Is this the best school in the world?

Pre Kinder at Green School

One of the reasons we were drawn to Bali was a school. We’re not planning on having kids anytime soon nor do we even know if that’s a path we’ll go down, but we realised when we were in San Pancho that when it comes to choosing a place to live, good education options might be something we need to pay attention to. San Pancho has that covered with the Costa Verde School in Sayulita, which has a focus on sustainability – something I hadn’t come across before in a school. It prompted me to do a little research into other eco-focused schools around the world, through which I quickly found Bali’s Green School.

Voted the Greenest School on Earth, Green School lies just outside Ubud and is one of the most fascinating schools I’ve ever come across. People move from all over the world to send their children there, and it maintains high academic standards while also focusing on sustainability and creativity within its curriculum. The school’s director, John Hardy, gave a Ted Talk, which explains its ethos and his motivation for creating it. It’s an inspiring story and one that helped confirm Ubud was a place that we wanted to explore. We couldn’t wait to take a look.

Join us for a tour of this beautiful school…

Green School tour

Green school pre-kindergarten sign

Our friend JanJan, who hosted us as couchsurfers in Sao Paulo, Brazil, moved to Ubud around the same time we did. Like many of the Green School teachers, she moved halfway across the world to work there.

Paris-2

JanJan teaches pre-kindergarten and is in love with the school’s style. She showed us around her classroom and the other kindergarten years…

Pirate boat, Green school bali

…including their amazing pirate ship.

Auditorium Green School Bali

We also joined the official Green School tour which takes place every day. First stop was the auditorium where assemblies and drama productions take place. The entire school is made primarily from bamboo, a material that was chosen because it’s indigenous to the area and grows at an impressive speed. John Hardy’s daughter, Laura, heads the design team.

Green School sign Bali

In keeping with the school’s commitment to sustainability, there’s a bird conservation centre on the grounds.

Man and parrot at Green School bird sanctuary

This man told us how eight years ago, there were only six Bali Starlings left. With the centre’s help, the numbers are slowly rising. They also care for other rescued birds like this African Grey.

Bridge at The Green School

Our next stop on the tour was the river and its striking bridge.

Bridge opening at Green school

It’s an impressive piece of architecture,

Roof of green school bridge

…especially the sloped roof.

Green school view from bridge

Alongside the river is a natural swimming pool for the kids to play in. There’s also a hydroelectric power plant being built downstream, which uses innovative technology to harnesses the power of a water vortex instead of needing a wheel. Once finished, this will power 100 per cent of the school’s energy needs.

Solar energy at Green school

Currently solar panels provide 70 per cent.

Green school sign

Next to the river lies the school’s vegetable gardens where the children learn to grow their own produce.

Classroom at Green school

We visited on the last day of term when all the kids had already left, but it’s possible to do a tour when they’re there to get a better idea of the school in action. All the classrooms are open air, fulfilling John Hardy’s desire for a “school without walls”.

green school pod classroom

When it gets too hot, the designers came up with an ingenious plan. It’s called a classroom bubble and inflates over the space above, creating an area that can be air conditioned (you can see a demo on Hardy’s Ted Talk).

Children at The Green School

Our guide told us that being in nature enriches the children’s learning. Instead of being a distraction, the constant connection to the environment has a positive effect on problem solving and intelligence.

Heart of School, Green School

The final stop on our tour was the most impressive of the school’s buildings. In the school I grew up in, it would have been known as the Main School. Here, they call it the Heart of School.

Downstairs heart of green chool

Downstairs is where the students come to eat. It’s also home to the older years’ computer labs.

In side the heart of Green school

Three stories high with a spiral roof, it’s a breathtaking sight.

Roof of Green school

Amazing!

green school admin bali

The second and third floors are where the school admin takes place.

green school gallery

There was a also a small exhibition,

Victoria through the bamboo

….and a forest of bamboo stalks to wade through. If you donate to the school, you can have your name engraved on any piece of bamboo throughout the grounds. Funds go towards the school itself, as well as its scholarship program, which offers schooling to local children.

green school field bali

So there you have it, the Green School.

Earth art at Green School

In Steve’s words: “I wish I was a child so I could go there!”

What do you think? Would you move to Bali to send your kids there?

Useful info on Green School

The Green School teaches kids from pre-kindergarten up to Grade 12 (ages 3-19) . Tuition costs from $6,280 - $13,630 per year. It is about half an hour outside Ubud. There is a scholarship program for local children. More info can be found on the Green School website

Posted on January 6, 2014 by Victoria in Bali, Destinations, Photo stories 9 Comments

9 Responses to Is this the best school in the world?

  1. Naomi

    This school is beautiful. Never seen anything like it before. The environment is so friendly. Thank you for writing about it because maybe i could have never known about it. Great photography! :)

     
  2. Kellie

    Wow what an amazing school, just the space would make it an ace school to go to. I totally agree with Steve I wish I could be a child and go there too!

     
    • Victoria

      I just wish there was one a little closer to home! I heard rumours they may be starting one in Portugal, which would be wonderful.

       
  3. Hogga

    damn, i wish i went there!
    Hogga recently posted..Why Everyone Should Go Eat a PeckerMy Profile

     
    • Victoria

      Seems we all do!

       
  4. Kara Brandt

    Been wanting to visit Bali for so many wonderful reasons and I think I will push through this plan early next year. Great location and school.

     
    • Victoria

      Great! Have a lovely time and let us know how it goes.

       
  5. Ivana

    What an awesome concept!! I really do love all from design to the ideas they work with. Thanks for sharing :)
    Ivana recently posted..Love on the Road: 5 Questions to 5 Digital Nomad CouplesMy Profile

     
    • Victoria

      They really do seem to have hit on a winning combination. The design is breathtaking.

       

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