Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green School

The main reason for visiting Bali was to pay Green School a visit.

Green School incorporates sustainability within education, empowering global citizens and green innovators who are inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world. Their location on a site in an undeveloped and natural area of gentle jungle, bisected by the Ayung River, the longest river in Bali, makes it an ideal place for students to connect with nature. The site is farmed and landscaped to make it productive while being safe and secure.

They prepare students to be critical and creative thinkers who are confident to champion the sustainability of the world and its environment. It is inspiring their thirst to know more, equipping them with appropriate and relevant knowledge, and nurturing their passion to influence change in the way we are managing this planet.

International in its teaching and learning, and in its clientele, their students come from different corners of the world to join a core Balinese community of scholars – representing up to 20% of their enrollment. They bring with them their learning to date to share with their friends and to contribute to a global awareness and perspective of social issues from their countries of origin. So yes, Green School is a private school and there are fees involved.

Its curriculum combines the academic rigour expected of schools and institutions of higher learning with hands-on experiential learning within a Green Studies curriculum and a Creative Arts curriculum. This means that by holding onto the essential core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, Green School students will have doors open to them for whichever kinds of further learning and careers that they may choose.

An education at Green School is preparation for Green Leadership of tomorrow. Green School aims to be the #1 model of sustainability in education in the world, by producing students who will be the confident generation that wants to, and can, make a difference. There are three main drivers to the Green School Curriculum:

1) The essential subjects of English, Mathematics and Science in recognizing the importance of continuity and progression.

2) Green Studies in hands–on study which evolves from Nature Study to Study of Ecology to Environment Studies to Studies of Sustainability.

3) The Creative Arts in embracing Art, Crafts, Music, Drama, Story-telling among others.

As a part of their commitment to sustainability, all of their structures are built primarily from bamboo, a local, natural, renewable resource. Being at one with nature – in these classrooms without walls – has a huge and positive impact on the learning process. It positively affects the quality of relationships, the way that people conduct and behave with sensitivity to each other, and it helps those youngsters who are easily distracted in conventional classrooms to focus much more easily on their tasks – there are plenty of distractions at Green School but they are natural distractions which are acceptable to, and not in conflict with concentration.

I was on a photo-snapping frenzy. So was Dad! I will let the photos do the talking. Oh, and all information here is derived from their website.

When you walk through the gate, there would be a row of tall coconut trees to the left.

We were wondering if those bamboo poles were for monkeys or for people to balance on to collect the coconuts. Hm...

Beyond the trees was the green oval and at the end of that, the large covered outdoor activity area, where a group of children were playing basketball.

We waited at this watering hole for the tour to begin. This little cafe serves parents, where they meet in the mornings and afternoons.

In the background is Heart of School, the main building.

This shed used recycled metal sheets.

There was also another building to the right of the entrance, which housed the toilets.

They had separate toilets - one for pee and one for poo. They had instructions on the wall for what to do after completion of 'business'.

Ooh, and look at the snazzy shower!

When our tour began, we started with this path that headed towards this cute little hut.

This hut turned out to be the Principal's office!

Right opposite it is this wide structure, which at the time, had a group of children rehearsing for a musical.

We were pretty impressed with how wide the bamboo spanned.

We then came to their latest addition, the Pre-Kindergarten class.

They had the facilities custom-made to kiddy size, too!

Then it was to the Kindergarten class.

They had an outdoor sink.

And look at that play equipment!

This was the main Kindie building.

We were all taken in by the various furniture they had. And yes, all made and designed by local Balinese designers.

Further up, there were vege plots and fruit trees encircling the other buildings, which housed the older age groups.

We were allowed to go into an empty one, which made us understand that they also had traditional teacher-student teaching environments with paper and pencil tasks happening at desks.

I liked their partially sunken conference theatre.

Talk about using recyclables. The pieces of this whiteboard used to be windscreens of cars.

After visiting the whole school, it was back at the Heart of School, which up close, looked even more majestic.

Made up of three sections, I believe this triple-storey building is the largest bamboo structure there is!

Before venturing upstairs, we were required to remove our footwear and place them on these racks.

This was the entrance to their library.

The view from upstairs of the next building, where if I remember correctly, had some Year 5 classes.

I still cannot get enough of this concept of the natural light coming in through this opening. Love it!

Oh, and this bamboo forest would be a definite hit with the kids! Man, I wished I was small enough to slither through it, too! Heaps fun!

Given the economic mess that our world has created in recent times, an education system which produces more of the same is not going to work. If we are to believe just a small proportion of the statistics we are hearing and seeing about the destruction of our planet, individuals need to take a more responsible approach and education is the key starting point. Green School aims to develop responsible and green habits in young people which will be with them for life.

And in support of their good work (they are an NGO), we at kembangsari made a donation to have our name carved on one of the bamboo poles in the Heart of School building.

No comments: