Flower Valley’s Eco-School (Early Learning Centre)
Flower Valley hosts a pre-school, called the Early Learning Centre, on Flower Valley Farm, just outside Gansbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa. The school provides a needs-based education programme to the children of the area. Each year 20 children aged between two and six attend the centre. Our young learners are often children of farm workers and fynbos harvesters working on surrounding farms.
A special emphasis is placed in the learning programme on environmental education. The pre-school is registered with Eco-Schools, a programme that encourages continuous improvement of the school environment. Our school became the first school in the Overberg to obtain its International Eco-Schools Flag in 2011. And the school continues to work according to the Eco-School environmental portfolio.
To apply to send your child to Flower Valley's pre-school, please send us the following completed forms:
Early Childhood Development
Flower Valley not only hosts a pre-school on the Farm; we’ve also played a role in supporting an Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme across the Agulhas Plain.
This programme has focused on:
- establishing and coordinating Eco-Schools’ nodes;
- developing and piloting short courses in environmental education and ECD;
- training and mentoring practising and emerging ECD practitioners;
- and developing collaboration and partnerships in the region between service providers and government.
Highlighting environmental education across the Agulhas Plain
Environmental education in the ECD site context has provided a wonderful opportunity to work and support change on:
- an individual level (e.g. child to child, practitioner to child, child to practitioner);
- group level (e.g. school governing bodies, ECD site management and training);
- systemic level (e.g. institutional arrangements, policy, partnerships).
When we understand the nature of the environmental crisis, the vulnerable position in which our children are placed becomes clear. It is important to find meaningful ways to engage young children, families, ECD practitioners and other professionals to think and learn about the environmental and sustainability challenges we face.
The Flower Valley Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme successfully supported 17 ECD practitioners through a level 4 qualification in the years 2005 and 2006. These practitioners further benefited from a short course in Environmental Education and ECD. Subsequent to that, Flower Valley walked with four of the qualified teachers on a mentorship journey. This was facilitated by an ECD professional with 15 years of experience in the field.
ECD service provider forum
During our years of work in ECD in the Overberg, it was noted by service providers that one of the main gaps with regard to ECD is a lack of collaboration, communication, planning and action amongst stakeholders and service providers to strategically meet the needs of young children, their families and facilities. So with funding from the DG Murray Trust, Flower Valley established an ECD service provider forum working toward collaborative engagement, improving partnerships, communications, networking and service delivery.