The Green School is considered to be the greenest school on earth
and looks like a breathtaking place that most parents would love to send their children. While this may be a dream for many – it’s reality for one lucky group of students who are being taught to think for themselves and to solve problems that the planet will encounter by the year 2025.
Successful long time Bali residents and jewelry designers John and Cynthia Hardy, opened the doors to the Green School in September, 2008. It was after watching Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, that it came to John – he realized that if any of the ‘truths’ disclosed in this film about the environment were true – then he needed to do whatever he could to improve the possibilities for his four children. One of the keys to the success of this school is that the founders have ‘done well by doing good’. Their approach to business has been about being respectful to Bali’s land, the environment, the local people and the culture.
The eco-friendly campus is nestled among rice fields and beautiful jungle along the Ayung River in Ubud, Bali. The area remains undeveloped other than farming and landscaping to make it safe and secure. The owner’s love for bamboo is quite obvious from first glance; the classrooms are all made from bamboo and are designed to appear as if they are sprouting right out of the ground! The heart of the school – where the admin offices, the library and a few classrooms are found – is a stunning building made of two swirling vortexes that meet to create a third – and is actually the world’s largest bamboo structure in the world! Actually, everything is made of bamboo – the desks, the lockers and even the shoe cubbies. Imagine being a student here – learning in open-air classrooms breathing fresh jungle air. (I’m now thinking about all the years I spent in classrooms adorned with humming fluorescent lights and cement walls!) All the design elements at the Green School are literally, a breath of fresh air!
The education here focuses on holistic, student-centred, experiential learning. They offer Green Studies and have a strong Creative Arts curriculum, but students are still taught the essential core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, etc. Students are taught a variety of useful skills that will help them to adapt to the world around them and a lot value is placed on developing individual spiritual awareness and emotional intuition – something not taught in most traditional schools. Students learn how to grow and harvest rice, make soap from coconuts and also about things like Bio-Intensive farming, which is a method of growing that produces 2 to 6 times more food and is done up to 60 times faster than conventional methods, using 67 to 88% less water, 50 to 100% less fertilizer and 99% less energy.
Their after-school activities include a variety of sports, drama club as well as some Balinese cultural forms such as batik, gamelan and wood-carving. The school even has their own Green Waveriders Academy where students can learn surfing while gaining school credits!
Many wonderful things are happening at the Green School; it’s just too bad more of their philosophies and values aren’t made part of curriculums and theories of education all around the world. Learning in a multi-cultural environment helps kids have a wider understanding of the world around us and teaching them about conservation and sustainability and offering them opportunities for self-exploration will have tremendous positive impacts on them as individuals as well as their futures. To find out more about this fabulous school and to take a closer look at whether it’s for you and your children, check out their website at www.greenschool.org/