THE FLOWER VALLEY EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
Flower Valley hosts a pre-school (Early Learning Centre) for children on Flower Valley Farm. But Flower Valley’s role in Early Childhood Development (ECD) stretches beyond the borders of Flower Valley Farm, across much of the Overstrand region in the Western Cape of South Africa. Flower Valley has been involved in ECD since 1999, encouraging growth, learning and holistic development of children aged from birth to six years old.
Today the Trust has partnered with the Western Cape Department of Social Development and the Overstrand Municipality to support ECD in the district. Through the Flower Valley Early Childhood Development Programme, the Trust is working with both centres and with home-based ECD.
The Flower Valley ECD Programme currently works with five ECD centres. Rather than establishing additional ECD centres, the programme aims to increase access for children 0 – 4 years at these centres. The programme also supports the stabilisation of the centres to a point where quality ECD provision can be sustained. The ECD Centres are located in: Masakhane, Buffeljags, Stanford, Pearly Beach and Uilenkraal. Centre-based provision is an essential service, providing a place for quality care and education for young children where they would otherwise be left in substandard care that leaves them vulnerable to health and safety hazards, low levels of stimulation and lack of developmental opportunities. This is detrimental to their development, and maintains inequality in society.
With the security that their children are well cared for, parents are freed up to earn an income for their families. This in turn allows families to better provide for their families. Centre-based care acknowledges that parents are the first educators of their children and aims to work with parents as the primary stakeholders of Early Childhood Development. The challenges to centre-based care are great. Support to marginalised centres is essential if they are to meet legislative requirements and sustain quality ECD provision.