Welcome to the Greenest School on Earth
On the small island of Bali in Indonesia, extraordinary bamboo structures rise out of the jungle, surrounded by lush organic gardens and bisected by the Ayung River, comprising one of the most beautiful school campuses imaginable, simply named – Green School.
After only five years of operation, Green School in Bali has garnered attention and acclaim from all over the world for its pioneering efforts to interweave academic learning with environmentally sustainable practices. In fact, it was awarded “ Greenest School on Earth ” by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.
Our Bamboo World
Green School is built almost entirely from bamboo, down to the chalkboards and chairs. The classrooms were intentionally built without walls, so the students could feel a connection with the environment around them. The “Heart of School” building, which houses the administrative offices, IT lab, school library, art rooms and meeting spaces, is a three-story, 60-foot bamboo structure of three interconnecting spirals in the shape of a double helix. The school has been a finalist of the Aga Khan Architecture Awards for its daring design. This exceptional learning environment inspires students to be as creative and innovative as their surroundings.
Green School serves an international population of 270 students from 55 countries in Pre-K through Grade 12, with boarding available for Grades 8 and up. The school also supports a scholarship program for local Balinese children who would otherwise not be able to afford the fees.
Green School offers a student-centered curriculum designed to cultivate and challenge all aspects of a child’s human capacities. It includes all of the traditional subjects. But academic education at Green School comes wrapped in rich layers of experiential, environmental, and entrepreneurial learning – plus the creative arts. As much as possible, lessons are taken out of the classroom and applied in hands-on ways that have a connection to the natural world. The goal is simple but ambitious: to provide students with the skills and content to be effective and successful competitors in an ever-shrinking world while at the same time expanding their sense of being more environmentally responsible citizens with a different sense of possibilities for how we can continue to develop as a fragile planet.
The campus has been designed and built to have as small an impact as possible on the environment. Therefore, only a handful of trees were cut down, and most of those 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 moving of the earth was required. Bamboo is the primary structural material used, but other local, natural, and renewable elements are also employed, including alang-alang thatch, volcanic stone, rammed earth, and the traditional Balinese mud wall.
Open air structures allow for natural light and ventilation, and aided by ceiling fans and an innovative system of enclosable, air-conditioned bubbles, stay cool even during the hottest days in the jungle. Green School grows much of the food it consumes, including organic rice, fruit and vegetables. The school is also off-the-grid through a combination of solar, micro-hydro power and biogas systems.
Green School is home to a number of innovative environmental initiatives, including a project in association with the Begawan Foundation to breed several endangered bird species, including the beautiful Bali Starling, in specially built aviaries and a program that teaches local farmers to grow the traditional, organic rice that most Balinese have given up in favor of more fertilizer and pesticide-intensive strains. Green School students take part in these programs; a great example of “learning by doing” and getting involved with local communities.
For more information please see greenschool.org