Dear Parents and Guardians

I was drawn to the headline article in the latest Interesting Magazine, which stated that girls are not picking as many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects as boys, and that worldwide, professional female scientists are in fact dropping out of the field. It asked whether science had a problem with women. The article quoted some interesting statistics: the number of students graduating with STEM courses from South African universities in 2018 were 1 in 5 while eighty percent of jobs from 2020 would require STEM skills.

Our recent Science Week was key in getting students to reflect on the importance and relevance of our STEM subjects at the Preparatory School. The exciting and challenging thing about being in education is the need to constantly monitor and assess what is being offered in the curriculum against the required needs of society. It will indeed be up to our new generation to launch unimaginable innovations in the twenty first century and it is up to us to ignite their passion, create the skill set to make it possible and deliberately point our girls in the STEM direction.

What is interesting given the statistics is the perceived reluctance of girls to choose STEM careers. Our service industry has traditionally been top heavy with females but a change in focus to encompass STEM must now be intentionally pursued.

If women remain unrepresented in the science and engineering workforce, with the greatest disparities occurring in engineering, computer science and physical science, what can we do to address this and why are our girls, capable and enormously creative, shunning this industry?

Neuroscientist, Nisha Cooch has an interesting perspective. She writes that while males and females have comparative abilities, there are definite sex differences at birth. Girls focus on the face while boys focus on mechanical objects. She concludes that boys and girls process information and learn differently to such an extent that it may contribute to the choice of non-scientific subjects girls are making.

The societal belief that males are better at the sciences still drag down a girl’s interest in STEM and therefore girls need our special encouragement to pique their interest. With this, we also must acknowledge that there is still an unconscious bias within the scientific, male-dominated workforce. Those women in the industry report that women are treated with suspicion, and that they still face discrimination and sexism. For this reason, we need to instill an early love of STEM to give girls a genuine passion and love for the subject to overcome other obstacles. By the time girls reach High School, it is too late.

In fact, while our girls are still at Preschool, we should be immersing them in the world of science and technology and encouraging them to design, prototype and create anything they want that practises problem solving, aspects of life in which girls do particularly well.

We need to be committed to finding female role models in this industry to address and inspire our students. So, if you are, or know of, a dynamic woman working in this area, please let us know. We would love you to be part of our girls’ journey. Our Friday assembly slots have broadened their experience of life but let us intentionally expose them to the world of STEM and explain the future possibilities in this area.

We need to emphasis the potential our girls have to improve things. Scientists and engineers are presently working on cures for diseases like Ebola, on controlling global warming, and providing clean water. They are developing renewable energy sources and designing gadgets - from wheelchairs to prosthetics. Our girls can be part of this creative problem-solving machine.

STEM is a quiet but growing and integral part of the Preparatory School curriculum at present. Girls in the FP from Grade 1 start with the iPAD and from Grade 2 are taught computer skills in their weekly lessons. They are becoming familiar with all the Office365 desktop applications, as well as understanding more about the world of technology. Throughout the school we have been slowly promoting coding using Beebots and Scratch/Scratch Jnr (software designed by MIT to introduce the concepts of Coding). We have also been building with Minecraft Education and working with MicroBits (a tiny programable computer) to develop computational and logical thinking.  In the IP the girls will be working more with Spheros (programmable robots).  Appropriate iPAD use is encouraged in every classroom. However, as robotics and coding become a greater part of everyday life, so will the Preparatory School narrative around STEM.

Our problem-based learning approach and integrative assessment is the perfect platform to promote this development. As a Round Square school, we also seek to make our girls explorers, inventors, creators and problem solvers. This fits so perfectly into the developing academic curriculum. I believe that recently we celebrated our first 'girl in blue' graduate as an astrophysicist. We hope to see many more taking their place in the world of STEM. The first steps are taken in early childhood and the role of the Preparatory School is to fan that interest with relevant and conscious teaching.

Carol te Water

Integrated Assessments in the Intermediate Phase
In our continued support of the High School’s affiliation to the IEB the Preparatory School is an active participant in the IEB Primary School’s Initiative. This participation includes the writing of IEB benchmarking assessments. These assessments use an integration of disciplines in their methodologies. We have decided to mirror this philosophy in an Integrated Assessment which our girls are going to write towards the middle of the Second Semester in Term 3. The date the assessment will be written this year is 28 August as per the Assessment Schedule.

English and Mathematics questions are teased, in an integrated approach, from a resource which is not necessarily linked to the curriculum. We strive to choose themes for these assessments which are topical and relevant to our girls’ lived experiences.

No preparation is required for the Integrated Assessments as they aim to assess the skills level which our students have attained. However, some grades may distribute the resources beforehand so that the girls can familiarise themselves with the content. We have been told that in some instances, these resources have formed an interesting context for family discussions as well.

Parent – Teacher meetings: 16 and 17 September
Teachers will be holding feedback meetings with parents on Monday, 16 and Tuesday, 17 September. Where teachers have specific concerns about their students, parents will be contacted directly. However, if you would like to see the teacher, do not hesitate to make an appointment.  You will be able to book an appointment on BlueSky from 9 September. For working parents, there will also be one late afternoon available. If the times allocated do not suit you, please contact the teacher for an alternative date. 

Congratulations to Jemma Levick who has been chosen to dance in the upcoming Cinderella production at the Artscape.



Gr 1 LPG having fun with the oo sound in froot loops

Carla Raubenheimer and Evelyn Prahm Gr 1 LPG enjoying their froot loops

Tahlia van Breda Gr 1 RC examining the OO shape

Gr 1 MW and Gr 1 RC practising teamwork and collaboration on iPads

Carla Davies Gr 1 MW  and Sophia John Gr 1 RC also practising teamwork and collaboration   

Aisling Hingston and Layla Owen Gr 1 RC learning sounds 

Foundation Phase girls enjoying Hooked on Books

Sofia Boltman and Sophia Bester Gr 3 LH were part of the Hooked on Books production.  We wish Sophia Bester well as she leaves for the UK.

Chess girls deep in thought

Poppy Levinson and Sophia Rose Williams Gr 4 NW and Gr 4 TM who initiated the collection over 400 sanitary towel packs and R1600 in donations which will be used to purchase re-usable sanitary towels.  Thank you so much St Cyprian's parents.

Gr 5 NP Spare Change Campaign.  Any grade covering ten or more tiles with coins will be awarded a Civvies Day.  Thank you for your support.
Anna Suska Gr 3 SAC met haar koekie in 'n koppie.  Sy het haar resep getoets. 

Talya van der Velde deel haar koekie met Oupa

Rebecca Watson Gr 2 KB received a silver medal at C Maths Nationals

Gr 6 soaking up the sun during Afrikaans 

Christie Gardner and Olivia Breslin Gr 1 MW with their looking glasses

Gr 2 KB learning to code using Scratch 

Gr 6s made crystals during the Science lesson 

Gr 6 show off their homemade crystals

Gr 7 learning about chemistry and exothermic reactions in Science
Gr 7 anticipating an exciting chemical reaction

Gr 3 LH learning basic programming skills using Scratch

Chess is growing at our school

Spare Change Campaign.  Gr 5 NP lays out their coins on the Chapel floor.


Gr 7 Claes Oldenburg - inspired food sculptures

Gr 6 art

Gr 7 food sculpture

Gr 7 food sculpture

Gr 7 work in progress


Newspapers, magazines, avo containers, Styrofoam boards from Pizza, cupcake containers, ice cream containers, 1L yoghurt lids, cream containers with lids, small containers like pate containers with lids…


Gr 7 food sculpture

Gr 7 food sculpture

Gr 7 food sculpture

Gr 7 food sculpture

Gr 3 Art

Ariana van der Merwe Gr 1 RC




As part of the Grade 7 Class Music Programme, all the girls get the opportunity to learn some songs on the marimbas, which they performed to an enthusiastic crowd on Tuesday 13 August. Thank you to Mr Johnson for organising this.

Gr 7 BM enjoying their turn on marimbas
Our newly formed Prep Jazz Band, conducted by Mrs Röntsch, treated us to their first performance. Sophie Vineall (trumpet); Stella Papa (saxophone); Sienna Smit (clarinet); Mia Jacobs (saxophone); Madison Malan (drumkit) and Madison Eskinazi (bass guitar). Alex Mattison (double bass) and Olweyn Parker (double bass) impressed us further with their bass playing.

Sibella da Silva (piano); Alex Mattison (piano); Lethu Khanyile (piano) and Samantha Robarts (violin).

Gr 7 MS enjoying marimbas

An appreciative audience!


Milan Boolsen-Lotz (piano); Alex Mattison (piano); Cassidy Williams (violin) and Sibella da Silva (piano)



Cross Country:
The last cross-country race of the year was held on 26 July, with many of our girls running hard to make it into the top 20 of their age groups, therefore enabling them to make WP Champs.
Congratulations to all 14 of our runners who will be competing at WP Champs this weekend.

Ella Dorrington, Inez Lindenmayer and Grace Pienaar at Cross Country

Cross country runners after their race

Upcoming weeks:
We are nearing the end of our exciting winter season and with this comes a busy last few weeks.  Thank you parents, for your continued support of both the sports program and  your children.
  PGSGU: U12A and U13A Netball tournament
U12A Report:
On behalf of our team, I would like to say thank you to everyone for this amazing event at Wynberg Girls Junior School.  I would like to say a big thank you to our coach, Janet, and Miss Block, who pushed us into playing to the best of our ability.  I can’t wait for next years’ event.
Written by: Emelia Toledo

The netball team with Mrs te Water and Belinda Davids

U13A Report:
The netball PGSGU tournament took place on Wednesday with 8 schools competing.  It was a tough but fun tournament with many close finishes. U13A won all their games but  Herschel managed to sneak in a goal to equalize in the last 20 seconds.  That meant SCS finished in second place, due to a goal difference.  Thank you to our coach Belinda Davids for all her time and effort.
Written by: Gemma Purcell

Water Wise
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Gorge Road, Oranjezicht, Cape Town 8001 Tel: +27 (0)21 461 1090