OUR GREEN SCHOOL EXPERIENCE

There is an undeniable magic to Green School. And there is a reality to the experience that should be honestly discussed. Green School is otherworldly yet faces some real world challenges.  For a school centered on sustainability, deep questions remain about whether the school itself is sustainable.

Green School is far from perfect but there is no where else we'd rather be.

The Green School Campus
Huge, rugged, stunning and infinitly discoverable. Each classroom is in it's own open air bamboo structure. There is nothing else like it on Earth. Imagine if Gilligan's Island was a school...you get the vibe. 
Being One with Nature
Feeling connected to nature is really important to us. We are nature, right? The campus has bugs, bees, snakes, gardens, trees, and lots of rocks and dirt. Part of campus is home to bugs that buzz louder than a construction site. The school talks A LOT about the Earth and the connection to wild
nature is everywhere you look. 
The Education
Our kids are learning things not taught elsewhere.
The classes are small with high teacher to student ratios. We are far off the standardized educational grid and teachers allow kids to follow their passions. This is not an educational factory teaching a prescribed cirriculum!
The Air We Breathe
Despite making 100% of their energy with zero carbon, the air on campus can be toxic. Nearby trash fires from the local village abound and the air quality on campus can be hazardous, especially in the afternoons when burning is common. The students and teachers are breathing burning garbage, including burning plastic daily.  While air quality is in the "magic" column, it's not magical.
The Green School Campus
Open air classrooms can be hotter than balls. There is no AC anywhere on campus so kids never get a real reprieve from the heat. Plus, the campus is huge and hilly so getting from one place to another can be tiring, especially for little kids.
Being One with Nature
Instead of feeling like an animal in the jungle in tune with mother nature, we often feel overly connected to how irritating we are to nature. Our presence in Bali is a burden to the ecosystem.  The carbon from our flights, our SUV back/forth to campus, every food item with a wrapper...Ugh. 
The Education
Our kids are not learning things taught elsewhere. Standard academic instruction can take a backseat to other projects. There are no standardized tests to benchmark progress, which may be important if you plan on re-integrating back into schools elsewhere. 
The Air We Breathe
Whether Green School is responsible for fixing the air quality is up for debate. I believe the school has a duty to warn parents and have an open discussion. The air quality is the leading reason my family might not continue at the school long term.  The parents are driving the conversation about air quality and Green School should do more. 
Visionary Founders
The vision of the GS founders is breathtakingly beautiful. Getting this campus built and navigating the "complexity" of Indonesia to create this huge enterprise in the jungle is a staggering achievement. There is much blood, sweat, luck, love and magic in this place.
Visionary Founders
I've yet to meet the founders. I've seen them twice on campus, once at the first day of school and again briefly at a lecture. Whether the founders should be removed from the Green School's management is an active and ongoing topic of discussion. How much power they hold is up for debate. It's difficult to know the truth of anything.
Learning From Locals
Indonesia is at the heart of the Green School experience. Being exposed to another culture is part of the education. The kids learn Bahasa (Indonesian) and there are at least 2 local teachers per class assisting the International teacher. 
Discipline in Paradise
Green School is clearly not a military academy. No strict rules or confining traditions here! I've yet to meet a parent or student who says Green School is too strict. 
Green School is the place that lets you do you. 
The Parent Community
I'm not alone in feeling like the best part of Green School is the parent community. I love 99% of the parents and there is no other community I find as welcoming, engaged and interesting as the Green School parent community. If you like smart, adventurous, curious, open, fun loving, passionate, iconoclasts, you'll fit right in. 
Learning From Locals
The local teachers are lovely, friendly, patient and calm. Some are also skilled educators. The local teachers are paid differently than the Western teachers and the debate about the ethics of teacher pay is ongoing.
Discipline in Paradise
Discipline is a political topic.  No one agrees on the right amount of discipline and even fewer agree on who should get disciplined.  My kids wish there were more rules enforced, which is not something they would typically say so read between the lines on this one. 
The Parent Community*
Despite a diversity of passport colors, the reason the expat parent community feels so much love is that our personality and values are relatively homogenous. If you're financially able and also inclined to make this move, you'll land and find yourself surrounded by parents who feel like long lost friends. 
 
*There are local parents whose kids attend Green School but I don't interact with them as much as with the expats. I'm not close enough with the local parents to say
whether they are similar to the expats as the expats
are to each other.   
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2019 The Smith Family