Green School of Ubud, Bali
“If these kids graduate as whole people, chances are they will demand a whole world to live on”
I recently learned about Green School while at home for the holidays this past Christmas.
It is the kind of place I wish I had gone to school, and it is a place I recall dreaming up with a close friend years back when we were still in our teens. We found Green School to be so inspiring, that it almost makes Cody and I want to have kids.
I said almost.
Green School is a brilliant concept thought up by John and Cynthia Hardy, and partly inspired by Rudolph Steiner of Waldorf fame.
Green School is located just outside of Ubud, Bali, amidst natural beauty.
It is a place where kids are free to find, and be themselves, where children are encouraged to discover what it is they would like to do with their own lives, and most importantly, a place where all of this is nurtured and supported by the adults around them.
We wanted to learn more about Green School, so while in Bali, we took the opportunity to take a tour. When we arrived it felt like we were at a festival.
There was live music playing; vocals, saxophone, drums. Later we noticed it was a group of students practicing In the bamboo bandstand.
There was a big field where kids of all ages were playing soccer with who we assumed were teachers. We sat down at their raw living food cafe to wait for our tour to start, and just observed.
Some kids were just getting out of class and parents were waiting for them at the cafe. There was so much life, happiness, and fun surrounding us it was contagious. It felt good to feel that kind of energy, and at a school no less.
Kids from all walks of life and backgrounds from 50 different countries attend Green School, including 20% being from Indonesia. It was very important to John and Cynthia to give back to the community, so 20% of their students attend green school through their Balinese scholarship fund. These kids will be Bali’s next green leaders.
It is also very important that parents are involved with their kids, the school, and community. Most parents move to Bali and build a life there. There are only 9 kids in boarding.
The focus, and main goals and concerns of Green School is to raise happy and successful humans, that are conscious, and confident to care for the world around them.
There are no walls at Green School. All of the kids learn in beautiful bamboo structures with the breeze passing by. They are always in view of the earth around them. The heart of green school is a double helix completely constructed from bamboo.
John hardy founded Ibuku, an architecture company that specializes in bamboo structures. All of the buildings at Green School are primarily made from bamboo. Bamboo is a very sustainable material. It is extremely fast growing, it absorbs very little moisture, and it is as strong and dense as teak.
Green School is off the grid, and 90% of the food at Green School comes from their organic garden; they have their own compost, and the 2nd vortex to be built in the world that produces 8000 watts of electricity day and night.
The style of teaching is holistic, focusing on the head, spirit, and body.
Incorporated in the teaching is Balinese culture, nature, recycling, permaculture, love of self, and community.
Each class has a maximum of 25 students, with 3 teachers.
The curriculum at Green School is student centred. A day goes from 8am to 3:30pm, and there are 3 frames of learning: experiential, integral, and instructional.
The curriculum integrates all aspects of the child’s nature, multiple intelligences and curiosity for learning.
This is approached through a hands-on practicum model that is part of an academic program where learning is integrated into the natural and permaculture environment, and to understand sustainability as an entire web of relationships in community, interacting with other communities – human and non-human – in ways that enable them to live and develop according to their nature.
In 2013 Green School had their first graduates. Some applied to universities abroad and were accepted, others had a very entrepreneurial spirit, and decided to go their own way and start their own businesses.
We had an amazing experience at Green School, and can only hope that more schools and other institutions around the world follow their lead and put the importance of happiness and environment first.
Success will follow.
Check out this great TED Talk by John Hardy about Green School.