Usually when people talk about discovering amazing gems in Bali they refer to jaw-dropping beaches, incomparable surf spots and jungle hideaways. This unexpected gem that I discovered in my last week in Canggu, just a half hour scooter ride away, was a little bit different.

It was in the jungle alright…an architectural and educational first called Green School.

As soon as I heard about Green School, read up about it and watched the Ted Talk by the founder John Hardy, I felt compelled to see it for myself. I believe that education is the answer to many of the world’s problems, and sustainable green buildings and architecture have been of interest to me since my days studying property at university. There was no way I was passing up this opportunity to see the revolutionary school for myself.

This unique school with the slogan ‘a community of learners making the world sustainable’ has 400 students from 29 countries*, from pre-school to high school. The $15 (USD) tour fee goes towards the scholarships for local kids, accounting for about 10% of the student body.

The school’s philosophy stands on 3 pillars:

  • Purposeful learning for sustainability
  • Passionate community of students, parents, teachers, staff and the local village neighbours, and a
  • Wall-less learning environment that inspires open minds, open hearts and a great love for nature.

I was amazed at how flawlessly the school fitted into its jungle surroundings. It’s truly a work of art. The architecture is inspired by nature itself. This is a great concept to hear of theoretically, but seeing it executed practically was truly magical. Witnessing the bamboo grow in nature, forming arches not dissimilar to the arches of the bamboo buildings built by man, was spectacular.

Walking through the school to me felt like I was walking through someone’s vision for the future of education and sustainability. The energy in the place was enthralling. I have no doubt that the kids learning there have a bright future.

I’m so inspired to know that there are alternatives to the old-school way of education. The world is moving at an unprecedented pace and it’s time our schools move with it. I have a feeling that wasn’t the last time I have something to do with Green School.

*Please don’t quote me on these figures, these are estimates that I picked up on the tour and are not official.

Besides the architecture and nature, some of my favorite features of the school were…

First, their dream space. Kids are encouraged to dream and are welcome to come to this dream space to build the things they dream up. How awesome!

Second, this mud pit...looks like SO much fun!

Third, their veggie gardens and aquaponics, a symbiotic environment for fish and plants.

And finally…their calf was born on my birthday this year, I’ll take that as a lucky omen 🙂