milkwoodA new learning programme for children aged birth to four years old is in the process of being registered by the Department of Social Development. The Milkwood Learning Programme was written by Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development Programme Coordinator, Gabrielle Jonker, in collaboration with Sandra Mitchell from the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP).

The Milkwood Learning Programme is a comprehensive programme that includes all aspects required to deliver quality-learning opportunities to young children. It allows for centres from any socio-economic context and geographical location in South Africa to use it. One of the foundations of the learning programme is environmental education that is integrated throughout its practice. The registration process is expected to be completed by May 2014.

The Learning Programme will be used by five Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres supported through the Flower Valley ECD Programme. These are: Flower Valley, Seesterretjies, Dolfyntjies, Good Hope and Sunrise ECD Centres. It will also be used at 12 ECD centres in the Cape Town and Phillipi-area supported by the SAEP ECD programme.

According to Jonker, ECD centres are now required to utilise a registered learning programme to ensure quality learning and development takes place. “The Milkwood Learning Programme is primarily about the respect for the child and ensuring that children’s rights are met. This programme caters for all the child’s developmental needs. It will help lay the foundations of creative thinking and learning that empowers not only the child but the educator.”

The Milkwood Learning Programme has included animal characters from an educational book called ‘Who’s who in the Wonderful Woods’. This book, created by the Beaming Kids Academy of Life, introduces children to values that are rooted in self worth. The animals in the woods bring poems, pictures and affirmations to the children along with breathing exercises and yoga postures.

Jonker says the collaboration with Beaming Kids is an example of how organisations can learn from each other. Beaming Kids encourages parents and teachers to share healthy behaviours and a holistic lifestyle with the children. “Working with Tamar Dakes from Beaming Kids has been a privilege. It has been an example of generosity, sharing and shining our own special light into the world – thank you, Tamar, for yours.”

The Flower Valley ECD Programme is supported by the Western Cape Department of Social Development.

For more information, contact Gabrielle Jonker: Email: gcook@flowervalley.co.za.