We’re hiring: 2 ECD positions available

Flower Valley Conservation Trust is an NGO situated in the Agulhas Region. The Trust works to protect Fynbos landscapes, improve livelihoods and nurture young children and women.

The Trust is now offering 2 opportunities in the Early Childhood Development Programme:

  1. Food Security and Gardens Coordinator
  2. Learning Programme Coordinator

 

FOOD SECURITY AND GARDENS COORDINATOR 

Job purpose

To establish and maintain food, discovery gardens and trails on the Flower Valley Farm and conduct food security capacity building within the home and centre based Early Childhood Development Programme.

Job functions

  1. Work with ECD team to plan and set up gardens and trails as an integrated part of the Milkwood Learning Programme;
  2. Manage, maintain and develop the gardens and trails;
  3. Manage Early Childhood food security project;
  4. Build capacity within the family and ECD centre based context for increased food security and improved nutrition for young children;
  5. Explore micro enterprise development opportunities within the gardens context.

Minimum qualifications & experience

  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience in food growing and gardening;
  • Computer literacy (MS Office);
  • Excellent health and physically fit;
  • Passion to work on a community-based level relating to food security and environmental education;
  • Ability to manage a small team;
  • Good interpersonal skills, communication and self-governance;
  • Ability to train and transfer skills;
  • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle;
  • Preference given to candidates with experience and or qualification/training in organic/regenerative agriculture, permaculture and horticulture.

Deadline: Tuesday 16 April 2019

Please send your CV, a cover letter, and two contactable references to ecdadmin@flowervalley.co.za or fax 028 425 2855. For more information, contact 079 100 5817 during office hours.

 

2. CENTRE BASED LEARNING PROGRAMME COORDINATOR

Job purpose

To coordinate the Milkwood programme, a 0 – 4 years’ play-based learning programme, in regard to curriculum, on-going programme reviews and development, coaching, training and teacher development and supporting centres and learning resource access and praxis.

Job functions

  1. Develop and implement plans with ECD team for coaching, training and teachers’ professional support and manage centre based professional development processes related to the Milkwood Learning Programme;
  2. Implement monitoring and evaluation of the Milkwood Learning Programme;
  3. Work with the ECD team to integrate the outdoor class and food security components into the centre based Milkwood Learning Programme implementation;
  4. Facilitate the Milkwood Flower Valley outdoor classroom;
  5. On-going curriculum and learning programme development (working with the Programme Manager and Home Based Coordinator);
  6. Plan and facilitate professional development workshops and opportunities for teachers/practitioners and field workers;
  7. Work with relevant stakeholders and partners to ensure the appropriate resourcing, equipping, management and appropriate use of the centres’ indoor and outdoor learning environments and holistic development of ECD practitioners.

Minimum qualifications & experience

  • Degree or Diploma in ECD;
  • A minimum of 2 years’ teaching or ECD experience;
  • Physically fit and able;
  • Computer literacy (MS Office);
  • Passion to work at a community-based level and contribute to positive social and environmental change;
  • Passion for young children and their rightful place in the world;
  • Good interpersonal skills, communication and self-governance;
  • Ability to train, coach and mentor adults;
  • Interest and love for the natural environment (experience in Environmental Education a benefit);
  • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle.

Deadline: Tuesday 16 April 2019

Please send your CV, a cover letter, and two contactable references to ecdadmin@flowervalley.co.za or fax 028 425 2855. For more information, contact 079 100 5817 during office hours.

 

The Early Learning Centre closes its doors

Early Learning Centre

Flower Valley Conservation Trust has decided to close the doors of our Early Learning Centre on Flower Valley Farm for 2018. This decision followed much consideration and partner input and support.

A number of reasons contributed to the centre’s closure. Transport costs have risen, making the transportation of the children to the centre unfeasible. Most of the 29 children are transported daily to the farm from Gansbaai and surrounds. Flower Valley made use of a bus service for the children.

The Trust has also decided to use this opportunity to undertake internal restructuring at the centre. That includes ensuring the centre is financially secure, and that we continue to deliver a high quality service to the community.

The Flower Valley Early Childhood Development (ECD) team worked with parents, to ensure the children were placed in schools that were most suited to their needs. All the children have now been placed in alternative pre-schools.

 

Using the site for environmental education

In the meantime, the plan is now to use the Early Learning Centre site to host children from other centres in the ECD Programme. They will visit the farm as part of their environmental education learning.

The ELC will also be used to host workshops for practitioners. We hold regular Milkwood Learning Programme workshops with practitioners (a learning programme developed by the Flower Valley team and partners, for children aged 0-4).

 

Our ECD support continues

Flower Valley continues to roll out the ECD Programme – working with four centres in the Overstrand region, supporting around 180 children. Three fieldworkers also work with children in a home-based care programme. Around 80 families receive weekly support from the fieldworkers.

According to Gabrielle Jonker, the ECD Programme Coordinator, the ELC is a “very special site. The team will now, during this period, work to ensure we continue to meet our vision, a vision that has at its core the wellbeing of the young children and their families of our area.”

For further information, contact Gabrielle Jonker. Email: gabbi@flowervalley.co.za; Tel. 028 388 0713.

 

Goodbye and good luck, class of 2017!

Graduation concert

When the end of the school year approaches, there are mixed emotions for the children and teachers at the Early Learning Centre on Flower Valley Farm. It’s time for our Grade R children to say goodbye, before they start their primary school careers.

The ELC’s graduation concert took place in Gansbaai in December, celebrating the children, and the year that has passed. The class of 2017 took to the stage, performing for family and friends, with songs and rhymes, including the South African National Anthem. The children also danced to traditional Xhosa songs and the boys entertained the audience with a gumboot dance.

Even Father Christmas popped in to spoil the children with some parting gifts and invited all the children and parents to celebrate with a dance on stage.

The ELC’s Principal, Jimmona Schuurman, said that the children put so much effort and time into the graduation concert.

She had these parting words for the class of 2017: “As practitioners, we have loved teaching you and watching you grow into such curious and courageous young children. We wish you all the best for the future!”

A big congratulations to the nine children who graduated: Lily Dumont, Mikayla Mostert, Onika Yaleza, Lunathi Robhana, Asive Ngangelizwa, Iminathi Tyambe, Lakhiwe Dlova, Milisa Kwayimani and Christina Jonga. These young children are moving on to primary schools in Gansbaai and Hermanus.

 

A small reward for selfless practitioners

Milkwood Learning Workshop

As 2017 draws to a close, the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme hosted a Milkwood Learning Workshop for ECD practitioners, governing body members and field workers at Fynbos Retreat, a joint venture between Flower Valley and Grootbos. This workshop focused on nurturing and acknowledging the wonderful, selfless work that these women undertake with young children in the Overstrand region.

Activities such as painting and nature walks helped everyone to relax, trust and draw out their creativity.  These activities also highlighted the importance of self-acceptance and team work.

When it comes to self-expression and unlocking creativity, it is about the process and trusting in oneself. The practitioners experienced this through free-painting, sculptural form, land art, creative thought and time for silence in the forest.

 

 

The first five years of a child’s life are extremely important and the experiences and environment of the child in this time will have far-reaching effects in years to come. Videos and presentations at the workshop showed the ECD practitioners just how valuable their work is and how their positive inputs are having life-changing impacts on the lives of young children.

The practitioners also shared some of the barriers that they experience in their teaching practice and the team discussed ways to address these obstacles.

Flower Valley’s Kieran Whitley – who is also a reflexologist – treated all the practitioners to a rejuvenating foot massage.

The weather was chilly, but a fire, pizza and great companionship at the beautiful Fynbos Retreat made for a rewarding and insightful workshop for the women.

 

Inspiring children on #OutdoorClassroomDay

We celebrated World Outdoor Classroom Day on Thursday, 7 September – a day that resonates with the Early Learning Centre’s ethos.

 

So what is #OutdoorClassroomDay?

What started out as a few schools in the UK trying to create awareness around learning and playing outdoors back in 2012, now sees nearly 16,000 schools in 52 countries across the globe joining in to celebrate what the outdoors have to offer when it comes to a child’s education.

World Outdoor Classroom day takes place a few times a year, encouraging schools throughout the world to put on civvies, go outside and use nature to help them learn. Taking part in Outdoor Classroom Day encourages problem-solving skills, better social skills, team-work skills, a bigger understanding of nature and tons of fun.

 

 

The ELC’s activities:

As an eco-school, the ELC joined in the Outdoor Classroom Day, spending most of their day at the dam on Flower Valley Farm. The children and practitioners walked in pairs to the dam where they collected water in containers.

Here the children were encouraged to talk about ways in which they can save water and what animals are dependent on our water systems. The discussion also focused on water safety. From there, they made clay art with the water and the fynbos they found around them and explained their creations to each other.

World Outdoor Classroom Day is an exceptional day to celebrate what Mother Earth has to offer and how you can use her knowledge to grow.

Learning in nature has been one of the biggest focus areas for our ELC and we encourage more schools to join in on #OutdoorClassroomDay on 12 October 2017.

 

Mandela Day: a day to inspire and make a difference

Not sure what to do this Mandela Day, Tuesday 18 July? If you’re in the Overstrand area, we’d love your help. Give 67 minutes of your time, working in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in and around Gansbaai.

 

What do we need?

We have five centres that form part of our Flower Valley ECD Programme. For 67 minutes, you can volunteer at any of the centres, giving your time working in their gardens, playgrounds and helping improve infrastructure.

Or help by giving materials and resources needed by the centres.

The ECD Programme currently works with more than 130 children at centres across the Strandveld region to ensure a safe and nurturing environment to encourage holistic development.

Says Gabbi Jonker, Coordinator of the Flower Valley ECD Programme, “At the Early Childhood Development Programme, we love to incorporate Mandela Day and inspire the community to get involved with the children to help improve the centres.”

She says, “Every year, we are lucky enough to reflect on our country’s past, to celebrate the late Nelson Mandela and use our 67 minutes to unite and build a future. It is in our hands to make South Africa a better place, and you are invited to come spend the day with us.”

To find out more on how you can get involved, please contact Cath Price on cath@flowervalley.co.za or 028 388 0713.

 

 

How did you feel when you turned 18?

Early Learning Centre

Flower Valley Early Learning Centre

Remember turning 18? And how you felt when you transformed from a teenager to become an adult?

Well, this year, we are proud to celebrate our 18th birthday at our Early Learning Centre – our pre-school situated on Flower Valley Farm.

 

Today the centre is home to 27 children, with two separate classrooms, and with a scent and education garden.

But that’s not how it started in 1999.

In fact, the centre then served as a crèche and aftercare centre for the children of parents harvesting fynbos in the Walker Bay region. Back then, the children were cared for in a room in the packshed on Flower Valley Farm.

Following a visit by an AusAID representative, Anne Creux, to Flower Valley Farm in the early 2000s, support came to build the centre. The building was carefully designed, using materials off the farm, with funding provided by AusAID.

 

 

Since 1999, the centre has enjoyed many successes.

In 2006, the Flower Valley ELC joined the Eco-Schools Programme, and thereby officially integrated environmental education into our learning programme.

Last year, we celebrated our Diamond Decade as the Overberg’s longest-serving Eco-Schools member.

And today, Flower Valley’s Early Learning Centre provides a safe learning environment not only to children from the neighbouring rural areas, but also to children from nearby towns and informal dwellings, with a bus service running daily between the towns and Flower Valley Farm.

What’s more, the children are cared for by a team of four, including practitioners and support staff – all who are enjoying further capacity development opportunities.

So congratulations to the ELC on everything you have accomplished. And a feather in your cap for the many children who’ve loved and learnt from the unique experience you’ve had to offer.

 

A new partnership benefits Masakhane’s children

Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme

It just makes sense when two organisations doing good join forces to benefit the community – especially when it comes to the development of our young children.

So it was a positive moment when Flower Valley Conservation Trust partnered with the Grootbos Foundation, to support young children in the community of Masakhane in Gansbaai.

Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme works with five ECD centres across the Overstrand region. Two of these centres are based in Masakhane: Good Hope and Takalane.

The Grootbos Foundation and Flower Valley will work together to support the administrative, management and governance aspects of the centres. Flower Valley will continue with the learning programme and curriculum support.

Flower Valley’s ECD programme also provides support to children in Buffeljagsbaai, Pearly Beach and to the centre on Flower Valley Farm, reaching about 160 children up to the age of 6. Through a home-based care programme, fieldworkers also visit families in Pearly Beach/Eluxolweni and Baardskeerdersbos, to give support and tools to parents and children here.

According to Flower Valley’s ECD Programme Coordinator, Gabbi Cook, “We are very optimistic and thankful to the Grootbos Foundation for joining hands with us – together we are better; together we are strong. To make real impact, solid and caring partnerships are essential. ”

Our ECD team is growing and you can join the team

Early Childhood Development Programme

Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development Programme is expanding and you can become part of the team. There are two new positions available: a Centre-Based Support Teacher and Governance and Administration support. The positions will be filled by July 2017, and are based in the Gansbaai region.

1. Governance and Administrative Support

Job purpose

To support the ECD Programme Manager to implement the programme with specific reference to programme administration and governance.

 

 Main Job functions

  1. Carry out all administrative functions for the ECD Programme;
  2. Monitor the home-based ECD programme;
  3. Support and coach the centre managers and governing bodies in governance, management and administration.

 

Minimum qualifications & experience:

  • Experience in administration & governance.
  • Preference given to candidates with experience in the social and adminstrative sector or ECD governance.
  • Computer literacy (MS Office).
  • Passion to work on a community-based level.
  • Passion to be part of positive social change.
  • Passion for young children and women and their rightful place in the world.
  • Good interpersonal skills, communication and self-governance.
  • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle

 

2. Centre-Based Support Teacher

Job purpose

To support the ECD Programme Manager in implementing the centre-based programme with specific reference to  curriculum and learning programme support, coaching, training and teacher development.

 

Job functions

  1. Ensure the Learning Programme and curriculum is in place, applied and implemented at centres;
  2. Develop plans with the programme manager for coaching, training and teachers’ professional support; and implement these;
  3. Implement a monitoring and evaluation system for the centre-based programme;
  4. Engage with the community in the centre-based ECD Programme;
  5. On-going curriculum and learning programme development alongside the programme manager;
  6. Facilitate professional development workshops and opportunities for teachers/practitioners and field workers;
  7. Work with relevant stakeholders to ensure the appropriate resourcing, equipping, management and appropriate use of the centres’ indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Minimum qualifications & experience:

  • Degree or Diploma in ECD.
  • Computer literacy (MS Office).
  • Passion to work on a community-based level.
  • Passion to be part of positive social change.
  • Passion for young children and their rightful place in the world.
  • Good interpersonal skills, communication and self-governance.
  • Interest and love for the natural environment.
  • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle

 

A market-related salary will be negotiated, dependent on qualifications and experience, for each position.

Deadline: Friday 28 April 2017

Please send your CV, a cover letter, and two contactable references to info@flowervalley.co.za or fax 028 425 2855. For more information, contact 028 425 2218 during office hours.

 

Help from our US partners

We had a class full of happy children – thanks to wonderful donations from our global partners. The Webb School in Tennessee, United States, collaborated with the Stanford Rotary Club and Animal Welfare, to deliver wonderful goods to our Early Learning Centre.

The Rotary Club’s Malcolm Bury and Annie Ranger delivered the five scooters – used to help our children learn about road safety on our road safety track, as well as a number of English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa books.

 

 

The Webb School is a co-ed boarding and day school for children in grades 6-12 in Tennessee. The school has a long history, founded in 1870. It’s hallmark is an education system based on honour and personal integrity.

Thank you from the Flower Valley team – to all the partners who made our children so happy.