Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE)

“The greenest school on earth”

 

By Ben Macrory, Green School, Bali

 

“The greenest school on earth” dispenses a mix of academic education with a profound respect for the environment. Its founders aim to make a difference: it seems that they will.

 

Green School’s campus straddles both sides of the Ayung River in Sibang Kaja, Bali. After only four years of operation, the school has garnered attention and acclaim for its pioneering efforts to interweave academic learning with environmentally sustainable practices. It enjoys one of the most beautiful campuses imaginable and is surrounded by lush organic gardens. Green School serves an international population of 275 students from 45 countries; it also supports a scholarship programme for local Balinese children.

 

Green School offers a widely respected international curriculum, but academic education at Green School comes wrapped in rich layers of experiential, environmental and entrepreneurial learning plus the creative arts. To every extent possible, lessons are taken out of the classroom and involve hands-on activities that have a close link to nature. The school’s goal is simple but ambitious: to provide students with the skills and content they will need to be effective and successful in global markets while, at the same time, help them to become environmentally responsible citizens with a keen sense of how our fragile planet can continue to develop.

 

 

Open-air classrooms and student-designed gardens in the foreground; behind it is
the school’s main building and one of the largest bamboo structures in the world.
© Green School Bali

 

 

 

Even the Creative Arts are integrated as much as possible with
environmentally sustainable practices: some projects are created using
recycled materials while others feature environmental themes.

© Green School Bali

 

The campus has been designed and built so as to have as small an impact as possible on the environment. Therefore, only a handful of trees were cut down, and many were successfully replanted elsewhere (several structures still feature live trees growing through their roofs) and buildings were erected according to the natural topography of the land, so no earth was moved. Bamboo is the primary structural material used, but other local, natural and renewable materials were also employed, including thatch, volcanic stone, rammed earth and traditional Balinese mud wall.

 

Open-air structures allow for natural light and ventilation and are equipped with ceiling fans and an innovative system of air-conditioned bubbles: this space inside the classroom can be enclosed with a latex-painted canvas fabric which is then inflated by an electric fan to create a ballon-type structure that can then be air conditioned. The latex seal keeps the cool air inside, enabling the school to use minimal electricty. Rooms therefore stay cool even during the hottest days. Green School grows much of the food it consumes, including organic rice, fruit and vegetables, and while the school currently relies on the mains for most of its power, it is in the process of becoming self-sufficient through a combination of solar and micro-hydro projects and biogas systems.

 

     

A bamboo design class: students learn the basic principals of architecture and engineering in math class and then learn about bamboo’s unique properties before designing (and in some cases actually building) their own structures.

© Green School Bali

     

Green School is home to a number of innovative environmental initiatives, including a project run in association with the Begawan Foundation to breed several endangered bird species. It also encourages local farmers to grow bamboo on land they otherwise would not be cultivating by giving them seedlings, teaching them how to tend them, and eventually buying back the mature poles. Through these programmes, students “learn by doing” and interact with local communities.

 

For more information, contact:

 

Ben Macrory
Head of Communications
Green School
Jalan Raya Sibang Kaja
Banjar Saren, Abiansemal
Badung, Bali 80352
Indonesia
info@greenschool.org
See also www.greenschool.org

 

 

 

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