FLOWER VALLEY ECD PROGRAMME
The Flower Valley ECD Programme has been developing and implementing projects that have been addressing the need for quality ECD in the area. These projects have included:
- Flower Valley Early Learning Centre establishment and work based practitioners’ professional development;
- Facilitation of ECD Level 4 practitioner training for Overstrand practitioners/educators;
- Development and facilitation of Environmental Education Short Course and learning support materials;
- Facilitation of the Eco-Schools Programme at Overberg ECD Centres;
- Facilitating the establishment and functioning of the Overstrand ECD Service Provider Forum;
- Development of and training in the Milkwood Learning Programme;
- Centre registration support.
We have laid a firm foundation through:
- 15 years of community-based work, stakeholder consultation and engagement. This groundwork has given excellent insight into the needs and requirements for sustained ECD provision in marginalised rural areas of the Overstrand;
- Registration of the Milkwood Learning Programme with the Department of Social Development. This learning programme brings over 30 years of accumulative knowledge and experience in ECD into a comprehensive tool that supports quality centre-based ECD;
- The integration of Environmental Education as a fundamental component of the Milkwood Learning Programme;
- Partnerships with: the Western Cape Department of Social Development, the Overstrand Municipality (OS), the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP), Community Welfare organisations, and the Beaming Kids Academy of Life (link: www.beamingkids.co.za).
WHY A PRESENCE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT?
The formative years from 0 – 6 years (most especially 0 – 3 years) is the time in a person’s life when the most rapid and foundational development takes place. It is here that the brain develops and neural pathways are set that lay the foundation for all future brain development and activity. It is here where the social, emotional, cognitive and physical domains are laid. Investing in the early years is investing in society; providing a spring board for success. Disadvantaged children grow up in an environment characterised by poverty that impacts on many aspects of their lives. Quality ECD services provide a means to level the playing field from the start of their lives. Early Childhood Development has intrinsic value in that it provides a platform to respect the child and to work toward that child’s rights being recognised and fulfilled. Childhood is precious and children from marginalised communities need a voice. Centre- and home-based ECD services provide this – hence reaffirming Flower Valley’s presence in this vital field.
There simply are not enough ECD centres or resources to meet the needs of families in the Overstrand. Issues of capacity, legislative requirements, transport, and access to resources and services prevent families from receiving quality ECD. Home-based care (care for up to six children at a home) exists as a response to the need for child care. Flower Valley has partnered with the Foundation for Community Work in order to support home-based ECD provision. The Family in Focus (FIF) project provides training in ECD to field workers that, once capacitated, they can help support parents and caregivers at their homes where the children are cared for. The field workers also monitor appropriate stimulation for optimal development of children. Families are supported in meeting the needs of young children in rural or marginalised environments. This project works in conjunction with the Department of Social Development, the Department of Health, local municipalities and local NPOs to ensure that appropriate responses are found to the needs of families with young children. Flower Valley aims to facilitate such a project in the rural Baardskeerdersbos farming area and to identify and establish additional communities in the Gansbaai and surrounding areas where these projects can be of benefit to young children.