before we decided to look for alternatives. We went for a trial at a Synergy School, and there we stayed. Our son is doing fantastically well: he’s happy to go to school and most importantly he’s believing in himself again. He has finally emerged from the defensive shield he was hiding behind in the one-size-fits-all,

mainstream school environment. My son’s gone from saying, “I can’t!” to “Hey, (maybe) I can.” Sue Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

write to us You can also post a comment online at

Let us know what’s on your mind. Send your letters to: marina @ or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010.




right to edit and shorten submitted letters. The opinions reflected here are those of our readers and are not necessarily held by Hunter House Publishing.

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giveaways in august artyfacts

princess for a day

The Deluxe Pottery Set is a genuine electric pottery wheel that comes with a variety of tools to position and sculpt the clay. Your child can decorate their creations with the colourful paints, mosaics and glass pieces, which are included. For more info contact: 021 945 3881 or We have three Deluxe Pottery Sets valued at R680 each to give away. Simply email us or post your personal details and mark your entry as “Alex CT Win”.

Accessorize and Monsoon children’s wear, international brands from London, launch their summer 2011 range. It’s a feminine, vintage collection of 50s style dresses, ruffles, bows, lace, kimono-sleeve tops, charm jewellery, handcrafted sandals and floral hair accessories. For more info, contact 021 447 7718 or We have one Monsoon party dress to give away valued at R699. Email your personal details to and mark your entry as “Child Mag CT Win”.

toying with development Ideal Cycle & Toy Wholesalers stocks a range of creatively educational and affordable toys. For more about their products, contact: or visit Up for grabs is one hamper, which includes Ideal Toy exclusive brands such as Math Bingo by Orda, Colour Code by Smart Games and Metaforms by Fox Mind. Simply email us or post your personal details and mark your entry as “Ideal Toy CT Win”.

well and on their way Cipla Medpro gives you Airmune Junior, the tasty and all-natural immune system supporter for little ones. It contains 17 active ingredients, which will help keep colds at bay. For more information contact: 021 917 5620 or visit You could win a Nintendo DS Lite valued at R2 000, while two readers will win an Airmune pack. Simply email us or post your personal details and mark your entry as “Cipla CT Win”.

Unless it is otherwise stated, emailed entries go to and postal entries go to PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Only one entry per reader is allowed and entries must be received by 31 August 2011.

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congratulations to our June winners Carmel van Niekerk who wins in the Supernannies giveaway and Deryn Hall who wins in the Fatsak giveaway.

August 2011



a miracle of milk Donated breast milk can give an at-risk baby a strong start

the very place I had been working as a registered midwife and nursing sister for many years. This time, however, I was the mother of a premature baby and not the ICU-trained sister. Everything seemed so different. Knowing all the possible complications and everything that could go wrong made things extremely stressful and emotional, which affected my ability to produce breast milk for my son.

expressed help As both a mother and a nursing sister to premature and sick babies, I urge breast-feeding mothers to donate some of their breast milk (especially if you

I knew how important breast milk was and tried several medications to encourage lactation, but only produced small amounts of milk, which were not nearly enough for Ashton. I knew I didn’t want him to have formula; premature babies who have been given formula have a much higher risk of getting a debilitating, and potentially life-threatening, illness called necrotising enterocolitis, which causes the immature gut to go gangrenous. Providing prem babies with breast milk is the single most effective way of preventing these complications. Fortunately donor breast

milk was available and Ashton was given the start he deserved. I am so glad I had access to donor breast milk. Ashton was ready to be discharged when he was six weeks old – he weighed 1 650g and was beautiful and healthy. Ashton is now five years old and is a typical boy of his age. When I look at him I see a miracle of milk, love and prayers. I will forever be indebted and thankful to all the mothers who donated breast milk to my son.

have plenty… just donating 50ml a day can make a huge difference). Your milk gives these small babies hope and a better chance at life. For more information on donating your breast milk, contact Milk Matters: 021 659 5599/082 895 8004, or visit


August 2011

Readers, this is your column – it’s a space to air your views, share a valuable parenting lesson, vent your frustrations or celebrate your joys. Send your writing to

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PHOTOGRAPH: Louise Goosen


n 25 November 2005, my son Ashton was delivered by emergency Caesarean section. I was just six months and four days pregnant. Both our lives were in danger as I had developed severe pregnancyrelated high blood pressure. Ashton weighed just 990 grams. Ashton was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital’s neonatal intensive unit,

in life, says LUCILLE BLIGNAUT, mom to prem baby Ashton.


spot(s) of trouble TAMLYN VINCENT finds out why babies get thrush, and how to treat it.



our baby has white spots on the inside of her mouth, or white stuff on her tongue. It may, at first, look like milk residue, but if it doesn’t budge when you try to rub it off, it could be thrush. Sister Desiree du Plessis of Cape Town says thrush in babies is “absolutely harmless”. They get thrush “when there is an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth,” says Durban-based registered nurse and midwife Sister Linda Glasson, and it usually occurs when they are younger than 10 to 12 weeks. Babies, and everyone else for that matter, have small amounts of yeast in their mouths already, but an imbalance of this can cause thrush. Although harmless, in some cases “it can make the mouth a little sore” says Glasson, which may make it difficult for a baby to drink. If thrush is left untreated, it can also pass down into the gastrointestinal tract, says Du Plessis. If this happens, your baby may develop thrush on her bottom.

signs and symptoms Thrush is generally not caused by poor hygiene, says Glasson, and there is also no clear cause for the infection. Taking a course of antibiotics can affect the amount of bacteria in the body, which might cause a yeast imbalance.

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Also, bottles or dummies that aren’t properly sterilised may cause bacteria to grow, says Du Plessis. Look out for a few telltale signs if you think your little one has thrush. “The spots look like milk curds on the inside of a baby’s mouth, and they don’t come away when wiped,” says Glasson. If the spots do come away, they may leave a red mark and can even bleed. If your baby has a nappy rash as well, look for satellite blisters, or red spots that stand out from the rest of the rash, which will indicate thrush.

treatment As yeast is a fungus, your doctor or clinic would usually prescribe an anti-fungal gel or cream. An oral gel can be applied to the baby’s mouth, recommends Du Plessis, while an anti-fungal cream can be used for nappy rash. The gel and cream work as a topical treatment, applied straight to the thrush, but “it does take a few days to go away,” warns Glasson. Thrush can also be passed between a mom and baby. You may have a yeast infection on the breasts, which your baby may pick up when breast-feeding. Or, your baby may have thrush, and pass it to you. It is therefore best to treat both the baby and the mother in cases of thrush. You can also use an anti-fungal cream or gel on your breasts.

useful tips • Maintain good hygiene, says Glasson. Make sure bottles, dummies, teats and even toys are cleaned and sterilised properly. • Follow the instructions for sterilising. Don’t leave bottles in a sterilising solution for too long, says Du Plessis, and if you are using the microwave, follow the time guidelines provided. • If you or your baby has been taking antibiotics, replace the good bacteria with either a probiotic or something natural, like yoghurt.

August 2011



a heavy burden Weighty school bags are more than just a pain in the neck (or back), they could cause long-term spinal damage, says GILLIAN HURST.


August 2011

and parents need to make their children aware of this from a young age.” Biokineticist Amy Lichtenstein says she has treated quite a few cases of school bag injuries at her Johannesburg practice. “Muscles being used more often become shorter, tighter and overdeveloped, while the other side of the body is in a lengthened position, which creates an imbalance,” she says.

safety tips • The type of school bag you choose makes a big difference. Shoulder bags are a definite no-no as children tend to carry them on one shoulder, causing strain, says Lichtenstein. • If your child insists on a backpack, make sure it has wide, padded straps that are worn over both shoulders, and a belly belt for extra support. • The best option is the wheelie bag, but even these are not perfect, as they become unwieldy when fully loaded and

can catch on uneven terrain, causing muscle tears and strain. • The Chiropractic Association of SA advises that the backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of your child’s weight. • Lockers could be the answer to this weighty problem. Lichtenstein advises parents to lobby for lockers at school. • Rosenberg says you should talk to your child’s teacher about ways the school can help lighten the load children have to carry.

your child’s school bag may be too heavy if he has: • • • • •

headaches; dull, lower backache; neck ache; fatigue and bad posture.

magazine cape town



t was with some alarm that I recently tried to fling my son’s school bag into the car boot. Nearly floored by the Herculean effort needed just to get the bag off the ground, I was staggered that my 11-year-old had been carrying what feels like the equivalent of a hefty first-grader on his back, without a word of complaint. Take a moment to pick up your child’s bag. You may be surprised at the dead weight of it. A demanding curriculum means your child often lugs numerous books, for each subject, from one classroom to the next. Many children also carry extra bags packed with sports equipment, as well as bulky lunch boxes and drinks. “Bearing such heavy loads can start a degenerative process in the spine, the consequences of which could last

a lifetime,” warns Johannesburg-based chiropractor Marie Rosenberg. “Carrying a backpack or shoulder bag that is too heavy can cause functional scoliosis (an abnormal curvature of the spine), especially if the bag is carried on one shoulder. The uneven distribution of weight can result in poor posture, joint fatigue and pressure on the sacroiliac joint,” she says. “To work out just how much weight is going through your child’s spine each time they pick up their school satchel, multiply the weight of the bag by 10,” advises Rosenberg. For example, a 4kg bag puts 40kg of weight on the spine, far too much for the average child to manage safely. “Unfortunately, the children themselves are often part of the problem,” warns Cape Town-based physiotherapist Melanie Vogel. “Often the best bags, with their padded straps and added supports, are dismissed by children as being ‘uncool’. Peer pressure to have the ‘right’ brand on their back can lead to long-term damage

upfront with paul

pet symmetry When the sad time comes to bid the family pet farewell, make sure it gets a fitting sendoff, says PAUL KERTON.



Saskia, Paul and Sabina

here is nothing quite like a small and furry creature with big eyes, endearing habits and an inherent vulnerability to make a child smile, and bring out the same feeling of unconditional love that you have for your child. The challenge here is, once you buy one – whether it’s a puppy, rabbit, kitten, goldfish, finch, parrot or a more exotic creature – you have a responsibility to it, and your children, to try and keep it alive. And if you don’t, there comes that awful parental “gulp” moment, as your offspring’s favourite fish floats like driftwood on top of the water, and you think, “now what do we do?” Like at a recent dinner party, when Sabina screamed and came running into the dining room in tears. “Daddy, Brutus (name changed to save embarrassment)

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has flushed my fish down the toilet.” Brutus, aged three, had clearly overdosed on Finding Nemo and, more appropriately, Flushed Away DVDs, and had literally freed the fish to return to the sea. It was a noble intention, but heartbreaking for my daughter. We have been very unlucky (read “useless”) with pets. One of our rabbits had its leg broken in the great St James’ tornado of 2005 when the hutch was unceremoniously thrown across the lawn and the two rabbits were sandwiched between the lid and the frame. One ran away never to be seen again, and the other one would have followed except that it was crippled. The vet sucked air through his teeth as he estimated that it would take about 10 hours of microsurgery (and a cool R9 500), and seven customised stainless-steel pins in its limbs before the

rabbit would limp, never mind hop, again. It was a highly emotive decision. When we put our pretty finches outside on the veranda to experience some fresh air and morning sunshine, they took it as an open invitation to limbo-dance under the cage wire and take a short flight to freedom. Little realising that they would last about 10 minutes amid that flock of nasty, aggressive gangsta-starlings. The problem with pets is they die, no matter how well cared for and loved. Goldfish are not robust creatures. Their brain is so tiny that they often forget to breathe. And they do not travel well; sometimes they don’t even make it from the pet shop to the house. What to do when disaster strikes? The initial reaction is for one parent to keep Junior busy while the other scurries around

every pet shop in town looking for the same sex, size and colour of animal that has died. This is completely futile of course, especially at 2am, which brings one to the delicate matter of burial rights. There is a tendency to over-emotionalise here but you cannot cheapen your child’s probable “first true love” by dismissing the deceased with a twist of a Woollies’ packet and a practised basketball dunk into the bin. Particularly if it’s something like the family hound, which has been whacked by a hit-and-run truck. In this case, the correct sendoff is a pretty, fancy box, filled with Rover’s accessories – bowl, lead and jacket – and a burial near one of his favourite haunts. And if anyone plays the trumpet, that would be even better. Paul Kerton is the author of Fab Dad: A Man’s Guide to Fathering.

August 2011


dealing with difference

diagnosing ADHD New research provides fresh insight into the causes of ADHD, and offers parents alternative and holistic treatment options. By DONNA COBBAN

ance*, father to now 11-year-old Aiden*, was doubtful when his son was first diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the age of nine. Three years later, the Johannesburg-based father still finds himself vacillating over the issue. “There are times when I look at my son’s behaviour and think that he definitely has ADHD. But then I stop and think that I behaved like that as a child, so did I have ADHD? Then there are the other times when I watch him and I think to myself, there is no way he has ADHD.” Despite sometimes doubting the diagnosis, Lance has now accepted his son’s condition and he ensures that Aiden gets the correct treatment. The treatment is diverse, and is applied to all aspects of Aiden’s life. As Lance explains, “Treating a child with ADHD is not just about putting him onto medication.” Instead, he encourages other parents to examine the child’s emotional state, as well as the food they are eating and the amount of exercise they are getting. ADHD is one of the most debated disorders, with everyone wanting to offer an opinion if your child appears to be heading towards a positive diagnosis. There are those who will blame your child’s diet or offer a “miracle” cure, while others will say the condition does not exist, suggesting that your child is just disruptive and needs a good hiding.

Diagnosing a child with ADHD is a long process and it’s important to do it right. Teachers are not experts.

appears to be thriving. Lance’s immense concern and love have also gone a long way to improving Aiden’s condition. “Love, security, positive attention and a healthy diet are all essential elements to raising a happy, healthy child,” he says.

causes of ADHD Although no-one knows for sure what causes the disorder, the Adhasa support group reports that “it is neurological – meaning that there is an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters; it is biochemical – meaning a deficiency in Prostaglandin’s E1, E3 (PE1, PE3); and it is an 80 percent genetic condition.” Like any mental condition, there is no blood test or brain scan that can prove beyond a shadow of doubt that someone has ADHD. So we rely largely on research scientists to keep us informed and, together with their findings, new understandings emerge and adjustments in thinking shift as new treatments are found. Some interesting research, conducted recently by Alina Rodriguez from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, suggests that stress during pregnancy may be a contributing factor. (Stress, in terms of this particular study, included depression, bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship.) The study involved more than 1 700 children and tracked them from pre-birth to primary school. Neurologists found a link between antenatal stress and what is known as “mixed-handedness” (where the right or left hand is used to perform different tasks) as well as a link to behavioural problems in children, with ADHD being the most common.


August 2011

Recently, interesting research, which spanned an entire eight years, suggests that people with ADHD have a compromised “reward pathway” in the brain. Led by the renowned Dr Nora Volkow, a research psychiatrist in the USA, this study explains why attention deficits in people with ADHD are most evident in tasks that are considered boring, repetitive and uninteresting. Volkow’s findings suggest that ADHD sufferers have fewer dopamine receptors and transporters in the mid-brain area – the area responsible for the “reward pathway”. She suggests that an intervention to make tasks more engaging and rewarding would have significant results. Dr Christopher Lucas, associate professor of child psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, explains that children with ADHD may be able to concentrate for hours on video games, but not at school. Unlike school, which demands sustained attention with no rewards, a video game requires sustained attention with intermittent rewards. Linda*, mother to now 21-year-old Jack* knows about ADHD and rewards better than most. Jack was four when he was first diagnosed with ADHD. Linda, from Cape Town, was a single mother with a limited income and a child whose behaviour was both stressful and worrying. Jack needed little sleep; he was disruptive in class, found reading and writing

magazine cape town


rewards, not drugs Like many parents, Lance was frustrated by the way in which his son was diagnosed. “Initially Aiden was treated by a GP whose experience of ADHD was severely limited.” He was given a prescription for Concerta (a drug similar to Ritalin) and Lance watched as the Aiden he knew slipped away; his personality and appetite taken by the medication. There was also no subsequent improvement of any kind in his concentration or schoolwork. “Diagnosing a child with ADHD is a long process and it’s important to do it right. Teachers are not experts,” says Lance. Aiden was eventually diagnosed by a number of people using the popular Conners’ Rating Scale (an instrument that uses observer ratings and self-report ratings). His school reports, school work, general behaviour and concentration levels were all taken into account before the treatment started. This time he was given Strattera, a drug used to treat ADHD in children over the age of six. Unlike Ritalin, Strattera does not stimulate the central nervous system and is not scheduled as a controlled substance. But, as with Ritalin, there are often negative side effects. Fortunately, in Aiden’s case, the treatment worked well and along with a carefully controlled diet largely free of artificial ingredients and inclusive of omega oils, Aiden now

Love, security, positive attention and a healthy diet are all essential elements to raising a happy, healthy child. difficult and he would enthusiastically begin a project, and then often fail to finish it. On top of this, he was deeply sensitive, making the time-outs and the punishments difficult to endure. Then an insightful psychologist worked with Linda to devise a star chart for Jack. Star charts are controversial things at the best of times – critics warn of a need to motivate from within and not for a reward, while parents, at their wits end, use the chart to restore family peace. So for most families, the star chart has a limited life span, but for Jack and Linda, the star chart was their literal lifeline. “Everything revolved around the star chart – from behaviour to chores, schoolwork to fun-time. He had certain chores he had to complete (this included schoolwork) and three stars out of five earned him a treat of his choice on weekends (such as a video or a sleepover).” Linda also became firm about things like eye contact, listening to one instruction at a time and speaking slowly and effectively. She is a firm believer in the reward system, but says, “You have to stand fast and not budge for it to work. Jack needed to stay within his boundaries and the star chart took care of that.” This was done as a complementary form of treatment, in addition to Ritalin, which Linda believes was a double-edged sword she had to accept. Had her finances allowed it, she would have sent Jack to a more suitable school, with smaller classes and one-on-one attention. This may have eradicated the need for the Ritalin, which sadly Jack had to take, and the endless teasing he was exposed to at a mainstream primary school. Now that Jack is out of school, Linda concedes that he may not have completed his schooling without Ritalin. But Linda says she should have changed Jack’s school and sought out a support group. “Very few people understood. They thought he was just naughty and needed a ‘hiding’.”

support Erica Stander, who heads up the ADHD Hout Bay support group in Cape Town, stresses the importance of such groups as they form a “melting pot of all those interested and affected by ADHD, whether they be parents, teachers or psychologists specialising in the field”. She says, “Each person plays an important role and support groups ensure that the parent and the teacher have the same consistent approach.” Long-term professional help, which is recorded and monitored, is also critical. This will allow you to apply for extra exam time, for example. “Accept that your parenting is going to be different and try not to worry what other people have to say about it,” advises Erica. Linda knows this all too well. She shows me a few pictures of the now grown-up Jack and I see a beautiful young man; a unique individual filled with promise and purpose, about to start his adult life. Although Linda and Jack’s journey has been far from easy, they have much to be proud of in spite of, or perhaps because of, ADHD. *Names have been changed

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what is ADD and what is ADHD? Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD is a hangover from the past and technically speaking no longer exists. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987, where the term officially replaced ADD. Before that, similar symptoms were referred to as “minimal brain dysfunction” and “hyperkinetic impulse disorder”. Science now recognises three subtypes of ADHD: • inattentive • hyperactive-impulsive, and • combined. According to Adhasa, approximately eight to 10 percent of the South African population have ADHD. This seems to follow international trends. In the USA, there are suggestions that just over nine percent of the population between the ages of four and 17 have been diagnosed with the problem. Recent studies in rural areas of Limpopo reveal similar statistics.

further reading • The ADD & ADHD Answer Book by Susan Ashley (Sourcebooks, Inc) • Overcoming ADHD Without Medication (Helping Your Child Become Calm, Engaged, and Focused – Without a Pill) by Stanley I. Greenspan (Da Capo Lifelong Books) • Parenting Children with ADHD (10 Lessons That Medicine Cannot Teach) by Vincent J. Monastra (American Psychological Association) • ADD & ADHD Answer Book: Professional Answers to 275 of the Top Questions Parents Ask by Susan Ashley (Sourcebooks, Inc) • 50 Activities and Games for Kids with ADHD by Judith M. Stern and Patricia O. Quinn (Chicago Review Press) • Putting on the Brakes Activity Book for Kids with ADD or ADHD by Patricia O. Quinn and Judith M. Stern (Magination Press)

August 2011



back to basics Long-term changes to the education curriculum will bring the three “Rs” – Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic – back into your child’s classroom, says MICHELLE JONES.

death knell for OBE OBE, introduced in 1998, was supposed to encourage teachers to plan teaching programmes that would produce learners with relevant knowledge and skills. But the curriculum is said to have failed partly because the onus for making it work fell to already-overstretched teachers with scarce resources and poor facilities. Children attending under-equipped schools, with no access to libraries and computers, were suddenly expected to complete a number of assignments and projects. Motshekga wants the curriculum changes to produce better results. “There are too many learners who, after many years of school, have not mastered the skills they need to have mastered. Research has shown, for instance, that many learners who complete Grade 6 are not able to write even simple sentences, or do basic arithmetic. This problem of an unacceptably low level of learning can be found across all grades.”


August 2011

revision for schools The minister has released a comprehensive turnaround plan for schools, Action Plan to 2014, which is part of a larger vision called Schooling 2025. The action plan comprises 27 goals to “make schooling better”. These include increasing the number of Grade 12 learners who qualify to study for a bachelor’s degree, improving the performance of learners of various grades in maths, science and languages and enhancing the professionalism of teachers. “We need to

deal quickly and efficiently with curriculum implementation challenges and difficulties that do exist. We have already started the process of identifying problems and have taken the necessary steps to find solutions. We have made and will continue to make changes on an ongoing basis where they can be made with minimal disruption,” says Motshekga. The revised curriculum will make it easier for teachers to do their jobs. “Every subject in each grade will have a single, comprehensive and concise curriculum

education A,B,C Action Plan to 2014: A 27-goal plan to improve education. Thirteen of these goals are output-driven, dealing with improved school results and better learner enrolment. The remaining 14 deal with things that must happen for the output goals to be realised. ANA: Annual National Assessment. Tests started this year to assess whether learners in Grade 1 to Grade 6 and Grade 9 are at the correct level. Caps: Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements. These provide an in-depth guide for teachers to plan their time and structure lessons, and detail what work they are expected to cover each term. CTA: Common Tasks for Assessment. Until last year these tasks were compulsory for all Grade 9 learners. The marks formed 25 percent of their year mark. Curriculum: The subject matter to be learnt by learners. Foundation Phase: Grades R to 3. Further Education and Training Phase: Grades 10 to 12. General Education and Training Band: Grades R to 9, made up by Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phases. Grade R: This reception year before a learner starts Grade 1 is now compulsory for all learners. Intermediate Phase: Grades 4 to 6. Learner: The correct term when describing a school-going child. OBE: Outcomes-based education. Schooling 2025: An initiative to improve the standard of basic education in the next 14 years by elevating the matric pass rate, improving literacy and numeracy results for foundation phase learners and enhancing the quality of teachers. Senior Phase: Grades 7 to 9. Subject: In the various grades and phases of education, different subjects were referred to as learning areas or programmes. From this year, all learning areas and programmes will be known as subjects. Teacher: Sometimes referred to as an educator, teacher is the correct term when referring to a professional who teaches learners in a classroom.

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o much has changed since we were at school. Standards have been replaced by grades, pupils are now called learners and for more than 10 years, our children have been grappling with an outcomesbased education system that focuses more on practical tasks than the three “Rs”. But a government review of the Basic Education curriculum, to be phased in over the next three years, has been welcomed as a much-needed, back-to-basics approach with a renewed focus on literacy and numeracy. In July 2010, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the department would make a number of changes to the existing national curriculum statements. She did not explicitly mention outcomes-based education (OBE), but many saw the move as a strong signal that it was being dropped. Educators say the revision of the controversial OBE will lessen the heavy administrative burden it placed on teachers, giving them more time to teach. It will also mean fewer assignments for your child, allowing them to focus again on learning. Some of the department’s changes have already been made and more are set to take place each year until 2014.

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August 2011



what the experts say

and assessment policy statement that will provide details on what teachers ought to teach and assess on a gradeby-grade and subject-by-subject basis,” says Motshekga. This will help teachers plan their lessons and detail what work they are expected to cover each term. The statements also list which textbooks, workbooks and other media should be used.

changes to the curriculum One of the first changes, at the beginning of 2010, was to discontinue the Common Tasks for Assessment for Grade 9 learners. Teachers and principals thought the assessment was unnecessary and added to teachers’ heavy workloads.

Graeme Bloch, an education specialist at the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management, has lauded what he refers to as “the death of OBE”. “The important thing is they are simplifying the subject areas. They are focusing on the foundations of literacy and numeracy and they are admitting that OBE didn’t work.” But Bloch says it will be important for some of the creativity of OBE, where learners are encouraged to think outside the box, to be maintained. “I think there is a lot of work to do. But I think the direction is right, (with) the focus on emphasising the foundation and knowing the basics.” Alan Clarke, an education consultant and former principal of Westerford High School in Cape Town, says the downside of OBE is that it is a very complicated curriculum and everybody has a different view on how it could be taught. The revised curriculum will work if it clearly spells out what is expected of both teachers and learners. All three major South African teaching unions have given the revised curriculum, with its learner workbooks and the promise of yearly assessments, the thumbs up. SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke says, “We believe (it) will benefit both the learners and teachers and improve the quality of teaching and learning.”

Research has shown, for instance, that many learners who complete Grade 6 are not able to write even simple sentences, or do basic arithmetic. Other changes include fewer projects for learners and the removal of portfolio files for learner assessments. Instead, every learner in Grades 1 to 6 gets literacy and numeracy workbooks. Each book has 128 worksheets, in the child’s mother tongue, and learners are encouraged to take the books home so parents can be involved in their learning. Another key change is the start of annual national assessments. These were due to begin in late 2010, but were postponed to early this year because of a public sector strike. The tests were held in February for Grades 2 to 7, and for Grade 10 learners who were tested on the numeracy and literacy levels they should have achieved the year before. Education department spokesman Granville Whittle says, “The department has set a target of improving numeracy and literacy attainment levels of Grades 3 and 6 from the current average attainment levels of between 27 percent and 38 percent to at least 60 percent by 2014.” The annual assessment will provide regular, well-timed, valid and credible data on pupil achievement in schools.


August 2011

The education system should rather concentrate on content-based classroom teaching, with a focus on the basics of reading, writing and mathematics, says Chris Klopper, chief executive of the SuidAfrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU). “Reinforcing these concepts will allow children to function productively and make them more employable.” Bloch says it’s pleasing to see that the Department of Basic Education is committed to making things easier for both educators and learners. Motshekga has announced a 15-year plan to improve teacher education. “Our targets on teacher development include consistently attracting increased numbers of young qualified teachers, filling vacant posts, achieving the appropriate number of hours teachers spend in professional development activities, reducing teacher absenteeism and ensuring full coverage of the curriculum.” The number of teacher graduates produced by universities is to be doubled by 2014 to 12 000 each year to meet the needs of the schooling system. Michelle Jones is the education writer at Cape Times. magazine cape town

separating the sexes Western Cape educators are experimenting with separating boys and girls in classrooms. This after research found that there are key differences in the way the sexes learn and cope with their changing bodies and emotions. Gavin Keller, principal of the Sun Valley group of schools in Cape Town, says the idea was first discussed at Western Cape meetings of the SA Principals’ Association, and had caught on with a number of schools since, but it is not something being considered by government to implement permanently. He says research shows that it’s easier to teach just boys or just girls at critical stages in their development. Boys are about nine to 15 months behind in reading ability but the same amount of time ahead in maths, science and sports. Because of this, boys in primary school often feel that reading is for girls and choose to focus instead on the areas they are more comfortable with. Keller says in these early years girls are more skilled at reading, leaving boys in the same class feeling uninterested. But when the sexes are separated, boys are able to learn to read at their own pace, and enjoy doing so. Another difference between the sexes is girls’ ability to quickly verbalise their emotions while boys are generally only able to recognise basic emotions of feeling happy or sad. When in separate classes, boys are taught to recognise the full spectrum of their emotions. In the later grades of primary school and early high school, hormone-driven boys and girls in separate classes are able to learn without feeling as if they have to appeal to members of the opposite sex, says Keller. Some of the schools that are opting to separate the sexes include Bergvliet High, Edgemead Primary, Sunlands Primary, Kenridge Primary and Camps Bay High. Some Eastern Cape schools were separating classes after going on courses and hearing Keller speak. Thembi Ndlovu, president of the SA Principals’ Association’s KwaZulu-Natal branch and principal of Khanyanjalo JP Primary in Durban, says separating the sexes is not something schools there are doing. “Boys and girls learn in the same classes and must be able to do so together,” she says.

a textbook for every learner Soon, your child will be able to access his science or maths textbook via his cellphone. The Department of Education aims to put a textbook in the hands of every learner by 2012 and Siyavula, a Shuttleworth Foundation project that promotes the use of technology in education, has lent its support by offering learners and educators access to its online textbooks. The project has submitted their openly licenced maths and physical science text books to the department for inclusion in the 2012 textbook list. “If they make it onto the approved booklist for 2012, any learner will be able to read a prescribed textbook on their cellphone, whether in class, on the bus or at home,” says Siyavula’s Mark Horner. Conventional textbooks are often prohibitively expensive and not always available. The online textbooks will be accessible to learners and teachers, who will be able to legally copy, change, print and distribute them. For more about the digital textbooks, visit

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August 2011



so in love with science ROBYN GOSS suggests 15 ways to unleash your child’s inner Einstein.

measuring and weighing activities Arm your little scientist with a variety of containers of different shapes and sizes and turn her loose in the bath or the sandpit. Point out how the same volume of sand is held by both a long thin bottle and a short fat bottle, how water trickles through a thin opening but pours through a wider one and count how many cups of sand it takes to fill a bucket.


hildren are natural scientists. As soon as they can stretch out their hands, they set about trying to understand their surroundings. They conduct sound experiments with pitch and volume, diligently explore the properties of puréed apple and quickly learn to dismantle everything within their reach. You can keep this love of science alive by encouraging their natural inclination to explore, experiment and explain their world.


the senses Stimulate your child’s sense of touch. Put out a container of warm water and one of cold, a square of Velcro, some cotton wool, a pot scourer and some strands of cooked and uncooked spaghetti. Let your child touch, splash and squish to her heart’s content.



Make a racket. Gather a variety of hard and soft objects: pots, pans, plastic buckets, wooden stools. Put a spoon in your child’s hand and let him bash away.

Put several glass bottles in a row and fill each with a different level of water – empty, a third-full, half-full and completely full. Let your child tap each with a spoon and listen to the different tones. Older children can blow across the tops of the bottles to find different notes.


Cut squares out of three pieces of cellophane. Make one red, one blue and one yellow. Let your child look through them and describe what they see. Then layer one over the other — red and blue to make purple, red and yellow to make orange, yellow and blue to make green. Talk about primary (red, yellow and blue) and secondary (purple, orange and green) colours.



August 2011


Take it outdoors and teach your child to measure the world with rain gauges and outdoor thermometers. If you don’t have a rain gauge, visit for ideas on making your own. Talk to your child about any environmental changes he might be noticing. Does today feel colder than yesterday? Does it seem to be raining more this week than last week? Older children can record their readings in a notebook and compare them over a whole season.


There’s no better place for a child to learn about science than in the kitchen, where they can witness first-hand the effects of mixing ingredients and subjecting them to heat or cold. Talk about the way the texture of flour changes when a liquid is added, what happens to cream when it’s whipped, how fruit juice turns into an ice lolly in the freezer – and then back into fruit juice; and why a lump of biscuit dough changes shape when it’s rolled out on the table.

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Get a small kitchen scale and a collection of items to weigh – small and large tomatoes, stones of different sizes, a potato, a pen, your house keys or a slice of bread. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use a bathroom scale and weigh heavier objects, such as books and toys. If your child is old enough, you can teach him how to read the measurements.

cool experiments

the natural world


Get organising. Gather a variety of objects from the garden, such as different sized stones, coloured leaves, pine cones, twigs, bits of bark (although household items will also do) and let your child organise them in as many ways as she can. Set them out from smallest to largest and from softest to hardest. Let her guess which objects will float or sink, which will feel prickly and which will feel soft. Teach your child about solids, liquids and gases using water. Help your child follow the transformation of water from one state to another; from the tap to the freezer to the stove top. What other solids and liquids can you find in the house? Are there any gases your child might encounter (such as helium in balloons and the exhaust fumes they may smell on the road)? Turn your little explorer loose with a magnifying glass. Garden soil, the inside of a tomato, the lounge carpet... everything looks thrillingly different in extreme close-up.

Write a secret letter in lemon juice on a sheet of paper. Let the paper dry completely, then hold it close to a heat source such as a toaster or a light bulb. Watch the invisible message reveal itself. How to explain it: The acids in the lemon juice weaken the paper, so when heat is applied, it’s the letters that burn first, long before the rest of the paper.


Pour a cup of milk into a shallow container. Add a few drops of food colouring – the more colours, the better the effect. Then add a drop of dishwashing liquid and watch the colours swirl. How to explain it: The dishwashing liquid breaks the surface tension of the milk (think of it as a sort of skin, keeping the liquids separate), letting the food colouring flow into it.


Tear a tissue into small pieces and lay them out on a table. Have your child rub a plastic comb against his hand for a few seconds, then hold it over the tissue pieces and watch them rise. How to explain it: When you rub the comb against your hand, you’re building up a negative charge in the comb. The tissue pieces are more positively charged than the comb and, when they are brought close together, the opposite charges attract one another, pulling the tissue pieces up to meet the comb.


let science take you places


Encourage your child to drop a variety of objects from shoulder height and watch what happens. If you’re feeling brave you could even drop an egg to really get their attention. With older children, you can talk about gravity. Get the younger ones to predict what they think will bounce and what won’t, then test their theories.

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The Cape Town Science Centre is due to open some time in 2011, with a range of exciting science-based activities and displays. Contact 021 300 3200 or visit ctsc. for news of their special events.

read more about it Maverick Science: 50 Incredible Experiments to Try at Home by Chris Smith and Dave Ansell (Struik).

For more science-related books, visit

August 2011



survive the

slump Your child will need extra support when the focus shifts from reading to reading to learn,


August 2011

There are no special arrangements for new uniforms, or transport, to suggest that a big change will occur during this year.

That grade is Grade 4. Surprised? I was. Officially of course, Grade 4 is the start of the Intermediate Phase and

The earlier they slip, the faster they fall, and the further behind they are in each succeeding grade. Yet the intellectual demands made in this grade may have an impact on your child’s later schooling, and they should get extra support during this critical year.

Grade 4 teachers are often aware of the extra challenges children face. By this stage, children are reading and writing. They can find library books and learn for

tests. They can blow their own noses and tie laces and remember their sports kit (sometimes). However, this apparent competence disguises the fact that they may need more support from their parents, particularly when it comes to reading.

grade 4 demands more If you visited your child in Grades 1, 2 or 3 you would have noticed the focus on reading tuition in the classroom. You would have seen reading groups and a complex

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very year in mid-January, more than a million children start a new grade in primary school. Usually, the older the child, the less anxious you as a parent will feel. The parents of children starting Grade 1 or Grade 8 probably feel the most nervous, as they consider the impact a new institution, different teachers and new friends could have. However, there is a grade in the middle of your child’s primary school career that may, at first, appear without problems.


system of cards and graded readers and you would have noticed phonics cards and reading homework daily. When your child reaches Grade 4 and the reading work lessens, you may feel relieved that this seemingly endless admin is over. The school (driven by the curriculum) seems to be saying: “Congratulations! Your child is a reader. You can relax now.” But therein lies the problem. Children in Grade 3 may be reading well, but in Grade 4 “learning to read” changes into “reading to learn”. They are now given textbooks and asked to learn their content. Textbooks contain a different kind of vocabulary from reading books. They use the words of scientific or abstract concepts such as “energy”, “evaporation” or “history”. Children encounter many such foreign words and now need to understand

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them in new subjects such as natural sciences and technology. This poses a completely different kind of challenge to young readers and their reading slows down as they grapple with the additional vocabulary load. Found to happen to all children, this well-recognised trend has been called “the fourth-grade slump.”

what can parents do? Vocabulary becomes the key to success in the middle grades and teachers and parents need to look at how to develop their child’s vocabulary, particularly with less common, more abstract and literary words. But parents should not think their children’s vocabulary will improve by getting them to learn lists of new words. According to education literature, reading is critical. Read to your children,

and read for fun and discovery. If you and your child already have a habit of bedtime reading just increase her exposure to new words and concepts. If you are not yet reading to your child, consider picking up a book as soon as you put down this magazine (see box “what should you read to your children?”). Playing and having fun with words is also important, so find word origins and play games such as “I spy” or “The minister’s cat”. If the fourth-grade slump affects all children, won’t they just ride the slump together until it corrects itself? Unfortunately the answer to this question is a clear “no”, for a number of reasons.

Research shows that children who do best at reading are those who interact with adults in all sorts of activities, as they are more likely to use words found in their school reading. The fourth-grade slump is a vocabulary issue, so stay involved and expose your child to your broader vocabulary. Also look for reading camps, supervised homework and school care centres, library story hours or holiday activities that are run by adults.

August 2011



The increase in unfamiliar words and abstract concepts that first appears in Grade 4 does not stop there. The vocabulary becomes increasingly technical throughout primary and high school, with words such as “metamorphosis”, “reactionary” and “onomatopoeia”, so children need support all the way through. It is a grim fact that reading problems almost never correct themselves. Jeanne Chall, an American specialist in reading performance whose work documented the fourth-grade slump, makes this very clear: “Once a child falls behind in reading, writing or language, deceleration is likely to increase with each succeeding grade.” There is a good chance that once a child’s reading starts slipping it will become weaker rather than strengthen by itself.

many years; if students fall behind, they seldom right themselves without special help.” Don’t wait for things to go wrong with reading in any grade before offering your child support and encouragement.

reading barometer Your child’s enjoyment of reading is a good indicator, as children usually enjoy what they do well. However, the best way of finding out is simply to ask the teacher. Chall says that good readers have parents who keep a strong contact with their teachers. They make a habit of greeting teachers and talking to them about how children are doing. This makes sense; by keeping in touch, parents prevent problems from entering a downward spiral. As part of this, it helps to make

Don’t wait for things to go wrong with reading in any grade before offering your child support and encouragement. the “Matthew effect principle” As the fourth grade is the place where children come up against their greatest reading challenge, a sharp increase in difficult words, it is also where their reading may start slipping and continue to fall. In 1986, Keith Stanovich, professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology at the University of Ontario, called this trend the “Matthew effect principle” after a verse from Matthew’s Gospel that is sometimes written as “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. In children’s reading, the mechanism works like this: When children are confident readers they enjoy it more and so become better at it. They increase their vocabulary and get used to understanding different kinds of texts. However, when children are not confident readers they tend to avoid books, which they associate with unpleasant experiences. They get less practice and fall behind. The gap between stronger and weaker readers can widen alarmingly quickly. Because closing the gap relies on what poor readers avoid – reading – it is very hard for children to close that gap without help. Chall says, “The earlier they slip, the faster they fall, and the further behind they are in each succeeding grade. Literacy and language develop over


August 2011

sure you understand exactly what report cards say about your child’s progress. The curriculum categories are very broad and can be misleading. Spending time on subject homework will enable you to keep in touch with how your child is progressing – explain unfamiliar abstract words and share an important activity. In intermediate grades, parents can help a great deal by reading subject texts aloud to their child. When listening to your child doing reading homework, focus on fluency. To get the most out of a text, a child needs to read steadily and smoothly. Fast, jerky or disconnected reading makes it difficult for the reader to follow meaning, so a focus on fluency helps the child’s comprehension. Children are able to transfer fluency to silent reading and so gain in comprehension there too. You can do this unobtrusively for your child whether you are concerned about their progress or not. But if you become anxious don’t “wait and see”. Go to the teacher immediately and ask what can be done. When children’s reading begins to slip they need immediate, special instruction. What is absolutely essential is that children should not be allowed to slip further and further behind. magazine cape town

Put reading at the top of your parenting agenda. As well as feeling your love and support in the big reading adventure, you are using your most powerful influence as a parent; teaching by example. When you read to them every day, there can be no doubt in their minds about what is important to you. Your example is even more powerful if you consciously develop a reading habit yourself. Turn off the TV so that the whole family can read. Buying books together, or going to libraries and book sales, can be part of the pleasure. Children love to

re-read books so they should be taken to libraries regularly and be able to own some favourite books. When you are choosing a book to read to a child, the right level is the one that holds interest for him and is a level above what he can read on his own. This makes sure that your reading is giving him access to what he does not yet have access to himself. Reading affects everything your child does in school. Make reading a pleasant and enjoyable experience, so that your child can progress successfully through the Intermediate Phase.

what should you read to your children? • B  ooks read to children by adults need to be challenging, with a vocabulary and sentence length greater than that of their school readers. • Include some factual books, such as encyclopedias, textbooks in other subjects and other reference books, as these are more likely to contain some of the unfamiliar words they need. • “Real literature”, sometimes called “the classics”, is full of interesting and unusual words. • Variety is important so get books from different sources such as the school library, the public library and as gifts. • Select books on a “you choose; I read” basis, which allows a child to explore his or her own interests. Drop any book that doesn’t seem to grip your child. • This does not mean that children can stop reading to themselves. Books slightly more advanced than their school reading are a pleasurable challenge, but children should always choose what to read.

further reading • P  reventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children by C. Snow (Washington, D.C., National Academy Press) • Teaching Reading in the Early Grades – the DoE handbook, is excellent for teachers and parents and is available on • Also visit or

magazine cape town

August 2011



to board, or not to board Many of us delighted in reading, or watching, John “Spud” Milton’s experiences of boarding school, but would you

yes A change in circumstances may be one of the reasons you would consider sending your child to boarding school. This was the case with single mom Letebele Jones when she moved from Cape Town to Tulbagh for work. She wasn’t enamoured of the local schools, so she chatted to her then 13-year-old son Mashilo about becoming a boarder at his current day school when they relocated. Perhaps you want to send your child to boarding school because you want a firstclass, internationally recognised education for him. Take the Bovijns, a Cape Town-


August 2011

based family who sent their oldest son Marcel, now 17, at his own request, to St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown as a full-time boarder. Marcel, who is thriving there, was introduced to St Andrew’s while at Wetpups, an affiliated Western Cape primary school. Linda and Ed Bovijn entertained Marcel’s request to go, as they liked the idea of sending their son to a high school away from the big city. Being a renowned, independent school, it would also provide an education that would open doors for their son. Schools, such as St Andrew’s and Michaelhouse in KwaZuluNatal, pave the way for alumni to study at leading international universities. Many parents who can afford it, see the away-

from-home aspect of boarding school as a small price to pay for this educational edge. Marcel could easily have gone nearby to Bishops, but he chose St Andrew’s. Tom Crowden, of Durban, says that, based on his own positive experience with boarding school – the structured homework and study time and the sense of independence it gave him – he wouldn’t mind sending his nine-month-old daughter Isabel to boarding school one day. Londonbased Tessa Daniel, who is planning on returning to her native South Africa with Welsh husband Andy Routley and their 18-month-old daughter Mae, says she would consider letting her go to boarding school in the last three years of high

school. Although Tessa remembers craving freedom at that stage of her own life, she is mindful that it also depends on what Mae wants when she gets to that age. Stellenbosch-based Bridget Berlyn, 29, grew up in Umtata. With no good school nearby, her parents sent her to DSG in Grahamstown four-and-a-half hours away. She says that, to this day, her school mates are like sisters, and she values the opportunity she had to attend a boarding school, as it taught her to believe in and rely on herself. She loved her high school boarding years, and sees age as a major factor, which is why she would only consider sending her child to boarding school from Grade 10.

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send your child to one? LUCILLE KEMP asks parents.

no Parents have more to consider than just the material merits of sending their children away to a top-notch boarding school. It can often be more of an emotional decision than anything else (for both moms and dads). Questions include: “What will our relationship be like if they’re away most of the time? What kind of influences will they be around? Who will protect them if I’m not around to do so?” Many parents, wanting the best for their child’s education and emotional security, have strong opinions on the subject. Andy says he could not imagine his daughter Mae being away for school and missing out on family evenings that gave him so much joy when he was growing up. “I also question the ability of an establishment to instil the morals and values that I would like to give my child. If the school is that good then send them as a day pupil.” Tim Cockcroft, of Cape Town, says the idea of boarding school goes against what they are trying to achieve as a family – closeness. His wife Nancy, a beauty therapist, is working on starting her own business from home so that their five-month-old daughter Georgina, can have a stay-at-home mom. Like

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many parents, they want full control over raising their child. Somerset West-based Tracey Falkson Brown, mom to 16-yearold Michael, is emphatic: “I won’t let an institution mould my child.” Many people sing the praises of boarding schools based on their own experiences, but when asked whether they’d send their children, it is a resounding “no”, with some saying they wanted their “babies close”. And let’s remember, some moms’ definition of a “baby” can cover the years up to and including 18, or even 21, if they can help it.

illustrates, with the story of a child, how bad the repercussions can be when all things are not considered. A 12-year-old boy was infatuated with the idea of going to a particular boarding school because of its sporting opportunities, but after three months he grew homesick and his health deteriorated so much that he became heavily depressed and had to be sent home to recuperate. Only then did he reveal more about his hardships there, and that he wanted to attend a local school so that he could be back at home.

If a child goes to boarding school based on unrealistic and lopsided perceptions, the disappointments will be too difficult to deal with. Johannesburg psychologist Ilze van der Merwe-Alberts says a child will only benefit from boarding school if both the parents and the child agree on the opportunities and experiences boarding school can offer. “It is important to break the fantasy that it will be all fun and games, because if a child goes to boarding school based on unrealistic and lopsided perceptions, the disappointments will be too difficult to deal with.” Van der Merwe-Alberts

Although Bridget’s overall experience of boarding school was positive, it first took her two agonising years to adjust. What with “a matron who would be better suited to a Roald Dahl novel” and the pang of missing Mom, she was on the phone to home in tears every day. With hindsight, Bridget feels this was because she was too young, being just 11 years old when she arrived at boarding school. Letebele feels that the first 13 years of a child’s life are important developmentally,

so the foundation should be laid at home, a place of unconditional love. Letebele learnt this the hard way as she was sent to boarding school in Grade 1, and saw her parents only twice a year – at Christmas and Easter. She has therefore ensured that Mashilo’s experience of boarding school is infinitely different from hers. So, he is a weekly boarder who comes home at weekends, speaks to his mom every day and only started boarding in high school. Just because your child is eager to go to boarding school, it does not mean he is eager to leave his parents, so the separation, if premature, can be devastating.

all things considered It’s not whether boarding school is right or not, it’s whether it’s right for your child. If you can stomach the idea, there are steps you can take that will make it a pleasurable, rather than miserable, experience. Before you send “Spud” packing, look at his weaknesses, strengths, his personality type and his extracurricular interests. Talk about boarding school far in advance, so you can deal with any fears or concerns. Make plans for staying in touch via a daily sms or regular Skype chats and encourage him to take reminders of home, such as a family photograph, to school.

August 2011



what is your child’s style? Make learning more enjoyable by understanding the way in which your child


osh, aged seven , does his homework with a whiteboard marker on the sliding door in the lounge. Sometimes he practices his writing in chalk on the street outside his house and he loves to recite his spelling words while doing star jumps. He is also thriving at school. But a few months ago, Josh’s teachers complained that he was unable to listen in class, follow instructions or complete tasks. His mother, Cindy Perry of Cape Town, says, “He wasn’t concentrating or finishing his work. He was talking too much and at other times, it was like he wasn’t there when the teacher was speaking.”


August 2011

Josh was often separated from the class, spending time at his desk while they were on the mat, for example. Concerned, Cindy initially had her son’s eyes and ears tested to see if there was a physiological explanation for his behaviour. She then called a GP who recommended, without even seeing Josh, that he be put on Ritalin for ADHD. Cindy was not keen to give her son medication, and not without a thorough examination, so she took him to Lindy Hearne, a speech therapist, for her advice. “Lindy made Josh read to her and gave him questions to answer. She also asked him to describe how he played

at school.” Josh gushed animatedly about the wonderful games he played on the playground, and Lindy realised that with his vivid imagination, he required some form of activity to be stimulated, explains Cindy. She suggested that Cindy find ways to do homework that would fit in with Josh’s particular style of behaviour. So, instead of forcing Josh to sit still at a desk, while he writes within the margins of a notebook, Cindy allows him to practise his letters on the sliding door. Sometimes, the tarred road is his workbook. “The freedom of that really appealed to him.” Spelling has been made more interesting

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processes information, says ANÉL LEWIS.

It’s not uncommon for children to be misdiagnosed as having ADHD and other learning difficulties, if their favourable style of learning does not fit in with the more structured learning modalities usually preferred by schools. by allowing him to chant while he does star jumps. “He loves it, and wants to do more.” She says there has been a definite improvement in Josh’s work and his confidence, since they modified his learning methods. Cindy has also given Josh plenty of positive encouragement, and adapted his diet to include more Omega-3 fatty acids. Lindy explains that she observed a mismatch between Josh’s learning style, which was movement-based or kinaesthetic, and the way in which he was being taught at school. This is why she suggested different ways of learning that would allow Josh to process information in a way that was comfortable for him.

what are learning styles? Melanie Hartgill, an educational psychologist from Johannesburg, says there are several different theories about how many learning styles exist. But there are three main learning pathways: visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and doing (kinaesthetic). “Three of our five senses are used primarily when learning, storing, recalling and retrieving information. Just as we are predominantly left or rightbrained, we tend to use one modality more than the others.”

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Visual learners learn best by seeing what is written on the board. They will enjoy writing and drawing, and will grow impatient listening to long lectures. Auditory learners have excellent listening skills and will often prefer to recite information, rather than write it down. Kinaesthetic or tactile learners prefer to be mobile and will often excel at hands-on activities such as experiments. Greg Crighton, an educational psychologist based at St Stithians Boys’ College in Johannesburg, says that a learning style is a preference. “There is a rigid perception that you are one or the other, but in reality all people are all three and can use all three.” Your child is probably a combination of all three, just to varying degrees. Glenda Karow, a Durban-based educational psychologist who specialises in learning problems, agrees. “Be careful not to ‘pathologise’ the learning style. It is a preference and not a problem.” She says children should be encouraged to develop various learning styles, which they can adapt depending on the subject being studied. “Students who are able to learn through a variety of ways are more effective learners. Remember, they will have to cope in a variable learning-style world.”

when can you tell? Karow says your child’s learning preference will manifest from an early age, as soon as he starts interacting with his environment and speaking. “Our learning style is believed to be relatively established by the age of seven years and though we are able to strengthen our styles after this age, we tend to have one dominant style,” Hartgill adds. But, having said that, how a child learns may often depend on what is being learnt. Science and maths, for example, will require a more kinaesthetic approach than history.

importance of knowing your child’s style Cindy would have spent thousands of rands on diagnostic tests, and medication for ADHD, if Lindy had not

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thought to change the way in which Josh approached his studies. Josh works better if he can move, so sitting on a ball instead of a chair, or doing star jumps as he learns to spell, is more suited to his learning style. Hartgill says that understanding your child’s learning style will let you know why they struggle in some areas and excel in others. “Knowing your child’s preferred style would allow you to help them enjoy the learning process.” Karow says it is useful to recognise your child’s style so that you can grow it, while encouraging the “not-so-easy” ways of learning. This will ensure your child is able to cope with various teaching styles and tasks at school, and later in life. Also, remember that what works well for one child may not necessarily work for another. Lindy agrees, saying that while teachers change each year, it is the parent who has to provide consistent learning support. “If a parent understands how to teach a child, the long-term prognosis is that much better.”

teachers who don’t cover all three (learning styles), but the teaching style will depend on the teacher – her age and her preferred teaching method,” notes Crighton. Hartgill says teachers should combine different teaching methods to meet the respective needs of their class. “This would mean verbally teaching a concept while making use of visual input, such as notes, handouts, information on the board and overhead and then allowing the children to work through examples or elements of the task themselves.” Karow says teachers may sometimes not understand the different learning styles. “Parents need to be advocates for their children, and suggest (alternative) ways for them to learn in the classroom.” Teachers with larger classes may find it difficult to accommodate varying learning styles, and often their flexibility will depend on their own learning style, says Lindy. Outcomes-based education (OBE) has encouraged teachers to explore different learning styles, says Karow. Most teachers

Parents need to be advocates for their children, and suggest alternative ways for them to learn in the classroom. She says it’s not uncommon for movement learners like Josh to be misdiagnosed as having ADHD and other learning difficulties, as their favoured style of learning does not fit in with the more structured learning modalities usually preferred by schools. Karow says an ADHD diagnosis should only be made after a thorough psycho-medical investigation. While a learning preference will not be the cause of a learning problem, or ADHD, parents of a child with such a difficulty should pay extra attention to his learning preference. Crighton says there may be cases where a child is misdiagnosed because of his learning style. “If the child is more visual, and the teacher just talks, the child may drift off.”

at school The experts agree that teaching has evolved to accommodate various learning preferences. “There are not that many


August 2011

will vary their teaching methods, tasks and requirements. Crighton agrees, saying OBE has allowed for more group work and practicals, which are especially beneficial to kinaesthetic learners. While the auditory or “good oldfashioned talking” is often the most popular mode of teaching, there is a growing emphasis on visual methods. “We had to listen to the radio, and some TV, but now with the internet, PlayStation and TV, children are far more visual,” says Crighton. So teachers are moving towards more visual ways of teaching, using interactive white boards and DVDs during their lessons. Often it is the parents who are stuck on the conventional modes of learning, observes Karow, but by trying something different, such as doing star jumps in the garden instead of sitting at a desk, you could encourage your child to discover a more comfortable, and rewarding, way of learning. magazine cape town

how to identify your child’s learning style or preference: Hartgill identifies the characteristics of the three main learning styles. Note that your child may show a stronger leaning to one of these styles, but is probably a combination of all three. the visual learner: • learns with images; • reads charts, diagrams and maps more easily; • can sit and play with building blocks; • may be described as a daydreamer; • is good at remembering faces but may forget names, and • prefers to take detailed notes. the kinaesthetic learner: • needs to move; • cannot sit still for long periods; • uses body language and gestures to communicate; • needs to be shown things, and not just explained to; • loves to touch things; • may be incorrectly labelled as ADHD; • usually excels in sports, and • is often evident in boys. the auditory learner: • thinks in words; • enjoys storytelling; • is unlikely to battle with spelling; • loves reading; • has an excellent memory for names, dates and trivia; • enjoys word games; • is often musically talented, and • doesn’t enjoy writing. Tips for parents and teachers: Karow recommends that you encourage your child to use as many senses as possible when learning. This could involve: • getting your child to pretend to teach, reciting out loud, at her desk or on her feet; • using paper, posters or a white board for homework or study; • drawing or writing (a mind map for example) as a visual demonstration of the work, and • taping the teaching session so that you can play it back later.

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learning guidelines Encourage the visual learner to: • use memory games, books with pictures and diagrams; • use coloured paper and pens; • highlight sections that are important; • work on the computer; • sit in the front of the class, and • learn through seeing or reading handouts.

Encourage the kinaesthetic learner to: • listen to music as they work, if they ask for this; • take frequent breaks to move around if needed; • tackle hands-on projects; • move around while they are working; • do art projects, and • act out stories.

Encourage the auditory learner to: • read aloud when writing tests and exams or studying; • create word problems; • dictate their work onto a computer dictation system; • present their assignments verbally; • encourage debates and discussions, and • use mnemonics to help their memory.

August 2011


book extract

banish boring lunch boxes Forget about soggy sarmies and humdrum fillings. MARGARET BARCA suggests four nutritious recipes that will turn snack-time into a gastronomic treat.

hammy pinwheels

popcorn muddle

Makes 6 pinwheels

Makes 4 cups

• 2 slices soft white or wholemeal bread • 2 tablespoons light cream cheese • 2 slices thin ham • bean sprouts (optional)

• 1 cup popping corn • 1 tablespoon oil • ½ cup dried apricots or peaches, chopped • ½ cup peanuts • ½ cup sultanas • ½ cup choc bits

1 Cut the crusts off the bread and


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bag for an easy school snack.

1  Pop corn in microwave roll) and press lightly to secure. Cut each roll into three pinwheels, and garnish with bean sprouts if desired. Tip: Pita or any other flat bread can be used for a looser roll-up.

PHOTOGRAPHS: julie renouf

lightly press each slice with a rolling pin to flatten. 2  S pread cream cheese on the bread, making sure to spread right to the edges. 3  Lay a slice of ham on each bread slice, then roll up (as for a Swiss

4  Pack in a small tub or Ziploc plastic

or saucepan, following directions on packet. 2  When cool, combine with the other ingredients. 3 Store in an airtight container.

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chicken and mango couscous salad

shredded cheddar and veggie roll-up

Makes 2 servings

Makes 2 roll-ups

dressing • 1 tablespoon light olive oil • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice • salt and freshly ground black pepper

• ½ cup grated Cheddar cheese • ½ cup grated carrot • 1 tomato, sliced • ½ small red capsicum, chopped • 2 pieces wholemeal pita bread • salt and freshly ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon tzatziki

salad • 1 cup couscous • 2 cups hot chicken stock • 1 small cucumber, chopped • 1 spring onion, finely sliced • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint • 1 mango, peeled and cut into cubes • ½ grilled chicken breast fillet, sliced or ¼ cold roast chicken, sliced • extra finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

1 To make dressing, whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

2 For the salad, put couscous in a

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Tip: Tzatziki is a Greek dip of yoghurt and cucumber. You can substitute ½ a cup of cream cheese, combined with ½ a teaspoon of crushed garlic. You can add any of your child’s favourite vegetables – cooked green beans, asparagus spears or grated courgette are just some of the options.

1  Layer cheese, carrot, tomato and

2 medium-sized bowl, pour hot stock over, cover tightly and leave for 5 minutes until stock is absorbed. 3  F luff couscous with a fork to separate grains. 4  Stir cucumber, spring onion, parsley, mint and dressing through the couscous. Then gently stir in the mango. 5  Divide couscous between two bowls or lunch containers, place chicken slices on top and sprinkle with extra parsley.

capsicum on half of each piece of bread. Season with salt and pepper if desired, and spoon tzatziki over. Roll up tightly and wrap well.

about the book Does your child bring home an unopened lunch box, or indulge in unhealthy, tuck shop snacks instead of eating the sandwiches you packed? It may be time to rethink the lunch box, advises Margaret Barca. She has compiled a Lunchbox Bible (Penguin Australia) brimming with healthy, time-saving recipes, to keep your children interested in their lunches. Many of the meals use leftovers and can be prepared the night before. Available at all good bookshops nationwide.

August 2011



the big day How do you know if your child has the necessary skills and maturity to start school? DONNA COBBAN finds out.


kept my child out of playschool until well after his third birthday, as I thought by the time we walked through the doors of his little school he would possess the inner strength he needed to be away from all that is familiar for a few hours. I was right, he slotted right in, comforting the criers and bossing the smaller ones. He could not have enjoyed it more... until I did not arrive on time to fetch him.

preschool first Bev Walker, head of Pandora’s Pre-Primary School in Durban, tells me that from a teacher’s point of view, “it is preferable to send the child to preschool the year before Grade R, to acquire valuable socializing skills”. She stresses that this time is one of settling into the emotional separation from the parents and is best done before starting in Grade R.

Other parents arrived and he witnessed reunion after delighted reunion. By the time I arrived, his quivering bottom lip had given way to heart-wrenching sobs. I made a point to never be late during that first term and now, three terms into the year, he knows I will always be there; sometimes a little earlier than some parents, sometimes a little later. While I am sure the experience didn’t damage him for life, it was something I could have easily avoided with a little foresight. It also left me wondering whether he had started school too early or too late.


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Redhill School in Johannesburg has found that in the preschool years, it takes about 10 days for new children to get used to a larger group of children, as well as going to school every day. The school encourages parents to collect their children before the mid-morning nap as they believe the rest routine is the most difficult for young children to master. A child has to feel safe and secure in his school environment before he will accept the need to lie quietly on his blanket. Most hiccups that occur later on in the term can magazine cape town


It is preferable to send the child to preschool the year before Grade R, to acquire valuable socializing skills.

be traced back to uncertainty or worry about being fetched on time or waking up in an unfamiliar environment.

“big” school prep According to SA law, a child must be in school by the time they are seven years old. A five-year-old may start school if they will turn six by the end of June in their Grade 1 year. But school readiness depends on more than just your child’s age. The Early Learning Research Unit (ELRU), based in Cape Town, suggests that the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of your child needs to be taken into account when preparing him for school. Anya Morris, a trainer at ELRU, says, “Parents try to teach their child basic numbers and letters and how to hold a pencil properly when the year preceding school needs to be filled with physical activity, as it is the large muscles that need to be developed in order for any child to successfully master a correct pencil grip.” So you should strongly encourage your child to spend his days before the start of school, running, climbing and bike riding. You also need to consider the mental aspect and “fill the year before school

with lots of book reading, drawing, games, shapes and colours”. Your child’s emotional needs must be nurtured and here the ELRU recommends that you shift your child onto a new schedule a few months before the school term starts.

letting go When the school day dawns, don’t, warns everyone I speak to, put any negative feelings you may have about school onto your child. Once you have dropped them at the school gates, leave quickly with as little hesitation as possible. Walker gives a valuable piece of advice here: “Do not allow the child to put his arms around you, as this will make it very difficult for you to leave and it makes the situation worse.” This happened to me once this year – my son came in for a last-minute cuddle on a difficult day and then hung on like a vervet monkey. While I did eventually manage to distract, disentangle and depart, it was a lesson learnt. Now when things might be tough on any given day, I give lots of love and hugs at home but keep the school goodbye as normal as possible.

when should your child start preschool? While intuition and necessity often play a large role, you can consider sending your child to preschool when he: • is able to ask for help and follow instructions; • can use the toilet with no or little assistance; • can play alone and with others; • can talk with confidence to other adults; • has “print awareness” – knows which way to hold a book – and has an interest in reading, and • is able to express his feelings.

ways to get your child school-ready • P  ractise dressing, so they can take a jersey and shoes on and off by themselves. • Spend time drawing, cutting, sticking and colouring. Work on puzzles together and encourage them to copy patterns and repeat stories back to you. • Teach your child how to tie his shoelaces and fasten shoes. • Practise sharing, taking turns and making choices. • Visit museums, art galleries, the aquarium and other places of interest. • Practise counting together. • Encourage your child to pack away their toys and help with tasks around the house. • Sing nursery rhymes, play rhyming games with real and made-up words and encourage your child to ask questions. • Organise social time with other children.

stories and advice from parents who have been there • “ I cried all the way to work about three times the first week, but was never called to come and fetch him as he was fine within minutes of me leaving.” • “When he switched schools he was fine from the outset – but I did send him with his father, who is firmer, for the first two days.” • “Granny forgot to fetch him on day three. It took him about two weeks to recover from that.” • “We read lots of books about kindergarten, so I think this helped, and we chose a nice bag and a fun drinking bottle and lunch box together.” • “The best advice is the hardest. Just give them a kiss, pass them to the teacher and go, despite all the screaming and clinging.”

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August 2011



beyond the classroom LUCILLE KEMP recommends fascinating, offbeat school outings that will keep children entertained while they learn.

Two Oceans Aquarium

Atlantic Rail steam train trip From Cape Town to Simon’s Town The group finds themselves in woodenbodied vintage coaches dating back to 1922. The train departs Cape Town Station in the morning, travelling past the Newlands rugby and cricket grounds to Muizenberg. The train then winds through the south peninsular coast passing Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Glencairn, and arrives in Simon’s Town, where the learners have a view of the naval dockyard. Spend some time in Simon’s Town, perhaps visiting Mineral World, before returning via the same route in the afternoon. Contact 021 556 1012, info@atlanticrail. or visit

Born2Fish school outings Western Cape coast The team focuses on marine education and conservation with fishing lessons where they touch on species identification, endangered species, size and bag limits and the proper handling of various kinds of fish. They also teach basic fishing knots, bait presentation as well as


August 2011

casting techniques, fishing ethics and the importance of maintaining a clean and litter-free environment. Born2Fish knows the Western Cape coastline well and will scout about for the best venue near your school. The lessons are ideal for children aged six to 16 years and may last from four hours to a full day, depending on the age of the group. Contact Troy: 084 283 2656, Brendan: 082 777 7475,, brendan@, or visit

Eagle Encounters at Spier Stellenbosch The centre receives birds that have been injured, poisoned, abused and hand-reared and their first priority, in every case, is to rehabilitate and release them as soon as possible. Only handreared birds are retained for education purposes. School groups can visit Eagle Encounters or the team will come to your

school. The programmes can be adapted depending on the age of the children, but it’s preferable not to have too much of an age range at one presentation. They prefer to take the young groups at 9:30am and there must be at least 10 children. As they are an outdoor venue, rainy weather requires re-scheduling. Contact 021 858 1826, 084 584 3684, or visit

Eskom Palmiet Visitor Centre Grabouw

Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre Canal Walk The Adventure Centre offers a range of activities and presentations. There is a toddler’s climbing wall and a seven-metrehigh climbing wall for older children, a tropical fish tank, rain and cold weather chambers to test expedition gear and a tarantula farm. The activities usually last two hours, taking place between 11am and 1pm. Contact Ashraf: cwac@capeunionmart. or visit

Ea gle En co un te rs at Sp ier

School groups can explore the fascinating world of hydro energy and discover the story behind the “switch” that turns on your lights and powers commerce and industry. Hydroelectric power stations can respond within minutes to an increased demand for electricity, and pumped storage schemes are used where water resources are scarce. At Palmiet, water that has been used to generate electricity is pumped back to a storage reservoir for re-use. Various guided tours of the power station, including a dizzying view into the 80-metre-deep machine shafts

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and the underground control room, are available, as well as tours of the rehabilitated fynbos environment and dams. Programmes are tailor-made to fit your school’s needs. Contact Liesel: 021 859 2690, liesel. or visit

Gold of Africa Barbier-Mueller Museum Cape Town The museum’s various programmes are all curriculum-based and hands-on. Tour themes that can be chosen are “life of a miner”, a time-travelling programme, a heritage programme and a goldsmith workshop. While some of the tours are age specific, they are generally suitable for learners from Grade 4 to 10. The programmes are two hours or three hours long for Grade 10 learners. Contact Bridgette or Nadia: 021 405 1540, or visit

Josephine Mill Newlands Plan a school tour of the museum where the age-old tradition of stoneground milling is demonstrated. The museum recreates the original watercourses to harness the power of the Liesbeek River and supply the water wheel. Learners are offered a rare insight into the methods and equipment devised to industrialise the production of flour. The Mill Museum, which is the pride of the Cape Town Historical Society, showcases the history of power and its evolution from water to steam to electricity and back again. Contact Tony: 021 686 4939, tony@ or visit

Kirstenbosch Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre Newlands For many teachers, the garden-based lessons form an integral part of the year’s

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work plan, with tasks and assessments linked to the school’s outing to Kirstenbosch. The curriculum comes alive as learners investigate relevant topics, including global warming, the wise and sustainable use of water and other resources, biodiversity adaptation and loss, how ecosystems work and what can destroy them, surrounded by the biodiversity of the garden. Lessons and activities are designed for Grades R to 12 and generally run in the mornings. Afternoons can be arranged by special appointment. Contact Michelle or Sally: 021 799 8670, or s.hey@ or visit

Ki rstenb osc h Go ld Fi eld s En viron me nta l Educ ati on Centre Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm

Klein Dennegeur Farm (Graceland Venues)



There is a guided tour of the ponds, which are home to more than 1 000 crocodiles, and learners can even touch a baby croc. School visits are suitable for Grades 0 to 7 and can take one to three hours. Contact Alzette: 021 863 1142, or visit

Learners listen to an educational talk about this farm where they can touch and feed the animals. Pony rides are available and there is access to the play park, which has jungle gyms, swings and rockers. The talk is suitable for children from preschool age to Grade 7. The water slides are only available between September and May. They are open from Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 1pm, for school outings. Contact Conny or Lucia: 021 863 4109, 072 264 4009 or

Reflectionz Equine Assisted Learning and Skills Development Durbanville Children can interact with horses in a unique way (no horse riding involved).

As horses use body language to communicate, they are naturally able to read human body language and respond appropriately. Activities often reveal important insights and equip children to apply certain life skills. Activities are age appropriate and sessions can be tailored to suit specific outing requirements. For example, the class can opt for a fun day out or focus on a specific issue, such as communication within the class or respect. The professionally trained and certified facilitators ensure the safety of children and horses at all times, and sessions take place in a quiet and healthy environment. The activities can form part of the Life Orientation curriculum and assessments can be done on-site. Children with

Below the Surface tunnel tour Oranjezicht The runoff from the Platteklip and Silverstroom Gorges converges at the foot of Table Mountain, and was once known as the Varsche River when it ran down the slopes of the mountain into the sea. This tour is an exploration of that once-open river, which now forms part of the city’s underground water catchment system. Upon arrival, each child gets a pair of gumboots and a headlamp before being briefed on the tunnel. They spend 75 minutes underground, sometimes as deep as four metres, and then emerge in the Castle’s grounds. This activity is suitable for children seven years and older; under 12 year olds need to be accompanied by a guardian. Contact 021 439 3329, or visit http://

August 2011



Honeybee Foundation Maitland School groups learn, through an amusing and entertaining programme, the role of the honeybee in nature and how these creatures affect the environment and our everyday lives. A video shows how to catch and hive a swarm of bees. Puppets tell a fun story and teach about life inside a beehive. Learners inspect live honeybees through the glass of an observation hive and see how they go about their various tasks. With honey tasting, school groups learn that bees make different types of honey from various plants. Teachers receive a follow-up package of age-appropriate material for their classes. The programme takes up to one-and-a-half hours. Contact Dominic: 021 511 4567, 072 919 8801 or

learning difficulties benefit tremendously from the specifically designed activities. This outing is suitable for ages seven and older. The programme can run from one hour to a full day. Contact 021 553 4348, info@reflectionz. or visit

Soetwater Environmental Educational Centre Kommetjie Qualified teachers, who are experts in their respective fields, run all excursions. You can choose one of the following activities: a fynbos hike; a rock pool study, which includes shell identification; an obstacle course and a swim in the ocean, depending on the tide; or a beach walk, which includes bird identification and a visit to the ancient Khoikhoi shell middens. Excursions are offered weekly from 9am to 1pm. There must be at least 25 learners for a day trip. Contact Sharon: 021 783 0242 or visit


August 2011

SPCA Farmyard Grassy Park This farmyard provides shelter and care for stray and confiscated livestock. Covering just over an acre, it has separate enclosures for cattle, goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits. The farmyard is an extension of the SPCA’s education programme and information boards throughout show the young farmers of tomorrow how to care for animals responsibly, as well as the benefits of sterilisation. They welcome school group visits, which are facilitated by a team of three full-time educators who can speak English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Contact SPCA Education Department: 021 700 4181, or visit

The Forge at Nicolas Lehmann’s Art Studio Newlands Nicolas reveals the ancient art of blacksmithing, taking children on a journey

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West Coast Fossil Park Langebaan Groups are given an introductory slide show and can visit a real palaeontological dig site where they will see bones as they were buried five million years ago. The tours and talks are relevant to school children of all ages. Add-on activities include a mock dig, where the children can unearth modern bones as if on a real palaeontological dig, and training to identify the bones of the various animals. The learners sieve real fossil material, which shows many different small animals such as elephant shrews, golden moles, frogs, fish, rats, mice, birds and tortoises. Most tours last two hours. Contact Wendy: 022 766 1606, eco@ or visit

Wijnland Auto Museum through time as he explains how this trade has evolved and adapted to the modern world. Ironmongery is a specialised trade that nowadays requires some knowledge of engineering, architecture, design and creativity; it is the art of transforming unique pieces of art into functional hardware. The studio has a showroom where art and hardware are displayed. The outing is ideal for children aged five and older. A maximum of 15 children is required if they are younger than 10. Contact Nicolas: 079 035 9534, or visit

Joostenberg Vlakte This museum has one of the country’s largest collections of classic and vintage cars, reportedly more than 400, and is often used for film and photo shoots. The cars spill out from the museum onto the lawn, and enthral children with an interest in history or automotives. Contact 021 988 4203

The White House Stables Tableview/Milnerton/Melkbosstrand School children aged five to 11 years are shown how to groom horses and ponies. They can feed carrots to the horses and are allowed to ride a pony. Two-hour visits are available from Monday to Friday, preferably in the morning, depending on the size of the group. Contact Colleen: 084 553 1556, colleen@ or visit

Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Education Centre V & A Waterfront Depending on the age of the learners, the team can offer a puppet show in their AfriSam Children’s Playcentre (suitable for Grade R) or a lesson in their Discovery Centre (suitable for Grades 1 to 12). Topics covered range from a fish dissection to an “underwater wonders” lesson about starfish, sea urchins and sea anemones. School groups can also do a self-guided tour of the aquarium. It takes a group about two-and-a-half hours should they attend a lesson in the Discovery Centre, while the self-guided tour takes about one-anda-half hours. Contact Carrin: 021 418 3823, schools@, aquarium@aquarium. or visit magazine cape town

The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre Tableview Booked wildlife programmes include interactive wildlife talks and the opportunity to view animals such as the tallest land animal, the biggest and smallest antelope, the biggest bird and the smallest tortoise in the world. All grades are welcome as talks are adapted to suit age-specific groups. The visit can take up to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the group. Contact Werner or Alma: 021 884 4506, or visit

August 2011


my story

room to grow CHRISTINA CASTLE reluctantly accepts her teenage son’s


y eldest son, Dylan, 13, immigrated last year – to his own room. It was his decision. He said that Alex, 10, kept him awake at night with his silly jokes, sleep talking, snoring and other bodily noises. Besides, he just wanted his own space, he said. Until then they had happily shared a room. And had pretty much done so since day dot. It was a simple room, but it was cosy and expressed just who “we” were – “we” being the operative word, of course. It had two white, limewashed beds with matching denim duvets piled high with teddy bears, a bookcase lined with all our old favourites, toys spilling out of baskets, dinosaur posters that had


August 2011

gradually replaced the Pooh pics, driftwood sailing boats floating across the walls and a row of monkey skulls sitting on the window sill (a lovely collection donated by my husband to the boys when he believed they were old enough to love it as much as he did). I called the look “bush meets beach”. And then the teen years entered into the equation. Actually, I was quite impressed that Dylan lasted as long as he did in that room. I think he secretly enjoyed the company at night – seriously, do boys ever grow tired of giggling and farting? But he longed for a spot where he could grow into a smelly teenager, and I just had to suck it up and go with it. Just how far I would go though, was the real question. So I decided to brainstorm the look of his new room with him. “I like sport” he said, “so I am going to have all my Manchester United players along this side of the room and the Stormers over here. Surfing posters will go over there. And my surfboard – I might hang it from the ceiling next to the punching bag.”

Not exactly my design choice but he was proud of it. At least girls in bikinis were not featuring – yet. Overnight it became the equivalent of a locker room – complete with sweaty rugby socks, jocks and jerseys, and empty Energade bottles working as accessories to complement the poorly placed Manchester United calendar cutouts and skew Stormers heroes. I call this look “smelly chaos” and cringe every time I walk in there. I often used to just sit in the boys’ old room, when they weren’t there, and soak it up. It felt safe and familiar. But Dylan’s room is foreign. He has immigrated to a different space – physically, emotionally and aesthetically. And as a mom, I just have to move with it. The other day I was chatting to my interior design guru friend and I offloaded my frustrations about Dylan’s room, hoping for some inspiring decorating advice. “What’s the problem?” she said. “What could be better? Delicious boys all over the walls? It would become my favourite room in the house.” And I think she may be right. I’m off to buy Dylan another poster of Jean de Villiers.

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move to his own bedroom with its “smelly-chaos” décor.

a good read


View our books blog at

educational books for early graders, pre-teens and teens Quiz Whiz – Nature (Kingfisher Books, R105) Fact-filled pages, bursting with colourful illustrations, introduce weather, climate, animal habitats and the environment to young learners. The book poses more than 300 questions, and provides the answers, to test learning in a simple but exciting way. Colourcoded clues ensure that no-one misses out on the fun. With lists of record-breakers at the end of each themed chapter, Quiz Whiz Nature has plenty to satisfy young minds. After studying each page and its photographs, children simply have to answer the questions and turn to the back to see if they are correct.

Active Learning – Children’s World Atlas Smart-Kids skills Grades 1 to 3 series: Multiplying and Dividing, Story Sums, Phonics and Spelling, and Adding and Subtracting (Pearson Education, from R39,95 each) This series helps children develop key skills from the South African curriculum. Each book has graded activities with step-by-step instructions and answers. Children will have so much fun working through these books with the lovable characters – Emma, Mandla, Jaco, Lebo, Ravi and Jody – that they won’t even know they’re learning. Experienced teachers, who believe that children should build their skills while developing a real love of learning, designed the Smart-Kids series.

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(Map Studio, from R110) This atlas boasts over 85 pages of colourful, easy-toread country-by-country maps, with interesting facts and figures and a reference index. Aimed at 10 to 15 year olds, the atlas contains the latest, updated mapping of the world. It includes physical, political, vegetation, human activities and time zone maps, and there is an informative introductory page for each continent. The Globeman character appears on the maps in his yellow Volkswagen Beetle, asking questions as he takes your child on a world tour.

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parenting books Ultimate Guide to Family Health By Dr Linda Friedland

Low Muscle Tone in Children By Pamela M.T. Dawson

Your Child Can Do Maths By Johan van Lil

(Pamela M.T. Dawson, from R120) The author qualified as a physiotherapist in 1987 and has since completed her Masters degree with research in Low Muscle Tone (LMT). Because LMT is a condition of idiopathic or unknown origin, the author felt it necessary to write this book. It outlines LMT as a clinical condition and fully describes the symptoms and how it is diagnosed. The physiotherapeutic management of this condition is fully discussed and it includes exercise plans. The book, written to be easily understood by parents, teachers and medical professionals, can be ordered via 031 763 3892, 082 578 9986 or

(Metz Press, from R120) Did you battle with maths at school and does your child have the same problem? Or, were you a maths whiz but now you have no idea how to help your child who is struggling? Then this book, written in easy-to-follow language with useful advice, is for you. Learn why maths is important, how to use movement to wire your child’s brain for maths success, how to ensure your child remains positive about maths, and what basic knowledge and concepts all children should master. The book shows you how to help your child do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as which general maths problems to watch out for.


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(Human & Rousseau, R299,95) This comprehensive, easy-to-use medical guide was written especially for South Africans. In it Dr Friedland explains how to prevent illness and what are the major health threats and what to do about them. She discusses common medical conditions and how to treat them as well as children’s, women’s and men’s health problems and the solutions. She also covers first-aid and trauma treatment. One section of the book provides the reader with solid preventative health tips and goes on to explain the different diseases South African families are likely to encounter, their symptoms and possible treatments. This essential guide is a must-have for all homes.

Brain Rules for Baby By John Medina

your s question d e r answe

(Pear Press, from R218) What is the most important thing you can do during pregnancy? What does watching TV do to a child’s brain? What is the best way to handle temper tantrums? Scientists know the answers. In his New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, John Medina showed us how the brain really works and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. In Brain Rules for Baby, he shares the latest scientific findings about how to raise smart and happy children from birth to the age of five. The book bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents actually do.

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what’s on in august

You can also access the calendar online at

Spring is on the horizon and Cape Town is buzzing with fun for the whole family. LUCILLE KEMP has compiled a list of activities to keep everyone happy.




Bay Harbour Market This new market bustles with all things nice.

Mixed media art classes Learn the basics and essentials of art making.

bump, baby & tot in tow– p50

how to help – p50

Adoption Support Movie Club Watch Losing Isaiah and discuss it.

Give an Adventure A fundraiser for underprivileged children.



SPECIAL EVENTS – p42 The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show The natural beauty of the region is shown through reconstructed landscapes featuring the plants and wild flowers of Clanwilliam.

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August 2011



SPECIAL EVENTS 4 thursday Klein Karoo Klassique A festival of classical music in Oudtshoorn that combines a topclass symphonic opera gala programme, classical choral works, chamber music performances, and vocal music ranging from the early baroque to highlights from the classical and romantic repertoires as well as a few lighter, more contemporary concerts. Also art exhibitions, regional food and wine. Ends 7 August. Time: varies. Venue: Oudtshoorn. Cost: from R80 per event. For more info: 044 203 8600, info@ or visit

5 friday Canola Karnaval The festivities include a mountain bike challenge, a marathon, 4X4 extreme, street soccer, productions,

4 August – Robertson Slow Festival


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SABC Education Baba Indaba The show is full of inspirational ideas, educational shows and information from expert exhibitors, which makes it fun for the whole family. There are Kiddy Tags, prizes every hour, daily Takalani Sesame shows, baby changing and breast-feeding facilities, and a bottle- and food-warming station. Ends 7 August. Time: 10am–6pm daily. Venue: CTICC. Cost: adults R50, children 6 years and older R20, children under 6 years free. Contact: 021 689 3262 or visit

a street stage, art, culture, a concert, expos, stalls, liqueur tours, adventure, a wheelchair race, an entertainment tent, a fashion parade and helicopter flips. Time: starts on Friday 9pm–Saturday 11:30am. Venue: Swellendam. Cost: tbc. For more info: visit First annual Greyton Book Club Festival A literary and social gathering for book clubs and book lovers. The varied programme features readings from renowned local authors, workshops, tips on approaching new reading material, walking tours, exhibitions, and chocolate tastings. Participating writers include Lauren Beukes, Margie Orford, Christopher Hope and Jason Drew. Ends 7 August. Time: varies. Venue:

5 fri

is on Sunday. Ends 7 August. Time: varies. Venue: Route 62, Robertson Wine Valley. Cost: R40–R600 per event. For more info, a full programme of events, as well as booking details, contact: 023 626 3167, or visit

6 saturday

Greyton, Overberg. Cost: priced per event, from free–R230. Contact Liezel: 079 350 9658 or visit Robertson Slow Festival Guests can look forward to dinner at the homes of winemaking families, cooking traditional Robertson country fare. As always, wine is central to the weekend and there is ample opportunity to meet with the winemakers and to taste and discuss their wines. The weekend includes some great options where you can learn to make salami, try your hand at making pasta or bake your own vetkoek. Other activities include horse riding, boating, and fynbos and renosterveld walks as well as Nordic hiking. The fourth annual Regional Food Market

Hermanus Wine and Food Festival Nominated one of the 10 best wine shows in South Africa, you can taste more than 200 wines – from Elgin to Elim. Ends 8 August. Time: 12pm–6pm. Monday ends at 5pm. Venue: Hemel-en-Aarde Village, Hermanus. Cost: R95 per day and R200 for a weekend pass. Free entry to the food marquee. Contact Paul or Cathy: 028 316 3988 or 

9 tuesday Women’s Day Challenge A fun run/walk to celebrate all women and the vital role that they play in society. The organisers, Edgemead Runners, have introduced a 4,2km mini-marathon, which replaces the 5km race. There is also the 10km race, which is run around the surrounding suburbs of Plattekloof, Bothasig and Monte Vista. There are loads of lucky draw prizes to be won with the main prize being two flights to any South African destination. Time: 8am. Venue: N1 City Mall. Cost: club members: 10km run/walk R35, 4,2km run/ walk R35. Non club members: 10km run/

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walk (including temporary license) R50, 4,2km run/walk R35. Contact: 021 595 1170, or visit Women’s Day Expo A networking opportunity to help you as a sole proprietor, small business or consultant showcase your products or services. This is a great way to increase your client database and also to sell your products. Entertainment is provided for the children and lots of tasty treats are available to sample and buy. Time: tbc. Venue: Musgrave Rd Hall, 22 Old Kendall Rd, Diep River. Cost: exhibitor R250, adult entry R20, children over 6 years R10. Contact Carmen: 084 728 9280, Bev: 082 457 1057 or pizazzevents.

12 friday Gravity Adventure Festival On Sunday there is a route specifically designed for children, which follows a 1km trail run, 4km mountain bike route and 300m flat water paddling event. Ends 15 August. Time: children’s race, 9:30am–11:30am. Venue: festival hub, Palmiet Caravan Park. Cost: R50 for all events. Contact: 021 683 3698 or visit

19 friday Sammy’s Adventures premieres at Nu Metro cinemas As he scrambles to the sea shortly after his birth on a beach in California, Sammy the sea turtle finds and

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loses the love of his life, a pretty hatchling called Shelly. On the epic journey across the oceans that all turtles accomplish before returning to the beach where they were born, Sammy dodges every danger in the hope of meeting Shelly again. With best buddy Ray, he sees close up how humans are hurting the planet. He battles with piranhas, escapes a fish eagle and searches for a mysterious secret passage. Will Sammy ever find Shelly again?

20 saturday Baby Sense Seminars Baby Sense brings together the top baby care experts who address parents and parents-to-be with practical and useful advice on all aspects of baby care, from birth options, feeding, sleep, health, massage and development. Time: morning sessions 8am–12:30pm (baby), afternoon session 1pm–5:30pm (pregnancy). Venue: Westin Grand Hotel. Cost: R240 for one session, R400 for both sessions. Contact: 021 461 4669, or visit

wild flowers from the Clanwilliam area. Clanwilliam has the largest variety of wild flowers in one district in the world due to the vastly differing topography of the area, which incorporates a dry and arid Karoo environment and marshlands found at the foot of the Cederberg and Pakhuis mountains. Over 400 species from 38 different plant families are displayed at the show every year, many of them exclusive to the area. Ends 31 August. Time: 8:30am–6pm. Venue: Clanwilliam. Cost: adults R30, pensioners R25 and children R5. Tour guides have free entrance with 10 people or more. Contact Sue at Clanwilliam Wild Flower Society: 027 482 2613, or 027 482 2024, or visit

27 saturday BabyGym Roadshow A national roadshow, presented by Dr Melodie de Jager on brain development, milestones and learning. Topics include “Massaged babies sleep deeper and feed easier”, “An open nose, taste buds, ears and eyes make baby clever”, “Suckling, rolling, sitting, grasping, crawling and walking milestones are crucial to school readiness” and “Building baby’s self-esteem and vocabulary”. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: King of Kings Baptist Church, cnr Sunnydale Rd and Buller Louw Dr, Sunnydale. Cost: R180. Contact Marlise: 073 145 4369, marlise.howell@ or visit McGregor Country Tastes Food and Wine Festival Sample the valley’s wines and experience the very best culinary

25 thursday The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show Takes place amid the exceptional ambience created by the Neo-Gothic architecture of the old Dutch Reformed building, the Flower Church, and illustrates the natural beauty of the region through reconstructed landscapes featuring the plants and

20 August – Baby Sense Seminars

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26 fri

Canal Walk Home and Property Expo To help you buy the perfect property and to bring out the best in your home. Create contemporary living spaces, choose from a variety of property options or meet suppliers who can assist you in achieving your dream home. Or consider an exciting revamp to your kitchen or bathroom, the latest in furniture and décor, trendy flooring, security options, a Jacuzzi for your garden or go green with the latest in solar panels. Ends 28 August. Time: 9am–9pm. Venue: Canal Walk. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 914 2852, 083 456 2879 or

produce that the town has to offer. Some of the cellars discount their wines by 25% and some offer this year’s recently bottled gems to the public for the first time. Talk one-on-one with the helpful winemakers and owners of the estates. There are local cheeses, organic vegetables, food and wine pairings, breads, brioche, local olives and soups as well as the more sophisticated culinary fare of local restaurants who attend, offering festival weekend specials. Time: 10:30am–5pm. Venue: NG Church Hall, Bedouin Tents and Gardens, McGregor. Cost: R50, which includes a magnificent lead crystal tasting glass. Contact: 023 625 1954 or visit Youth Spirit Awards An awards evening recognising youth between the ages of 14 and 19 years, who are making a difference in their community through service to others, featuring performances by the Angel City Chorale. Time: 6pm. Venue: Auditorium Two, CTICC. Cost: adults R100, under 12 year olds R50. Contact Michelle: 021 462 5052, or visit

sweet potato muffins, carrot soufflé and more. Time: “I can do it myself” programme: 6–10 year olds Tuesday 3pm–4pm; Little Chefs: 3–6 year olds Wednesday 1pm–2pm and 3pm–4pm, Thursday 3pm–4pm; 2–10 year olds Saturday 10am–11am. Venue: Constantia venue to be confirmed. Cost: R680 per term or R90 per class if space available. Contact Chene: 083 649 7405, or visit Free children’s product workshop The workshop is to prepare the children for the Magic Market Day in September. 6 August. Time: 9:30am–11am and 11:30am–12:30pm. Venue: near Primi Piatti, Canal Walk. Cost: free. Contact: 083 310 9765 or

FUN FOR CHILDREN 6 August – Free children’s product workshop

art, culture and science Free two-hour introductory fabric painting workshop For adults and children. 20 August. Time: 8:45am–10:45am. Venue: Pinelands. Cost: R30 per kit. Contact Wendy: 021 531 8076, 082 391 4954 or wendyadriaan@ Italian theme lab Learn to speak Italian by participating in fun activities and creative workshops. 6, 13, 20 and 27 August. Time: 11am–12pm, every Saturday. Venue: Scuola Italiana del Capo, 1st floor The Grimley, 14 Tuin Plein St, Gardens. Cost: R60 per lesson or R200 per month. Contact: 021 461 8261 or

classes, talks and workshops Constantia Tots n Pots A fun-filled, hands-on cooking and baking workshop experience, cooking mac and cheese,


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Happy holistic children’s programme This teaches children and their parents how to use holistic skills in their everyday lives to deal with aggression, anxiety and anger. Programme outline: Happy Breath: breathing techniques; Happy Talk: affirmations and positive praise techniques; Happy Me: ways to deal with anger, anxiety and aggression; Happy Quiet Time: meditation and relaxation skills; Happy Yoga: poses to stretch and bend. Time: call to enquire. Venue: 21 Gideon Malherbe Crescent, Edgemead. Cost: R375 for two one-hour sessions including kit. Contact: 082 466 7925 or Kumon free trial The learning programme develops study skills and concentration and focuses on maths and English. Free trial is 22 August–2 September. Contact: 0800 002 775 or visit magazine cape town

Talent auditions for Magic Market Day Singers must bring their own backing track, without vocals. 20 August. Time: 9am. Venue: Canal Walk Auditorium. Cost: free. Contact: 083 310 9765 or patti@

family outings Robertson Slow Festival 5–7 August. Time: varies. Venue: Route 62, Robertson Wine Valley. Cost: R40–R600 per event. For more info, a full programme of events, as well as booking details, contact: 023 626 3167, or visit The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show 25–31 August. Time: 8:30am–6pm. Venue: Clanwilliam. Cost: adults R30, pensioners R25 and children R5. Tour guides have free entrance for 10 people or more. Contact Sue at Clanwilliam Wild Flower Society: 027 482 2613,, 027 482 2024, or visit

finding nature and outdoor play Cape mountain discovery tour August special Discover Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve by 4X4. The two-and-a-half hour guided trip explores deep into the pristine fynbos areas, every morning and afternoon daily. Available on the weekends of 6–7, 16–17 and 30–31 August. Venue: meet at Elgin Country Club. Cost: R200 per person, including snacks and refreshments. Contact: 021 859 1989, or visit Weekly drumming workshop with Drumkidz Every Thursday during school term, Drumkidz gets children drumming with Djembe drums, singing to stories and songs and playing loads of drumming games in this action-packed, high-energy workshop. For children 3–10 years. Time: 1:30pm and 2:30pm. Venue: Church of Christ, cnr Irene Ave and Lourendsford Rd, Somerset West. Cost: R40 for 30 minutes of high-energy drumming or R120 for four consecutive weeks. Contact Lana: 071 871 5839 or

markets Bay Harbour Market This new market on the Cape Town scene is truly bustling with metal artists at work, a juggler on stilts, the smell of fish on the braai, Malaysian spices and citrus fruits on sale, and performances from the likes of a poet and a jazz saxophonist. Time: 4pm–9pm, Friday; 9am–5pm, Saturday; 10am–4pm,

Sunday. Venue: 31 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: free entry. Contact: 083 275 5586 or visit City Bowl Market on Hope This foodie market stocks everything from oysters and champagne to sushi. Time: 9am–2pm, every Saturday. Venue: 14 Hope St, Gardens. Cost: free entry. Contact: 073 270 8043, or visit

City Bowl Market on Hope

Earth Fair Market Time: Tokai market opens every Saturday 9am–2pm and every Wednesday 3pm–8pm. St George’s Mall is open every Thursday 11am–5pm. Venues: St George’s Mall market is off Wale St and Church St. Tokai market is in the South Palms Centre. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit Elkanah House Schoolyard Market Enjoy the many sights, warm fires and aroma of fresh coffee while browsing the interesting stalls and a range of deliciously prepared gourmet food, art and crafts. There are also plenty of fun activities to keep the little ones occupied while you indulge in the well-known Schoolyard breakfast. 27 August. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Elkanah House, 85 Sunningdale Dr, Sunningdale. Cost: free entry. Contact Michelle: 021 554 8586, or visit Nitida Farmer’s Market Choose from Italian, Thai and Portuguese fare as well as biltong, pies, sauces and condiments, fresh veg and baked bread, free range eggs and chicken. 27 August. Time: 8am–12:30pm. Venue: Nitida Cellars, M13/Old Tygervalley Rd, Durbanville. Cost: free entry. Contact Getha: 083 651 0699, or visit Sarda annual antiques fair There is a variety of dealers in Cape furniture, jewellery, European furniture, and retro, porcelain, silver and collectibles, who are happy to discuss and offer suggestions on how to merge modern with antique or to go about finding what you specifically want. All

Constantia Tots n Pots

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August 2011


calendar funds go to the South African Riding for the Disabled Association. 19–21 August. Time: 6pm–9pm, Friday; 10am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Alphen Hall, Constantia Main Rd, Constantia. Cost: Friday R40 entry, which includes a glass of wine and cocktail snacks. Saturday and Sunday R20. Contact Elaine: 072 330 9193 The Bay Food and Wine Market A family-friendly, quality food and wine market with a child-friendly outside area and children’s zone incorporating sand art, face painting, play dough and many other fun-filled activities. Time: 9:30am–2:30pm, every Saturday. The night market is on 5 August, 5pm–9pm. Venue: Victoria Mall, cnr Victoria Rd and Empire Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: free entry. Contact Claire: 082 385 0915 or Philippa: 079 553 9320 or visit

5–8 August – The Caretaker by the Zip Zap Circus


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on stage and screen A Stinking Good Idea The Elkanah House Preparatory presents this show. 23–25 August. Time: 7pm. Venue: Theatre@ Elkanah, Sunningdale. Cost: R30. For more info: visit Hannah & Miley: Best of Both Girls tribute show This is an energetic and interactive tribute to Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus. 20 August. Time: 12pm. Venue: Grand West Casino, Goodwood. Cost: R90– R250. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit Sammy’s Adventures premieres at Nu Metro cinemas 19 August. As he scrambles to the sea shortly after his birth on a beach in California, Sammy the sea turtle finds and loses the love of his life. The Caretaker An original Zip Zap Circus School show combines theatre, dance and

circus. Set in a quaint apartment block inhabited by some interesting young people, the show focuses on the caretaker and a homeless soul. 5–8 August. Time: 2pm or 6pm. Venue: Zip Zap Dome behind Artscape Theatre. Cost: R60 for children 3 years and older. Contact Natasha or Zizipho: 021 421 8623, or visit http://

playtime and story time Bizzy Bodies indoor play park For children 1–12 years old. Time: Monday– Saturday 10am–5pm. Venue: Bizzy Bodies, 23 Bell Crescent, Westlake Business Park, Tokai. Cost: R40 for one hour. Contact: 021 702 0505 or visit Book Lounge Children’s story time every Saturday. Time: 11am. Venue: 71 Roeland St. Cost: free. Contact: 021 462 2425 Bugz Family Playpark An indoor and outdoor park with sandpits, pedal cars, jumping castles, rowing boats, jungle gyms and a choo-choo train. Time: 9am–5pm, daily. Venue: Bugz Playpark, Kraaifontein. Cost: R20; babies that can’t yet walk enter free. Contact: 021 988 8836 or Kidz Discovery baby and toddler workshops Covers all aspects of early childhood development from babies of 3 months up to preschoolers aged 5. Time and cost: call to enquire. Venue: The Drive, Camps Bay. Contact Kathy: 083 654 2494,

or visit Enquire about the BrightStart Preschool Preparedness programme for 2 to 5 year olds. Little Birdy Bookshop story time Time: 12:30pm, every Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Main Rd, Greyton. Cost: free. Contact: 079 350 9658 Millstone Farmstall and Café Offers an outside area and horse riding. Time: 9am– 5pm, Tuesday–Sunday. Venue: Alexandra Rd, Oude Molen Eco Village, Pinelands. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 447 8226 Rondebosch Library story time Every Wednesday and Friday for preschoolers 3–5 years old. Time: 10am. Venue: St Andrews Rd. Contact: 021 689 1100 Slatterys This restaurant has an outdoor play area and inside play corner. Time: 9am–10pm, Tuesday–Saturday; 9am–4pm, Sunday. Venue: Unit 4, Oude Westhof Village Square, Van Riebeeckshof Rd, Durbanville. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 913 7753/4, or visit Supafun An indoor play venue with scooters and animal bouncers, a jungle gym, trampoline, playhouses, fantasy dress-up and more. Time: 10am–6pm, Monday–Friday; 10am–5pm, Saturday; 11am–3pm, Sunday; 10am–2pm, public holidays. Venue: shop 23, The Paddocks, Racecourse Rd, Milnerton. Cost: R40 per child − unlimited play supervised by parent; R40 per child per hour − drop-andshop. Contact: 021 552 4776 or visit

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sport and physical activities Capoeira for Kids A Brazilian art form that combines gymnastics, music and dance. Classes for 5–7 years: 2pm–3pm, Tuesday; 9am–10am, Saturday. Classes for 8 years and older: 4pm–5:30pm, Tuesday; 10am–11am, Saturday. Venue: first floor, Dental House, 56 Castle St (off Long St). Cost: call to enquire. Contact Frajola: 071 245 1441, Ed: 079 073 2117 or visit Giants Gymnastics Fun-filled classes for children aged 3 and older. The classes develop coordination, flexibility, strength, discipline and confidence. Time: varies; classes take place Monday to Wednesday and Saturday. Venue: Blouberg Primary School. Cost: call to enquire. Contact Donna: 082 294 3276, or visit

Ryan Maron’s Cricket School of Excellence

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Gravity Adventure Festival On Sunday there is a route specifically designed for children. 12–15 August. Time: 9:30am–11:30am. Venue: festival hub, Palmiet Caravan Park. Cost: R50 for all events. Contact: 021 683 3698, adventure@ or visit Learn2Surf North-west winds are best for Muizenberg’s surf, making winter the ideal time to learn this sport in Cape Town. There are private or small group lessons and surfing courses on offer. Equipment rental is available, provided you’re a member of their surf club. Contact: 083 414 0567 or Oude Molen Distillery MTB challenge The challenge comprises three routes: the 10km route is ideal for the entire family. The 35km section includes a variety of surfaces and trails, and some technical sections without the major climbs, while the 60km route has a sweeping jeep track and a variety of single tracks followed by challenging trails and an assortment of climbs. 21 August. Time: tbc. Venue: Oude Molen Distillery, Grabouw. Cost: 60km R140, 35km R90, 10km R45. Contact: 086 138 3591, or visit Ryan Maron’s Cricket School of Excellence Off- and in-season individual and group cricket coaching improves your child’s batting, bowling and fielding skills and enhances their knowledge of the game. For children aged 6–16 years. Time: by

Noordhoek Farm Village activities 6 August: magic fun; 13 August: recycled material craft day; 20 August: puppet mania day; 27 August: baubles and beads. Ideal for children 3–10 years. Time: 10:30am–12:30pm. Venue: The Bandstand, Noordhoek Farm Village. Cost: free. Contact: 021 789 2812 or visit

arrangement. Venues: Rondebosch Boys’ High School; Jan van Riebeek Primary School, Gardens; Parklands College; Bastion Primary School, Brackenfell; Van der Stel Cricket Club, Stellenbosch. Cost: individual R220 per hour, group R60 per hour per person. Contact: 021 671 9460, 082 491 7506 or visit Spur High Schools Mountain Bike League A fun race where riders can compete as individuals while earning points for their respective high schools. Ideal for children of all ages. 6 August. Time: 9:30am. Venue: Montana High School, Worcester. Cost: R40. Contact Nicolene: 021 884 4547, or visit Totalsports Ladies’ Race Women countrywide join forces to show solidarity and support during National Women’s Month by competing in either a 5km or 10km run/walk. Moms with prams

are welcome and dads and children are encouraged to join in. 9 August. Time: 8am. Venue: Coetzenburg Stadium, Plein St, Stellenbosch. Cost: varies. Contact: 021 511 7130 or visit

only for parents classes, talks and workshops Becoming more present as a parent Keriesa Botha’s workshop teaches how to deal with your inner critic, how to listen with empathy, how to practice emotional intelligence, and be more present as a parent. 6 August. Time: 9am–4:30pm. Venue: Imhoff Waldorf High School, Kommetjie. Cost: R200. Contact Keriesa: 084 608 1304 or Church-on-Main antenatal course For prenatal information and postnatal

August 2011


calendar support for pregnant parents. 23 July–20 August. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Churchon-Main, Werdmuller Centre, Main Rd, Claremont. Cost: R450 per couple. Contact Jane: CPR and first aid classes If your child stopped breathing, would you know what to do? 13 August. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Cape Town Medi-Clinic, Hof St. Cost: R250 (subsidised by Cape Town Medi-Clinic). Contact Daniele: 084 593 2314, or visit Learn CPR and save a life CPR course for parents, childminders and au pairs. Discovery Health members earn Vitality Points. 6 and 13 August. Time: 10am–12pm. Venue: Pinelands. Cost: R220. Contact LeeAnn: 021 531 4182 or 072 283 7132

Sugarcraft cake decorating classes

Mixed media art classes Explores basic techniques and mixed media, introduces the essentials of art making, and the use of different techniques and media such as pencil, ink and jik, pen and ink, acrylic ink, gouache, acrylic paint and silicon rubber. Time: 9:30am–12pm, every Friday. Venue: Kirstenhof. Cost: students commit to five weeks at R190 per class. For new students a deposit of R950 applies. Contact: 021 702 0510, 083 472 8368 or visit Mommy makeover classes Out of breath and can’t keep up with your children? Need to lose some weight after giving birth? Freedom Fitness is running a fitness class in the comfort of your home. All fitness levels catered for. 6, 13, 20 and 27 August. Time: by arrangement. Venue: southern suburbs. Cost: first class is free. Contact Paul: 079 173 6414 Reflexology workshop for parents This one-of-a-kind workshop is aimed at teaching parents the basic principles of reflexology and self-help techniques for childhood illnesses such as colic, colds and teething. The workshop also covers selfhelp techniques for ADHD and emotional problems. Day one covers theory and practical application of the reflexology techniques and day two is a practical recap. 13 and 14 August. Time: day one 9am–1pm, day two 9am–11am. Venue: Equal Zeal Life Studio, Parklands. Cost: R500. The cost of the

Growing tennis programmes The Athletic Development Programme for children aged 3–6 years develops fundamental athletic skills such as agility, balance, coordination and speed. The mini tennis programme for children 4–7 years develops the serve, return, backhand, forehand, volley, smash, baseline and court drills along with athletic skills. Cost: R3 000 per annum or R960 per quarter/term. For members, the mini tennis programme costs R540 per annum. Enquire about the achievement programme for ages 8 to 18 years and the advanced high performance programme for those in the same age group who want to become very good players. Venues: Sea Point Tennis Club, Portman Rd, Bantry Bay; Gardens Tennis Club and Glen Country Club, Camps Bay. Contact: 083 274 8682 or

workshop includes a manual, a foot chart and a practical session. For more info: visit or Sugarcraft cake decorating classes Cupcakes by Design’s Grace Stevens gives you various ideas for cake decorating. All classes include materials, course notes, coffee, tea and biscuits. 2 August: flower

fairy class 9am–12:30pm R495; 6 August: cake sculpture class 10:30am–2:30pm R895; 9 August: standing princess class 9am–12:30pm R695; 16 August: flowers for cupcakes 9am–12:30pm R600; 20 August: teddies and toys figure modelling 10:30am–2:30pm R495; 23 August: quick roses cake topper 9am–12:30pm R495; 30 August: bride and groom figure modelling

family marketplace


August 2011

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9am–4pm R695. Venue: Kenilworth. Contact Fadia: fadia@cupcakesbydesign. or visit Sugar and Spice Nanny Training Empower your domestic worker with all the skills, knowledge and confidence she needs to care for your baby in a loving and safe environment. Nanny training starts in Panorama on 30 August: 2pm–5pm, for four Tuesdays. It also starts in Claremont on 31 August: 1:30pm–4:30pm, for four Wednesdays. Cost: call to enquire. Contact Caithe: 071 366 4725, caithe@nannytraining. or visit The Joy of Motherhood seminar Talks cover the topics “Raising children with resilient self-esteem from day one” and “Putting the joy back into motherhood”. 27 August. Time: 8:30am–1pm. Venue: East Claremont Congregational Church, 32 Markham Rd, Claremont. Cost: R40. Contact Joanne: 073 544 8265 or visit

27 August – The Joy of Motherhood seminar

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on stage and screen Defending the Caveman Alan Committie stars in the all-time favourite date comedy that explores the reasons why men don’t like to ask for directions and why girls need so much cupboard space. 10 August–10 September. Time: 8pm. Venue: Theatre on the Bay, Camps Bay. Cost: R115–R150. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit Living Remote: Bertha’s Guide to Life, Love and Pharmaceuticals Delight in Bertha’s observations, antics and irreverent sense of humour. She explores the lighter side of ageing and the delights of roaming the Wynberg pharmacy for the latest geriatric accessories. 24 August– 24 September. Time: 8:30pm, Wednesday– Saturday. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R110. Contact: 073 220 5430 or visit Masque Theatre Festival Various productions are presented. For a brief synopsis of each show visit the website. 7 August: Rock ’n Rouge 7pm. 12 and 13 August: Together at Last 2:30pm, 6:30pm or 8pm. 18–20 August: Dancing thru Time 2pm and 7pm. 24–28 and 31 August: Hairspray 2:30pm, 3pm, 6:30pm and 8pm. Venue: Masque Theatre, 37 Main Rd, Muizenberg. Cost: R55–R75. Contact: 021 788 1898, or visit Nando’s Comedy Festival With commedians Mark Eddie, Dan Cummins,

11 August – Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase

Michael Loftus, Greg Behrendt, Ndumiso Lindi and Pablo Francisco. Funds raised go to the Skyla-Rose Benefit Fund. 9 August. Time: 6:30pm. Venue: Artscape Theatre, DF Malans St, Foreshore. Cost: R200, including cheese and wine. Contact Artscape Dial-a-Seat: 021 421 7695 Rose with Fiona York Rose is a sharply drawn portrait of a feisty Jewish woman and the events that shaped a century. Ends 6 August. Time: 8:30pm, Wednesday– Saturday. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R110. Contact: 073 220 5430

out and about Auto Expo Catch a glimpse of the latest automobiles and accessories. 16–22 August. Time: 9am–7pm, Monday–Friday; 9am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday. Venue: N1 City Mall. Cost: free entry. Contact Bronwyn: 021 595 1170

Mystery Ghost Bus Tour Ghost stories and poltergeists, with pub stops and dowsing rods. Remember to bring pub money, a torch and camera. 6 August. Time: 7pm. Venue: Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront. Cost: R295. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) Auction Showcase The showcase affords you the opportunity to taste these rare auction wines as well as other acclaimed flagship wines in a relaxed, walk-around tasting hosted by the winemakers themselves. You can also bid on rare signed bottles from previous Guild Auction wines. 11 August. Time: 6pm–9pm. Venue: CTICC. Cost: R150, including a tasting glass. Contact: 021 852 0408, or visit

August 2011


calendar TCD Trust fundraiser dinner Be entertained by DJ René and raise funds for RGG Crèche in Philippi to buy a Wendy house. 26 August. Time: 6:30pm for 7pm. Venue: Mount Nelson Hotel. Cost: R295, including a three-course meal, wine and coffees. Contact: 079 899 2294 or

their book and CD. 3 August–7 September. Time: 7pm–9:30pm, every Wednesday. Venue: Mama Bamba, 101 St James Place, 39 St James St, Vredehoek. Cost: R1 800 per couple. Contact Amanda: 021 461 8257, or visit

playtime and story time

support groups Allergy Society of South Africa The organisation advances the knowledge and practice of allergy and immunology. Contact: 021 447 9019 or visit Angelman Syndrome support Contact Shawn or Alida: 039 737 4613, 083 635 0237 or Epilepsy South Africa They have counselling services and support groups have been formed. The Share and Care Programme aims to help people with epilepsy get information about surgery. Contact: 021 703 9420, wcape@epilepsy. or visit Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of South Africa They offer emotional support and genetic counselling. Through newsletters, members are kept informed of all activities and receive research updates. Contact: 021 592 7306 (weekday mornings), or visit For the Parent Project contact Maxine: 083 662 2189 or Sms information service for disabled people Helps anyone via text message to find their nearest rehabilitation centre or other disability services. Send a short text to 072 172 2623 with your name, town, disability and the information you need. They reply and tell you how to contact your nearest resource. South African Inherited Disorders Association (SAIDA) An umbrella organisation for support groups of most inherited disorders. For more info: visit

James Blunt Some Kind of Trouble Tour This five-time Grammy award nominee has many hits, which include “Goodbye My Lover”, “1973” and “You’re Beautiful”. 30 August. Time: 7pm. Venue: Grand Arena, Grand West, Goodwood. Cost: R272–R501. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit

Time: 7:30pm–9:30pm. Venue: 12 Victoria Rd, Plumstead. Cost: R750 per couple. Contact Andrea: 021 761 9623, info@ or visit Incredible Babies The centre offers moms, dads or carers the chance to get together socially and listen to a speaker on a topic of interest once a month. Midwife Cred also does home visits in the southern suburbs offering postnatal services, general feeding and breast-feeding support, weighing and developmental checks. Time: 10:30am. Venue: 12 Victoria Rd, Plumstead. Cost: R50. Contact Cred: 083 303 5552 or info@ La Leche League’s breast-feeding support groups Panorama: Monday 1 August, contact Carol: 021 558 5319 or Irma: 084 258 8203, 10am. Durbanville: bump, baby & Tot in tow Tuesday 2 August, contact Trudy: 021 913 2816 or Tiffany: 021 913 3586, 10am. classes, talks and workshops Parklands Intercare: Wednesday 24 August, Birth Options antenatal classes During contact Simela: 021 553 1664, 10:30am. the course some topics covered include Milnerton Medi-Clinic: Tuesday 2 August, stages of labour, pain, newborn care and contact Juliet 021 556 0693, 9:30am. breast-feeding. 17 August–21 September. Parow: Wednesday 17 August, contact Dilshaad: 021 930 2475. Time: 10am. Cost: free. For more info: visit Parent Centre moms-tobe and moms and babies group Time: 10am–12pm, every Thursday. Venue: Kingsbury Maternity Hospital, Wilderness Rd, Claremont. Cost: R40, including refreshments. Contact: 021 762 0116 or The Mama Bamba Way sixweek evening antenatal course Birth preparation classes for creating an empowering and transformative birth experience for women, their partners and their babies. The course consists of 15 hours of group instruction, a copy of The Mama Bamba Way six-week evening antenatal course


August 2011

Mom’s Club For moms and babies. At least once a month there is a speaker on a baby-related topic. Time: 10am–11:30am, every Tuesday during term. Venue: Medway Youth Centre, cnr Medway and Milford Rds, Plumstead. Cost: free. Contact Barbara: 074 580 4480 or Music, movement and percussion classes for babies and toddlers For children 6–18 months and 18 months–3 years. Time: 9am and 10:30am. Venues: Wriggle and Rhyme Bergvliet, Constantia, Sun Valley and Wynberg. Cost: R390 per term plus once-off joining fee. Contact Kirsty: 079 740 4561, info@wriggleandrhyme. or visit Sea Point Library story time Every Wednesday 10am–11am for preschoolers and younger. Contact: 021 439 7440/1 SuperStars baby and toddler activity workshops Time: varies according to age group. Venue: Little Picasso’s Café, Northumberland Close, Parklands. Cost: R550–R650 per term, eight lessons per term. Contact Angelique: 082 431 3608 or

support groups Adoption Support Movie Club View a movie with an adoption theme and discuss the various issues that emerge. This month the movie is Losing Isaiah. 16 August. Time: 5:30pm–7:30pm, third Tuesday of every month. Venue: Leslie Social Science Building, UCT. Cost: R50 (proceeds raised are donated to an organisation involved in adoption). Contact: Cleft Friends support group For parents with babies born with cleft lips and palates. Contact Heléna and Matthew Cullis (whose son was born with a cleft in the soft palate): 082 393 1206, 079 527 1504, helena@ or Madge Blignaut (who was born with a unilateral cleft lip and cleft of the soft palate): 084 517 9914, madge@ or visit Hi Hopes A home-based early intervention partner for families with deaf or hardof-hearing children aged from birth to 3 years. Contact Renee: 021 949 9388, 076 891 8188, or visit Little Miracle support group For parents of premature babies. For access to an emotional support network, join Facebook group Little Miracle Prem Chat. Contact: 0861 548 853, info@littlemiracle. or visit Postnatal Depression Support Association The organisation offers help for moms and their families. You can also join the chat group. Contact the national helpline: sms “help” and your name to 082 882 0072 for them to contact you or contact head office: 021 797 4498 or visit

Give an Adventure

how to help Blisters for Bread fun charity walk Takes place on 28 August and funds raised go to Peninsula School Feeding Association. Walkers can choose from three distances: 5km, 10km and 18km along the scenic Atlantic and Sea Point promenade. There are food vendors and entertainment for parents and children at the finish area as well as lucky draw prizes. Venue: Green Point Cricket Club, Vlei Rd. Cost: R30. Entry forms are available from Pick n Pay, Curves Gym and Sportman’s Warehouse. Contact PSFA: 021 447 6020, or visit Support animal sterilisation Send a photo of your cat to hillsfanpage@hillspet. before 31 August with “Feline Photo Competition” in the subject line. Hill’s Pet Nutrition donates R200 to animal welfare organisations for every cat photo uploaded, up to R50 000. For more info: 0800 228 783 (toll-free),, visit hillspet. or ask your vet. Give an Adventure Sunscene’s aim is to “give an adventure” to as many children living in South Africa as possible with a life skills outdoor educational camp. Sunscene is looking for assistance with funding or catering and refreshments. They tailor the programme to suit a group’s needs. The cost is R180 per learner per day. They are currently raising funds to give a twoday adventure to 40 children from the Durbanville Children’s Home. Contact: 021 783 0203 or 084 352 4925 Women and Beyond Show your support for the women and children living with HIV/Aids. Women and Beyond has a great need for nappies, clothing and formula. If you can supply these, donations can be dropped off at the ministry centre at 157 Blaauwberg Rd, Tableview between 10am–4pm. Contact Pastor Ethel Swaratlhe-Tlhapane: 021 556 2275, or visit

don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to or fax it to 021 462 2680. Information must be received by 5 August for the September issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit

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it’s party time For more help planning your child’s party visit

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August 2011


it’s party time



August 2011

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August 2011


last laugh

snuggle down SAM WILSON makes up for years of sleep deprivation by lying in

Joe, Sam and Benj


had old friends over for brunch this weekend, and finally got to meet their three daughters, all under the age of three. Yep. Three under three. I know what you’re thinking, but no, their mother Jessie does not look like a wraith in need of an alcoholic IV and a month in a quiet padded cell; she’s miraculously well-dressed and at ease. But she did have that faintly hysterical air of the happy but perpetually under-slept. “How much sleep are you actually getting?” I asked, consolingly. (Well, I was trying to sound consoling, but truthfully it was more of a morbidly curious question.) “Well,” she said bravely. “Every few days, one of them will sleep through the


August 2011

night and then the Sleep Fairy puts a little treat under her pillow, doesn’t she girls?” Three little girls look up at her blankly. “Okay, so it doesn’t happen that often, but we live in hope, don’t we?” she said, with that slightly hysterical lilt. I turned to Benjamin, who was innocently wolfing down a salmon bagel next to me, and glared at him with thinly disguised dislike. Benjamin did not sleep through the night once until he was three-and-a-half years old, and – despite his many charms – I have never quite forgiven him for it. Of course, I had brought it on myself by taunting the Goddess of Mothers during the first year of Josef’s life. “He’s always slept in 12-hour stretches,” I used to say smugly of my eldest’s miraculous sleeping pattern. “I think it’s because my pregnancy was so calming, and because we’re so structured with bed times. Routine makes all the difference, you know.”

(I know, I have thinly disguised dislike for Young Mom Me too.) Now that both of my boys are in double figures age-wise, I can look back on these dark memories while I doze in the morning as they do their own thing. Because you see, I am taking this sleep debt thing very seriously. I spent the first half of my thirties horribly sleep-deprived. And when I did get some shuteye, it was invariably while wrapped around some small, sweaty Human Torch who was intent on splaying his limbs like a starfish while keeping one toe firmly in my bellybutton. The boys owe me. Which is why, these days, I am now so emphatic about lying in on weekends. “We’re playing soccer in the garden, come join us!” my sons will shout through the window on a Saturday morning. But I just wave regally, and snuggle with a good book or a series on DVD.

“Mom has another hour of dozing to do, loved ones,” I’ll shout back. “Remember, I’ve still got that huge sleep debt to catch up on. Also... are either of you thinking of making a little tea and toast? Because I am beginning to feel rather peckish.” I know, it’s manipulative, but there’s nothing in the parenting rule book that forbids mothers from being childish. (Actually, there may be. I’ve never read a whole one of those things.) And I really do urge those of you also fond of the odd duvet half-day to reclaim your sleep debt in a similar manner. That way, we will have paved the path to payback sleep for truly tired mothers such as Jessie. Oh go on. Snuggle down in sisterhood. Sam Wilson is the Editor-in-Chief of Women24, Parent24 and Food24. She’s writing this from her bed on a chilly Saturday morning, while waiting for some tea.

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late on weekends, and getting her children to bring her breakfast.

Child Magazine | Cape Town August 2011  

Cape Town's best guide for parents