Sustainable classrooms: mud walls, rainwater and visits from lizards

27th May 2016

The greenest school on earth

 

Nestled among the swaying palms and lush jungle of Bali is an international school where children learn in bamboo pavilions and read from whiteboards made out of recycled car windows. The classrooms, which have no walls, are designed to help pupils feel more connected to their natural surroundings while studying a curriculum with an environmental twist. It has been hailed as the greenest school on Earth, but it is actually one of many adapting to the changing climate.

Green school Bali is the brainchild of John and Cynthia Hardy, who used the profits from selling their jewellery business in 2007, to start a school that would pioneer sustainability in education. The couple had the idea after searching for a school for their children but being put off by the unimaginatively designed spaces and curriculums on offer.

Although it has been criticised for its high fees and lack of Indonesian students, the school has received international praise for its innovative approach to education. Last year, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon called it the “most unique and impressive” school he’d ever visited.

John Hardy wants the curriculum to be as fluid as possible. He explains that the open design of the classrooms means there are more distractions for students from the outside environment – a tropical downpour or a lizard crawling across the floor, for example – but teachers are encouraged to integrate these into lessons to make learning more exciting and engaging.

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