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Bedford Country School has developed as a natural progression from our existing Bedford Pre-Primary School, which has served the greater Bedford Community for well over 20 years.

The building our new school is housed in was originally built as a school in Bedford in 1910.  Generous benefactors have kindly purchased this building for the purpose of moving our existing Pre-Primary School and expanding to include Grade One, Two and Three classes. Boarding facilities will be available in January 2010 to accommodate children who come from afar. We intend to create a homely atmosphere whereby the parents will be welcome to sleep over should they wish. The school has forty children in attendance for 2010.

Bedford Country School aims to provide affordable, individualized, quality, hands on education for Bedford and the surrounding communities. We are a Christian-based school, offering small co-educational, dual medium classes. Our educational programme is based on the Revised National Curriculum Standards but we at Bedford Country School will continually strive to develop their learning experiences far beyond the required assessment standards. With these goals in mind, we have added the following specialized programmes: Knowledge Network, Eco-School Curriculum and Music for our little ones.

Bedford Country School has a subsidy fund, offering financial support and assistance wherever possible. We subsidise a third of our pupils but unfortunately have lost our main sponsorship for 2010. These children have been at our school on subsidies from the age of 3 and now, in great faith, we have told them to return in 2010 and hopefully we will find the funds to support them further.

One of our main aims is to use who we are, our industries, our environmental problems and nature in learning

One of our main aims is to use nature, our beautiful surrounds and our talented community as our extended classroom. Eco-School was just a natural path to follow and incorporate into our curriculum. Bedford and the surrounding area is rich in history, wildlife, bird life, flora, fauna and a world renowned garden festival which takes place annually at the end of October (Bedford Garden Festival). The community is full of talented people from conservationists, artists, passionate gardeners, a butterfly collector with some of the world’s rarest butterflies in his large collection, historians, a vintage car collection and a world-renowned watch maker. We have our very own animal whisperer who has a bush camp and often takes school groups on outings and talks where they track animal spoors, droppings and learn about cross species communication. Here they get the opportunity to observe animals in their natural environment.

Our area is steeped in history, from the rare and beautiful Koi San paintings in the surrounding mountains to the church and gravesite of Thomas Pringle who settled in the nearby valley in 1820. Bedford is also a very popular hunting and photographic safari destination. The area is malaria free and offers a vast variety of game and bird life species. Bedford is easily accessible from Port Elizabeth and East London airports and has accessible roads for bus tours. The professional hunters are normally the landowners and manage to monitor the hunting and culling process closely. The hunters normally use the walk and stalk method, which is one of the most ethical ways in which to hunt.

Farming is the main industry in our area and most of the farmers are moving into their 6th generation. Beef, sheep, wool, goats are the main farming industry in our area. Bedford has over 30 game species and is +- 30km from a game farm which hosts the Big 5. Bedford has many suitable camps and lodges to accommodate large groups.

Our farmers are daily faced with the following conservation issues:

  1. Drought: We are currently faced with the biggest drought in 100 years and if it doesn’t rain before March our re-growth for next year will not be able to sustain our animals for grazing. Due to the lack of feed the wildlife has had to be culled or sold. Farmers have been forced to downsize their stock as the carrying capacity of our land has diminished severely.
  2. Fire breaks: Arsonists are deliberately setting fires along the roads burning out huge areas of grazing. The new green shoots that appear after a fire attract the now hungry game which allow the poachers easy shots at innocent game grazing on the road side.
  3. Water: Our local municipality has mismanaged our town water supply. Due to this our town dam and river have dried up and the municipality were too late to implement water restrictions.
  4. Pollution: The sewerage dam has also been mismanaged and now overflows into the Bedford River with livestock grazing off the green velt nearby.

We have built these eco-problems and their solutions into the school and our eco-programme. Knowledge Network, their e-learning extensions and the use of e-learning has fitted into the vision we had for our new school. We often interlink our Knowledge Network lessons with our eco-school programme and community-based project.

Here are a few examples of how we are using Knowledge Network and the e-learning extensions:

Based on the Knowledge Network lessons where animals gather in the forest to discus man destroying their forest homes.

  • Carbon footprint lesson – the pupils were awarded nuts for each “correct” answer e.g. How do you get to school? Walk, car, bicycle. The pupil who responded with walking or bicycle were awarded a nut. Numerous questions were asked and the learners with the most nuts had the smallest carbon footprint.
  • The pupils walked to the dry Nyoga River, which is the main town river. They were shown how an overdeveloped township without proper forward planning has resulted in the river running dry. Due to the lack of water, the fish, frogs, insects and birdlife have been severely affected.

Based on the fishing in the dam Grade 01 lesson and the water sport pre-primary lesson we have linked it to:

  • Water conservation – Bedford is in the midst of its worst drought experienced in 100 years.
  • Running water – numeracy lesson on how to save water from brushing teeth, washing hands etc.
  • Placing 2l coke bottles in the toilet systems.
  • Planting vegetables in an eco-circle – recycle and save water, which is linked to water lessons.
  • Clubs – fishing

Based on the worm lesson – drawing worm bodies we have linked it to our wormery which we use in the vegetable garden. The worm juice works wonders as a fertilizer and shows how worms can turn waste into goodness for the soil.

Marketing and entrepreneurial projects

  • Jenna, a 5 year old making her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary invitation using clip art and word art.
  • Chad, an 8 year old making a poster using the same skills for an entrepreneurial project.

Through the full implementation of Knowledge Network integrated learning using ILAMM (Integrated Learning and Mentoring Methodology developed by Jil D Hrdliczka in 1994) and the materials for each of the Progressive Learning Programme levels (Pre-school, Grade 00 R, Grade 01, Grade 02) – using the computer as a tool for life and learning, working indoors and outdoors with environmental outdoor issues and world issues, climate change, global warming, learning how to live in your environment without destroying nature or polluting the environment –

We are empowering our children with the knowledge and practical knowhow to live a green life and to spread this powerful message to family and friends thus making a difference not only in the individual’s life but also within our community.

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