Green School in Bali : Green in Both Curriculum and Construction

Green School Bali

As in any other school around the country, students at the Green School in Bali are taught the rigors of mathematics, science, languages and other general subjects. The catch: they’re also learning to grow rice paddies. And yes, there’s a mud-wrestling pit here too.

The school was founded in 2006 by John Hardy, a former businessman who had enjoyed some degree of success in the jewelry business, and his partner Cynthia. It was apparently after watching Davis Guggenheim’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary on former U.S. vice president’s Al Gore’s campaign to raise awareness about global warming, that the idea to start a school based around a “green” concept had first struck Hardy.

And it was thus that the Green School had been born, launched a curriculum that, besides other subjects, focuses on imparting to students the importance of being environmentally conscious and living sustainably.

Located in the secluded Sibang Kaja area, north of the Badung Regency, the school comprises an inspiring site — both in terms of aesthetics as well as philosophy.

The complex’s distinctive buildings have all been constructed using sustainable natural materials like bamboo, and the premises are chock full of greenery — trees, plants, flowers everywhere you look. Among its most quirky features, aside from the wrestling pit where we saw several students playing, is a healing circle, featuring a large, brown crystal from Brazil, as well as a massive musical instrument crafted out of bamboo pillars and strings that emanates soothing sounds when played.

As impressive as the structure itself is, the school’s real achievements are seen in its unique teaching methods, disseminated to the almost 300 students from over 45 countries who are presently enrolled here.

“We’re not trying to be just another hippie school in the jungle,” says Ben Macrory, head of communications at the school. “It’s not like we neglect the traditional curriculum … we want our kids to be able to compete with students from any other school when they leave.”

Macrory explains that it is added emphasis on respect, humility and appreciation of all forms of life that sets the Green School apart from its more conventional counterparts in the education system.

Indeed, students are kept busy with a number of creative projects that have been conceptualized to help them understand the significance of preserving natural resources and wildlife. The pet project, for instance, assigns to them a particular animal — whether a rabbit or the Bali Starling, a rare species of bird locally referred to as the Jalak Bali — to take care of, teaching them responsibility toward animals.

Each classroom also has its own garden to tend to, and students grow ride paddies that are harvested once in a while.

“The idea behind this particular project is to take students through the rice-growing process,” Macrory says. “It’s meant to show them where their food comes from, and to inspire respect for the produce they consume on a daily basis.”

The school also boasts energy projects; the site has been fitted with about 108 solar panels, all of which work to provide 80 percent of the school’s total electricity needs. A micro-hydropower system is also in the offing, we’re told. “Hopefully, we can become completely self-sufficient and go off the grid once that comes about,” Macrory says. “We could even share our surpluses with the locals at some point.”

Besides the school’s main buildings, Hardy also built lodgings on the 9-hectare plot, creating a village of sorts that is currently managed by PT Bamboo Pure. Visitors are welcome to tour the premises to see how the school functions.

 

Source: The China Post

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