The Green School
By Tenille Ziegenhagel
As a member of the Projects in Place team I thought it would be great to share some of the work I have been doing abroad.
I have been in Bali, Indonesia for just over a month. The island is alive with spirit, vitality, and creative movements. One of those is the international acclaimed Green School. Green School is giving its students a relevant, holistic and green education in one of the most amazing environments on the planet.
I decided to participate in a volunteer opportunity at The Green School to help the Grade 5 students design and construct a new chicken coop.
The heart of the school is a very large open air 3 storey building made entirely of bamboo. The building is essentially three spirals with bamboo posts that radiate out from the centre and then are supported by posts which anchor at different angles. There are spiral stair cases, bridges and all the furniture is made entirely of bamboo. It is an elegant building with the main floor featuring a large open air space with lounge chairs and mats for people to eat the healthy and organic lunches served daily. There are biointensive garden plots all around the building which are filled with strategic combinations of corn, rice, herbs, and peanuts. Chickens peck the ground, the black pig-which Im told is a protected species in Bali sleeps under a shrub near a group of children eating their lunch while a Balinese man is busy constructing a bamboo latter.
The grounds of the school are beautiful. Each grade has there own yurt which are scattered around the sloping site that descends down towards the river. The classrooms are open air and feature a central area with desks and also have a sunken lounge space, art areas and storage. There is a large open area for the kids to play soccer and other sports game just east of the heart of the school. There is a local warung (café) right next to the field which features a selection of juices, snacks, and coffee. There are also tire and bamboo swings which overlook the field as well as huts which the kids use to lounge, braid each other hair or practice singing. They also have a large mud pit that the kids roll around in during their physical education time! Wow! There is an area devoted to the farm animals where they keep cows, chickens, pigs, ducks, and a bird sanctuary. Next to the cow paddock there is a system set up to utilize the cow manure methane gas energy. They also have a water vortex which is built next to the river used to generate electricity. This is a remarkable alternative to the hydro electric dams since they are smaller, are situated next to river and therefor have little impact on the natural system, and best of all they can generate a lot of energy.
The school is for children kindergarten to Grade 12. They have the traditional studies such as math, science, and the arts but also include their fourth core element which is Green studies. Each grade is responsible for the gardens around their yurt, a farm animal, and participates in an open and ever evolving green studies curriculum which includes permaculture, energy awareness, sustainable products, and reuse and reduces principles. The school is also actively involved in the community around them. For example, last week I went on a field trip with the grade 4’s to a family compound where they learned how to make coconut oil from scratch. It was really quite amazing.
We did a small workshop with the grade 5s to teach them about the process of designing and building the chicken coop. We went to look at the surrounding land uses, and did a site visit where we measured the site, took pictures, and talked about our wants and needs for the site. They are in the process of finishing their drawings- learning all about scale and drawing practice. The next step is to construct their models and start cleaning up the site to prepare it. It has been a fantastic experience for me filled with inspiration!
Check out http://www.greenschool.org