Weaving the Green Thread through Early Childhood Development
At Flower Valley Conservation Trust, we work to ensure a future where fynbos flourishes, and where fynbos livelihoods are
Tied to protecting our natural world, we know that today’s children will determine our future footprint on earth. That’s why we work closely with children and women across the Overstrand region to recognise their unique qualities and strengths, and help them to see it.
But in the Overstrand, there is a severe shortage of facilities and care in many communities here. And so many children may not receive assistance in their formative years – especially 0-6 years old, when children are given their springboard into life.
And so Flower Valley Conservation Trust launched our Early Childhood Development Programme in 1999, when the Trust first started. At first, we worked with the children of fynbos harvesters – providing them a crèche and aftercare centre on Flower Valley Farm. The aim? To ensure children and educators of this area were given the tools to become future leaders; while encouraging a generation of environmentally-aware children.
Over the years, the programme grew. And today the ECD supports 5 centres, with more than 130 children and 18 practitioners, across the Overstrand region. And we coordinate a home-based care programme to reach the many families who don’t have access to ECD facilities.
The 5 centres are in Pearly Beach, Buffeljagsbaai, Flower Valley Farm, and two centres in Masakhane.
GOING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Many communities in our area struggle with the effects of poverty. At the same time, the migration of people to the Overstrand has in many instances resulted in inadequate centre-based ECD services and resources to meet the needs of families with young children.
So, the Flower Valley ECD Programme has partnered with the Foundation for Community Work and local communities to support home-based ECD provision. Here, field workers work in partnership with the primary caregivers (like the parents) to care for and stimulate their children to acquire the right skills to develop. The field workers also work with social services and the Department of Health to address health and social welfare issues.
The Early Childhood Development Programme has seen many successes to date, including:
1. The establishment of the Flower Valley Early Learning Centre.
2. The professional development, coaching and mentoring of work based practitioners.
3. We’ve facilitated ECD Level 4 and 5 qualification training for Overstrand practitioners.
4. We’ve helped develop and facilitate Environmental Education Short Course and learning support materials.
5. We’ve facilitated the implementation of the Eco Schools programme at Overberg ECD Centres.
6. We’ve helped establish the Overstrand ECD Service Provider Forum.
7. We’ve developed the Milkwood Learning Programme and provide training in this programme to practitioners.
8. We help register centres, and support administrative, management and governance support.
9. We help resource the centres.
10. And we partner with wonderful stakeholders and friends who support the ECD Programme.
The ECD works to create an enabling environment for pre-school children and teachers to grow to their full potential – and crucially, we help to weave a green thread through our learning programmes.
To get involved with the programme, please do not hesitate to contact our Programme Manager, Gabbi Cook Jonker on firstname.lastname@example.org or 028 388 0713.