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Klein Handjies Preschool on the up and up

Klein Handjies graduation 2016

“Change the first five years and you can change anything.”

History, says Lynette Carolissen, principal of the Klein Handjies Preschool at Boschendal, may well show that the decision by Boschendal’s new owners to support this preschool was the most beneficial of all the changes and improvements that they have brought about since taking over the estate in 2012.

The school is an initiative by the Franschhoek estates Solms-Delta and Boschendal.  It moved to its new buildings on the Boschendal estate a few months ago and here its numbers have been augmented by children from the Boschendal community.

Lynette has been a nursery school teacher for most of her life but, she says, the Klein Handjies Preschool, which currently has 51 children aged from three months to five years, is far and away the best she has ever been involved with. She says there are six main reasons for this.

These are:

·         It is set in a clean, calm, beautiful farm environment well away from the big towns and cities which can have negative, harmful influences on young children.

·         It has sufficient staff (seven in all) and this means that great attention can be paid to the individual.

·         It has spacious and adequate floor areas in beautifully refurbished cottages, the quality of which is appreciated not only by the children but by the parents and staff.

·         It is well equipped with books, art materials, educational toys (which are regularly changed and updated), stationery, a playground with its own vegetable garden (maintained by the older children) and a jungle gym.

·         It feeds its children throughout the day with breakfasts, morning teas, lunches and afternoon snacks.  What is more, the food is healthy and nutritious, most of it emanating from Boschendal’s farms and much of it also prepared in Boschendal’s Werf Restaurant.

·         Most importantly, it makes full use of Preschool for Africa’s Play with a Purpose Programme.  The Play with a Purpose systems and educational kits were introduced in 1991, were developed in South Africa and are widely considered to be ground-breaking in child development initiatives. The programme is based on a neuro-scientific framework and behaviour-based theories originally developed by Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in this field. He was able to show that the economic return on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) was up to 17 times greater than the same investment in high school education. Prof Heckman’s findings have validated the Play With A Purpose approach, showing that the human brain develops and learns more in the first five years of the child’s existence than at any later stage.  If, therefore, children are exposed to interesting, stimulating activities at this stage their chances of coping with later educational demands, even under very difficult conditions such as overcrowding, will be much improved.

“Play With A Purpose programmes were introduced to Gauteng some 25 years ago by Robin Wieland, who still heads up the Preschool for Africa programme, but Klein Handjies is the first school in the Western Cape to buy into their educative methods.  This exciting change has come about because Preschool for Africa is represented in the Western Cape by Colleen Harvett, a very experienced nursery school owner and principal who, when not running her own school, devotes most of her spare time to promoting Play With A Purpose programmes in the Western Cape – and it was she who talked to Boschendal CEO Rob Lundie, who, she says, very quickly grasped the value and the concepts of Play With A Purpose.

“What makes the Play With A Purpose programme so revolutionary,” says Harvett, “is that previously too little thought was given in farm schools of this kind to stimulating and developing the minds of our youngest children.  If the preschool was comfortable and the children were looked after and kept amused that was often thought sufficient.  It is only quite recently that it has been understood that these initial years of a child’s life are crucial to its later ability to learn and adapt.”

In 2017 Klein Handjies will more than double its current intake and former farm cottages on the school site are being renovated to make this possible.

“This means,” says Harvett, “that it will in time be able to take on pupils up to Grades 1 and 2 – and later possibly they will be able to go even further.  It is likely that this school will set new standards for farm education in the Boland and will find many imitators.”

www.boschendal.com | 021 870 4200 (Rob Lundie)

Leeu Estates on Travel + Leisure’s It List 2017

Leeu Estates

Leeu Estates features on Travel + Leisure’s prestigious ‘It List 2017’.  Leeu Estates and the other award-winning properties will appear in the March issue of Travel + Leisure and can also be found on TravelandLeisure.com.

Every year Travel + Leisure editors and contributors vet the most exciting debuts around the globe to create this highly selective list, which encompasses openings and major renovations from the previous year. This year, only 44 properties were included on the It List and Leeu Estates is thrilled to be one of the chosen few.

“It is a great honour to have Leeu Estates included on this prestigious list, in such good company. Analjit Singh, founder of Leeu Collection, along with the team, has brought to life the beauty and warmth of this property.  We look forward to further growth in 2017 and invite everyone to experience the magic of Leeu Estates and the entire Franschhoek region,” said Carrie Wicks, CEO of Leeu Collection.

www.leeucollection.com

Harvest time hurrahs

Harvest hand skills

It’s that time of the year when wagons labouring under loads of grapes roll along the valley roads to deliver their crush-ready berries to the cellars. We speed dialled one or two wine makers before going to print, to find out how the harvest was doing. By all accounts it’s going to be a good year. Here’s what they said:

DP Burger, manager and wine maker at GlenWood:

“As a rule GlenWood usually starts with grapes sold to some of the prominent bubbly producers in Franschhoek. The initial feeling was that the 2017 crop will be a bit lighter than 2016, but this is definitely not the case here. To date, with all Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes picked, we look to be on par with the 2017 yields.

“Starting approximately 1 week later than 2016, the vintage did catch up quickly and harvesting dates, especially on the whites, are now 3 days ahead of 2016.

“Quality is right up there with beautiful flavours and firm acidities throughout. Suddenly the light at the end of the harvesting tunnel is definitely a train on its way! Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet etc etc are all there, ready to be picked!

There will be an interesting couple of weeks ahead.”

Craig McNaught wine maker at Stonybrook Vineyards:

“With the weather leading up to the 2017 vintage, the vines have been pretty stressed, which means the grapes are getting to optimal ripeness before the sugars are too high. This is a really good thing for our style of wine, as we like ripe flavours without having super high levels of alcohol. I’ve been really happy with the quality of the grapes that have come in so far, particularly the Chardonnay. I think 2017 has the potential to be a great year, provided we don’t get massive heat in the next few weeks.”

Clayton Reabow, wine maker at Môreson Family Winery:

“Thus far in Franschhoek the 2017 vintage looks promising and most certainly a better vintage than 2016. Although a water deficit as a result of the on-going drought continues, we have been very fortunate not to have experienced a damaging heat wave such as December 2015 prior to the 2016 vintage.

“Overall, vineyards that have received sufficient rainfall have recovered well and we are experiencing a 25% increase in crop. Ripening patterns are also stabilising and are in some cases 7 to 9 days later than last year.

“The fruit is very healthy and packed with flavour. We should see as good a vintage as 2015 if patterns continue, especially on Chardonnay.”

Wikus Pretorius, wine maker at La Petite Ferme:

“The 2017 harvest started off a couple of days earlier for La Petite Ferme. We picked some of our earlier Sauvignon Blanc at lower sugars to retain the freshness. I was really surprised at how good the acids were even through the drought. It’s been relatively cool and this definitely helped. Berries seem to be smaller and yields per ton are down, but the quality so far is excellent. I anticipate being about 10% up in volume from last year.

For now it seems that the ripening is going nice and slow which is great for the reds.  If the weather holds I expect 2017 to be a good one.”

Cape Wine Auction raises record R22.3 million

FLTR: Cape Wine Auction Director Darielle Robertson with Mike Ratcliffe, Wendy Appelbaum, Raymond Ndlovu and Andi Norton.

In a spectacular show of generosity bidders at the Cape Wine Auction, sponsored by Nedbank Private Wealth, helped the event’s organisers to raise a staggering R22.3 million. The event took place at Antonij Rupert Wyne Estate on Saturday, 11 February.

All proceeds from the auction, with no deduction, will be allocated to 22 beneficiary organisations, all of whom make a profound impact on education and the lives of children in the Cape Winelands.

Lots comprising exciting travel, luxury accommodation and limited edition wines went under the hammer. A bespoke experience in the Napa Valley, California, reached a bid of 3 million – the highest bid achieved since the auction’s inception in 2014.

The Lionel and Anton Smit collaborative sculpture, created especially for the auction and standing three meters tall reached an incredible R1.2 million. This lot included a wine and dine experience at Idiom Fine Dining Restaurant and Wine Estate.

Guests from across South Africa and as far as the USA, Germany and Sweden were treated with cuisine prepared by some of South Africa’s leading chefs, limited edition wines and performances by Zolani Mahola, Watershed’s Craig Hinds and George Town.

Cape Wine Auction Director, Darielle Robertson, says they are overwhelmed by the generosity of the bidders.

“We were aiming to raise R15 million this year but the final tally has left everyone speechless. The commitment to giving back, changing lives and sharing good fortune was certainly testament in the bids raised. With this money we can expand our programmes and assist beneficiaries to reach even greater heights than they’ve achieved so far.”

La Cotte stream water pollution resolved?

The source of the water pollution that has been plaguing down-stream users of the La Cotte stream’s water since November 2016. Corrective measures have now been put in place.

Users of water from the La Cotte stream have been complaining of pollution in the stream since late November 2016. Problems experienced included discolouration; yeasty, sewerage-type smells; slimy deposits in the stream and soapy/frothing water that clogs filters in irrigation systems. The source of the pollution was identified as the Libstar 3 plant on Chamonix farm.

Cabriere Street planning blues

Little remains of the original historic cottage

A growing body of Franschhoek residents and the Franschhoek Trust and Ratepayers Association are bringing pressure to bear on Stellenbosch Municipality’s Planning Department to ‘stick to the rules’ and enforce compliance with building and zoning regulations.

Bridge House students do good in Philippolis

Bridge House students test their roofing skills.

Busy days, hot sun, dusty streets, smiling faces, sweaty bodies and full hearts are some of the phrases used  by Bridge House students to describe their experience working at a community partnership project in Philippolis during the first week of the December holidays.  John Varty, who runs the Tiger Canyons Conservation project near Philippolis, together with the Good Work Foundation, originally set up the project in this area, where one of the most impoverished communities in the country lives. The project forms part of Tiger Canyons’ social responsibility outreach. The Good Work Foundation continues to run this as an ongoing project, along with other projects around the country.

Celebrating 15 years of physiotherapy in Franschhoek

The Claire Horn Physiotherapy team: Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot, Tracy Prowse and Alishia Jafthas.

Claire Horn and Associates Physiotherapy is celebrating fifteen years of “Physiotherapy in Franschhoek” this year. We are now 4 physiotherapists – Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot and Tracy Prowse – and have 3 treatment sites: Franschhoek, Pearl Valley and Bridge House School. Alishia Jafthas, well known to many of you, is our office manager and handles the phone, accounts and all of us!!

Boschendal’s Black Angus herd takes top award

Boschendal's Black Angus stud

Boschendal Estate has been awarded the Angus Society of South Africa 2016 Trophy for the best Black Angus commercial breeder in the Western Cape.

La Motte Museum exhibition pays tribute to Pierneef

Pierneef Bushveld trees (1955), La Motte Museum collection, displayed on JH Pierneef studio easel with a bronze bust of Pierneef by Coert Steynberg, DITSONG collection

A new exhibition at the La Motte Museum pays tribute to the life and work of SA artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Fittingly titled A Tribute to the life and work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) the exhibition will run for the duration of 2017. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s contribution to South African art and enhances La Motte’s permanent heritage collection with selected artworks and personal artefacts from various South African collections.

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