Green School

Green School

by Ecocircular, October 12, 2017


Today, we’re visiting Green School with Bintang from Ecobali Recycling. She goes to this school every Wednesday to organise the waste collection. 

What’s the green school? 

Green School is located in the island of Bali in Indonesia. It’s made for foreigners and Indonesian students from kindergarten to high school.  Green School was conceived by its Canadian founders, John and Cynthia Hardy in 2006, following their exit from their jewelry business. After years of homeschooling, the Hardys wanted their daughters to attend a ‘real’ school. John wanted the girls to attend a school that he believed in, a school that he would want to attend, and he wanted to stay in Bali. When he read Alan Wagstaff’s “Three Springs”, he was so inspired by the dream that he wanted to build it in Bali.

The School’s bamboo bridge, spanning 22 meters across the Ayung River, was completed in November 2006, creating a beautiful, strong symbol of the transition from the realm of idea to reality.

Green School opened in September 2008 with 90 students and a tailor-made campus that emerged from the jungle and rice fields. Since then it has grown to 400 students and to an inspiring example of education for sustainability.

Why is it special? 

Green School Not only has classes of English, Indonesian, Mathematics, Sciences… but also has classes about the environment. Their aim is to educate for sustainability, through community-intergraded, entrepreneurial learning, in a wall-less, natural environment (cf pictures). Their holistic, student-guided approach inspires and empowers them to be green leaders.

What’s in this school? 

Kembali area

Kembali means « Bring back » in Indonesian. It’s an area where every student can bring it’s waste and then sort it among brown paper, white paper, glass, organic waste (for composting) and different sorts of plastic depending on their composition and so their thickness. It’s what we call a « Waste Bank ». This collected waste, Kembali sells it to recyclers. They also have a shop made of recycled hand made products. Thanks to the money Kembali collects, and thanks to some government subsidies, the Green School offers free tuition fees to local Indonesian students whose parents can’t afford it. 

Let’s stay realistic, the money they get from selling the collected waste would never be enough to pay for tuition fees. The value of the waste is very low. Here are some figures to give you an idea:

  • 1kg of plastic from the waster bottles = 1800 IDR (0,11€)
  • 1kg of soft plastic from packages for plastic bags = 200 IDR (0,01€)
  • 1kg of hard plastic from from packages like shampoo = 20 000 IDR (1,25€)

Theatre, Music area and art exhibition

At Green School, intelligence is developed in through art classes. You will learn music, dancing, cooking, painting, drawing, how to create your own soap from recycled olive oil… 

Green School’s mission is embodied in the Learning & Living Ambitions. The Learning & Living Ambitions presents the overall picture of each member of the Green School community and the qualities and competencies we hope to instill in our graduates. The Green School Skills and Learning Principles guide everything we do and combined are intended to foster the qualities and competencies in the Learning & Living Ambitions. It is the WHAT we learn plus the HOW we learn that equals the goal of WHO we are and WHERE we want to go.

Food market and vegetable garden

The vegetable garden and the food market are ways to create a strong community inside the school. Every day, teachers and students have lunch together. Among what they eat are the organic vegetables that grew up in their own vegetable market. For the parents, this system triggers the security that their children will eat healthy food every day. Since Kinder garden, students are taught to compost their left overs. Then every afternoon, there’s a collection of the composting bins to avoid the development of any infection.

One downturn of this school? 

Tuition fees for international students are very expensive: from 6000 to 13000 € per year depending on your grade. This makes this amazing school limited to a certain elite of people. 

What’s the future of these children? 

Many initiatives (companies or associations) have flourished from Green School education. The most famous one is ByeByePlasticBags which was founded by Melati and Isabel Wijsen, 2 Green School students. BBPB is a social initiative to say no to plastic bags. Melati and Isabel started to take actions around Bali such as petitions, flash mobs, events, and eventually, they attracted enough attention that the Indonesia Government committed to ban plastic bags in Bali by 2018. BBPB has expanded and now has branches in China, Nepal, Mexico… 

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