goodhope_wThe Good Hope Early Childhood Development Centre in Masakhane has grown to today care for 43 children with five educators – from initially caring for 15 children in an informal dwelling. The new centre is one of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites within the Flower Valley ECD Programme.

Masakhane, a township community that borders Gansbaai, houses about 12 000 residents, with facilities for children in demand. It’s believed up to 600 children in Masakhane have no access to formal learning programmes in their years before primary school. The Good Hope ECD Centre cares for children aged three months to five years.

The Flower Valley ECD Programme, the local community and the Overstrand Municipality have collaborated in securing the new premises for the centre, a municipal building. Infrastructure has been structured to meet health and safety requirements for registration.

The centre is one of five included in the Flower Valley ECD Programme. Through this programme, funded by the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD), 107 children are benefiting from better-equipped facilities and improved capacity for practitioners. The programme is also supporting the necessary procedures for formal registration of the sites, as per DSD’s requirements, as well as site monitoring.

Fifteen practitioners are receiving training, including management capacity and training in the Milkwood Learning Programme, designed for children aged naught to four years. The training has focused on supporting the implementation of the Milkwood Learning Programme while unlocking the creativity of practitioners.

According to the practitioners attending the workshops, the training has provided new insights into their role as educators. Dorah Siduka of the Good Hope Centre says, “When the children are happy they are like bright colours, when they are sad, you can see their colours fade. We must be bright lights for the children.”

Another two sites included in the Flower Valley ECD Programme, Dolfyntjies and Seesterretjies each received a donation of R10 000 from the Overberg Community Development Trust for educational toys and equipment. According to the Programme’s Coordinator, Gabrielle Jonker, the donations have been very valuable in supporting the provision of quality education to the children.

The ECD Programme is currently updating business plans for all the centres, to support stability, and to work towards each of them taking in more children, and to further develop infrastructure.

For more information on the Flower Valley ECD Programme, contact Gabrielle Jonker. Email: gcook@flowervalley.co.za