By Gabrielle Cook-Jonker, ECD Programme Manager
Since September 1998 the ECD programme has served the children, families and teachers of the Overstrand with great commitment, passion and skills. The programme has grown tremendously in these 18 years.
The arrival of spring bought not only a burst of flowers but also five beautiful, committed, passionate and skilled people to our ECD team. We work together to improve the quality of life through the service we deliver daily to young children, their caregivers, parents and teachers.
We can now build on the solid foundation of work, partnerships and relationships that have developed over the past 18 years.
So meet our four new team members:
Cath joined the ECD team in July. She has a Library Science degree, a diploma in Environmental Education and a MA in Fine Arts. Her experience as a librarian, environmental educator, research assistant, nature guide and in running her own business adds great value to our programme.
Her understanding of the interconnected nature of the health of families, children and the environment and her excellent sense of humour and dedication are some of her many special qualities.
She joins us in an administrative, management and governance role where she supports and coaches centre management committees, and manages and administers the ECD programme.
Kieran joined the team in September as our Home Based Co-ordinator and Support Teacher. Her initial contact with Flower Valley was as a volunteer where her loving and caring spirit shone brightly.
Kieran has a Social Work degree and experience in special needs and community work with an environmental slant. She brings with her experience as a massage therapist, a love for gardening, walking in the mountains and horse riding. Her open-hearted nature and educational background unfolds in her love for serving vulnerable children.
Elizabeth also joined us in September and is one of those people who you know will find a solution in a difficult situation. She is pragmatic, efficient, kind, grounded and confident. Elizabeth has a degree in Foundation Phase education and an Honours Degree in Inclusive Education and is our Registration and Learning Programme Coordinator.
She brings to the team teaching and ECD project management experience and has a passion for empowering women personally and professionally in a teaching and learning environment. She also has a great understanding of the value of play in early childhood and skills in addressing barriers to learning.
Natasha is an angel. A wife of a farmer and a mother of three boys, she lives just outside Baardskeerdersbos and is our Home Based Field Worker. The compassion, care and attention that she brings to vulnerable families is an inspiration.
She goes way beyond the call of duty and in her time working at Flower Valley has already had a life-changing impact on the families of the Baardskeerdersbos area. She is currently completing her level 1 qualification in ECD and will continue her educational journey in ECD.
A final word from me:
From me Gabrielle, the ECD Programme Manager, I extend my gratitude to these four women and to the donors that believe and invest in the service we deliver. Every day children’s lives are better due to the love and commitment of women such as Cath, Kieran, Elizabeth and Natasha. Every day the power of play and care changes the lives of children and families.
We still have a long way to go and the challenges are great, but with such an inspired team and with the love and beauty of the children and families that we work with, we feel confident about the road ahead.