Flower Valley’s Early Learning Centre has become the first school in the Overberg region of South Africa to receive the Eco-Schools Diamond Decade Award. The award celebrates 10 years of environmental education, as per the Eco-Schools curriculum, and is presented by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa).
Flower Valley Conservation Trust is a non-profit organisation operating across the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa. The Trust works to protect fynbos landscapes, jobs dependent on fynbos, and to support a holistic education to pre-school centres in the region. Fynbos is a shrubby vegetation that is picked for bouquets sold around the world, although it faces many threats, with many species already extinct.
When the Trust launched in 1999, an Early Learning Centre was also started on Flower Valley Farm, the home of the Trust in the Western Cape. This pre-school provided a safe learning environment for the children of fynbos harvesters at the time. Today, the centre cares for 27 children aged two to six from across the region, including the rural areas and the small towns situated nearby.
According to the Wessa Eco-Schools team, the Flower Valley centre is providing young children passing through the centre “a good and sound environmental ethic”.
The centre was praised for its well-stocked vegetable garden, medicinal plants section, water-wise garden and scented garden. “This must bring great joy to all at school and to your visitors.” The centre teaches youngsters how to plant their own gardens, compost, recycle, upcycle and about sustainable water use, among other themes.
Wessa coordinates the Eco-Schools programme in South Africa. More than 10,000 schools participate in the programme across the country.