Remember turning 18? And how you felt when you transformed from a teenager to become an adult?
Well, this year, we are proud to celebrate our 18th birthday at our Early Learning Centre – our pre-school situated on Flower Valley Farm.
Today the centre is home to 27 children, with two separate classrooms, and with a scent and education garden.
But that’s not how it started in 1999.
In fact, the centre then served as a crèche and aftercare centre for the children of parents harvesting fynbos in the Walker Bay region. Back then, the children were cared for in a room in the packshed on Flower Valley Farm.
Following a visit by an AusAID representative, Anne Creux, to Flower Valley Farm in the early 2000s, support came to build the centre. The building was carefully designed, using materials off the farm, with funding provided by AusAID.
Since 1999, the centre has enjoyed many successes.
In 2006, the Flower Valley ELC joined the Eco-Schools Programme, and thereby officially integrated environmental education into our learning programme.
Last year, we celebrated our Diamond Decade as the Overberg’s longest-serving Eco-Schools member.
And today, Flower Valley’s Early Learning Centre provides a safe learning environment not only to children from the neighbouring rural areas, but also to children from nearby towns and informal dwellings, with a bus service running daily between the towns and Flower Valley Farm.
What’s more, the children are cared for by a team of four, including practitioners and support staff – all who are enjoying further capacity development opportunities.
So congratulations to the ELC on everything you have accomplished. And a feather in your cap for the many children who’ve loved and learnt from the unique experience you’ve had to offer.