Green School – The school of the future in the Balinese jungle

How exciting were your days at school back then? Were you happy when you finally graduated and you weren’t stuck in this boring classroom any more? Well, since last week I wish I would be 10 again and could go to school one more time.

We visited Green School. And this is just the coolest, most creative and future oriented school concept I’ve ever seen.

First there are no doors, walls or windows in any of the classrooms or other buildings. Everything is open and made out of natural materials, like bamboo – it kind of feels like a school in the jungle.

The approach is to recreate the connection between people and the environment and to head “back to nature“.

At the moment there are around 440 students from 3-17 years and they learn meaningful stuff. Besides intellectual subjects the curriculum mainly focuses on sustainability, wellbeing and emotional & social skills. I often wonder why we didn’t learn more about the human brain, our emotions and how to communicate and interact with each other – I think this would make the world a totally different place. At green school mindfulness (like meditation or breathing) is a key practice before every class – no matter what age the kids are.

There is no “sitting the whole day in a classroom in front of the whiteboard and learn how to multiply and spell D O J O” – learning is based on hands-on-experiences and practical examples – like learning maths while baking a pizza and weighing all the ingredients or learning about food from “seed to table“ – that means the students are growing and harvesting fruits and veggies, preparing, serving and finally eating the food. There is even a “classroom” outside, located around a mud pit: the class is called “mud wrestling” and the goal is to learn social skills and teamwork.

The students are empowered to do something meaningful. Tests don’t exist – they have to work on a project that they are passionate about and at the end of the semester they are holding a presentation in the style of a TED talk. You can watch some of these so called “Greenstone Presentations” on Youtube.

Last year the two sisters Melati and Isabel (12 and 14 years old) were presenting their project and their ongoing quest to stop the use of plastic bags in Bali, during TEDGlobal>London – the premier of the first ever TED talk by Green School students. How cool is that?

The passionate girls went out to gather signatures and organised beach clean ups. They even did a hunger strike to get a meeting with the Governor of Bali. And recently they achieved something unbelievable: the government committed to rid the island of plastic bags by 2018. I’m getting goosebumps.

John & Cynthia Hardy, Founders of Green School:

“We are building Green School to create a new paradigm for learning. We want children to cultivate physical sensibilities that will enable them to adapt and be capable in the world. We want children to develop spiritual awareness and emotional intuition, and to encourage them to be in awe of life’s possibilities”,

What a great philosophy. I hope they are building schools like this all over the world. And I wish I could be 10 again.

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