‘The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.’
We had a wonderful and BUSY 3rd term at Hlokomela Crèche. All our little babies are walking, and you can just imagine how busy it gets during the day keeping an eye on five walking and ‘talking’ babies with their own ideas of where they want to go.
I can hardly believe that the second term has already passed. So many things have happened during this term.
Our babies are all crawling, and some are well on their way to start walking. As they reach their milestones, the crèche keeps adapting inside to accommodate their safety and play area. You cannot believe how smart these little ones are. These toddlers can count to 10 in Sepedi and to 5 in English. They know their age-appropriate colours and shapes. They love singing and dancing. Teaching takes place in their home language and I speak English to them so that they can also learn another language. Some of the 3–4-year-olds have started greeting me in English when they arrive at school. You just want to hug them for being so teachable and smart. In the meantime, I’m also learning to speak Sepedi. I’m getting there but definitely not as fast as these little people.
During the weekend of 9-11 June 2023, we hosted another successful rugby coaching clinic involving the local farm children on the Verlorenkloof Farm. This is the 5th year I’ve facilitated this project, with the participation and the enjoyment increasing exponentially each year, with both boys and girls of all ages participating. These coaching clinics happen at various stages throughout the year, and it’s been quite a remarkable journey from its early stages of the clinic, where most of the children had never seen a rugby ball before, let alone learnt any of the rules.
My aim at the start of the project was never to coach or identify the next Siya Kolisi, but rather to illustrate the life skills to the children that rugby instils so well. Life skills such as teamwork, inclusivity, discipline and the value of physical exercise are just some of the skills and life lessons which I had hoped the children would take away from the rugby sessions which will be of value to their future endeavors.
The sessions usually start off with a few passing drills, where after we engage in a game of “touch rugby”. During half time the children are then treated to oranges or watermelon as a refreshment. Due to the growing participation at our last rugby clinic, I decided to include some coaching reinforcements in the form of my friends Peter Gerber, Charl Pretorius, Cara Kotze and Josephine du Plessis. The additions of the girls to the coaching team were a huge hit among the girls in the village, as it was the catalyst for the inauguration of the local Verlorenkloof hair salon (see image below).
Hopefully these rugby coaching clinics will continue to be beneficial to the kids and all those involved in the years to come – Geor Schulze, Croft 23
Newsletter 1 – To all our Verlorenkloof Owners, Friends and Guests
As you may already know, Verlorenkloof helped their staff to establish a crèche a few years ago. Our Hlokomela Crèche became a place where parents can send their little babies and toddlers in the knowledge that they will be safe and well cared for, while they themselves tend to the needs of Verlorenkloof Estate. For the last few years, the crèche found a home in the Old Farmhouse. This year however, the new management couple, Cobus and Magriet Engelbrecht moved into the farmhouse and the crèche had to find a new home.
We are celebrating a huge success for trout farming after 350 wild trout fingerlings were released into a section of the Crocodile River running through Verlorenkloof.
We first noticed a decline in trout numbers after 2015 as the effect of the drought, low water flows and high ambient temperatures became evident. When the river recovered in 2017, we were incredibly surprised when we found that the surviving trout had produced a brood of wild fingerlings in the previous winter season. The optimal water temperature for trout is 15°C. Verlorenkloof measured water temperatures of up to 25 °C in extreme conditions. As temperature rises and dissolved oxygen decreases, fish begin to experience stress. A population of trout that have been selected to be more resistant to temperature stress will be more sustainable in a warming climate.
The Verlorenkloof Wild River Fish Project was the vision of Eric Johnson and started when 10 wild trout were caught in the river by a group of expert anglers, including Daniel Factor and Marius Grobler, in 2019 and entrusted to neighbouring Lunsklip Fisheries for breeding. Lunsklip Fisheries raised and took care of the brood stock, stripped, and fertilised the eggs and bred a batch of fingerlings in the winter of 2020. This meant we now essentially had new stock of wild trout!
Early in May this year, with the assistance of Marius Grobler and Conrad Jacobs from North Gauteng Fly-fishing, the river was stocked with the wild fingerlings bred by Lunsklip Fisheries. Since the release of the fingerlings, the river fishing has recovered wonderfully. The new fish have adapted well to the natural wild environment and seem to have rejuvenated the wild trout that remained in the river.
We are getting regular reports from anglers of prolific fishing, with healthy vigorous trout caught with both nymphs and dry flies. The Crocodile River at Verlorenkloof is well on its way back to becoming one of the premier flyfishing rivers in South Africa once more!
Daniel Factor with one of the original wild trout caught in 2019.
Marius Grobler introducing more of the fingerling to their new home