Broadacres Academy takes a trip down Memory Lane

Broadacres Academy (formerly known as Broadacres Farm Nursery School) has been at the heart of the Broadacres community for the past 36 years.

With the opening of Phase 1 of the new school buildings in 2019, the school has been taking a trip down memory lane.

Syringa Avenue , Broadacres, in the early 1980's

MEMORY LANE | Syringa Avenue , Broadacres, in the early 1980’s

Tracing our roots

We contacted the original owner and founder of the Broadacres Farm Nursery School, Wendy Mathers, now residing in Cape Town.

Wendy was excited to hear the news of all the new developments and paid the school a visit.

She arrived armed with some of the original photos she had taken when starting up the school.

Wendy Mathers shares her original vision for the school with Dylan and André.

A SHARED VISION | Wendy Mathers shares her original vision for the school with Dylan and André.

Love at first sight

“In early 1982, I saw a newspaper photo of the Broadacres house for sale.  I fell in love with it and duly went out to view.

It was love at first sight.  When we walked down to the bottom of the property under the trees, I said to my husband ‘I want to open a Farm Nursery School here!’

Wendy opened Broadacres in January 1983 with 14 children.

The Nursery School was started in the back bedroom of the house.

Within a few weeks the demand grew from parents seeking a country experience for their children.

Wendy transported the children from Sandton and Fourways to school in a bright red Kombi.

Wendy transported the children from Sandton and Fourways to school in a bright red Kombi.

A budget of a wish and a prayer

The conversion of the farm buildings and stables began in earnest on a budget of a wish and a prayer and lots of effort.

The wooden barn was full to the roof with white polystyrene moulding offcuts.  The tenant at the time made polystyrene cornices.

Every one of the chicken sheds was full of rubbish.

It was a huge effort to prepare for the growing demand from the community for a country school.

It was a huge effort to prepare for the growing demand from the community for a country school.

To fund the development the school had barn dances, birthday parties and end of year family functions for companies.

The school ran on borehole water only which often ran out.

A legacy of caring for animals

Wendy explains how the farm animals first arrived at the Nursery School:

“We started accepting animals from the SPCA that needed rescuing.  Donkeys, ducks, geese, a calf…”

The children brought veggie waste each day, and arrival at school was accompanied by the feeding routine along the fence.

The animals knew it was treat-time and lined up from early morning.

We also accepted two pigs and had two kid goats that needed bottle feeding.  It was lots of fun.

We started accepting animals from the SPCA that needed rescuing. 

A CARING ETHOS | We started accepting animals from the SPCA that needed rescuing.

Many happy memories

The school grew from 14 children to 120 children by December 1985.

Happy memories included some of the first concerts, animal feeding and a popular outing to a neighbouring farm for tractor trailer rides.

Some memories from the early days of Broadacres Farm Nursery School.

Some memories from the early days of Broadacres Farm Nursery School.

Wendy reminisces over the “Many happy memories and a simple life style which I rather fear we no longer enjoy…

Fourways Mall was a future dream. Driving from Bryanston Shopping Centre was like a country drive!”

A legacy that lives on

Today, 36 years later, the  farm ethos is still central to Broadacres Academy,  and complements the school’s philosophy of natural learning.

Exciting developments are taking place and we have broken ground on a new chapter in the school’s history.

Phase one of our development plan for the new school facilities has been completed, and we have taken occupation of our new Admin Block and Prep School!

Dylan and André share with Wendy what the finished school will look like in 2020.

Dylan and André share with Wendy what the finished school will look like in 2020.

In addition to the thriving preschool, Broadacres Academy has grown, and now offers the community a fully fledged Junior Preparatory School with classes from Grade 0 – Grade 4. The Senior Preparatory School is growing organically, and enrolments are open for Grade 5 and 6 in 2020.

An exciting future

The Academy currently includes a Preschool (crèche to 5-year-olds), a Preparatory School (Grade 0 – Grade 4) and a Tutor Centre for registered homeschoolers (Grade 7 – Grade 12).

Learn more about the admissions process here.

We pride ourselves in delivering a 21st century education where children can follow their own educational journey and continue to love learning. This is what we believe every child is born to do.

private education in a unique and progressive environment. What more could you ask for your child?

The new school buildings have a contemporary farm design which is a testimony to the legacy of the original Broadacres Farm Nursery School.

The new school buildings have a contemporary farm design which is a testimony to the legacy of the original Broadacres Farm Nursery School.

If you attended Broadacres Farm Nursery School over the years, and have photos and memories you’d like to share, please contact us via one the channels below.  We’d love to hear from you.

 

Where to find us