The Flower Valley Early Learning Centre has been awarded the Platinum Award for its involvement in the Eco-Schools Programme. The centre, which cares for children aged two to six from in and around the Gansbaai area, is the longest-serving Eco-Schools member in the Overberg, having taught the education programme for the past nine years.
The Eco-Schools Programme combines learning and action to support environmental sustainability in schools and in the surroun-ding communities. It is used around the world. According to the Overstrand Eco-Schools Assessment team, the Flower Valley Early Learning Centre has implemented the programme in a way that “truly creates and instills awareness in the learners”. The assessors said the centre makes good use of the natural environment as a teaching tool. The Early Learning Centre is based on Flower ValleyFarm – a landscape covered in fynbos and indigenous forests. The school has its own vegetable garden, where children spend time daily.
Aside from Flower Valley Farm, the children enjoy weekly ou-tings, visiting neighbours such as Platbos and Grootbos, to learn how these partners are protecting the environment. Currently 24 children from surrounding local communities are being educated at the Flower Valley centre. They receive good nutrition and a nature-based education, as per the Eco-Schools programme. In South Africa, the programme covers themes such as Nature and Biodiversity, Community and Heritage, Resource Use, Healthy Living and Local and Global Issues. These themes are then easily integrated into the SA national curriculum, which is relevant to the Grade R children.
According to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in February 2015, the Eco-Schools programme is one of the most effective projects for bringing about much-needed change for sustainability over the past 10 years. The programme is implemented by the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (WESSA) in South Africa. For more information on the Flower Valley Early Learning Centre, contact Jimmona Schuurman - email: firstname.lastname@example.org.