The social entrepreneurs behind Green School are John and Cynthia Hardy. These two amazing change-makers began as artists; they made and sold jewelry for many years in Bali. When they exited the jewelry trade in 2007 and wanted their two young girls to go to school (they were being homeschooled) they decided to follow their dream of building a school. Using the money from their sustainable jewelry company, they embarked on the journey of “founding a school with sustainability as the focus, core, and spine of the educational program and institutional operation.” All of the Green School’s decisions are representative of that original idea.
The three drivers of the Green School Curriculum are academics, green studies and creative arts. All learning that happens at Green School has these three underlying ideas. When I look at the curriculum and the three facets it emphasizes, I understand how students and teachers would show greater entrepreneurial skills and then use those skills to do good. Hardy talks about how the students have ownership of their learning and their environment. They engage every day in relevant, real-world problem solving, which is a great tool for fostering entrepreneurial mindsets. According to the Principal of the school: “Friday afternoons, lessons stop and that’s community outreach time.” (Hazzard, Hazzard, & Erickson, 2010) Even though this is an international, private school (just over 20% of students are Balinese) they are entrenching themselves in the community and thinking locally which I think will develop deeper thinkers who are social justice leaders.
One of the main goals of the school was to live sustainably. This is reflected in the goals of the students, parents, teachers, administrators and founders. The evidence that the people of Green School are living sustainably is all around them. The buildings, the food, and the grounds the physical evidence. The commitment to thinking about the local culture and economy are evidence but I think that the greatest evidence comes from the mindsets of the students:
It’s definitely easier to learn about the world here. You can go down to the river and look at fish and stuff and learn about diversity and everything – bio-diversity. You get to go on walks and it’s fun. In my old school we didn’t have green studies or global awareness. We had something a bit like it, but we didn’t get to go walking around and look at animals and stuff. Here, when we’re looking at the world, we get more in it.
Similar sentiments were expressed by parents and teachers from the school. The school teaches sustainable practices very consciously, but I don’t think it specifically teaches entrepreneurship. What students do get is skills and values necessary to become social entrepreneurs, as well as the freedom to use those skills and values for action.
While reading studies, listening to interviews, and watching videos about Green School, my mind was flooded with connections to my own school. Now, obviously in Southern Manitoba we have little use for bamboo as a building material, but the ideals of Green School line up with my idea of holistic schooling. Things like connecting with the local community, learning from place, and promoting hands-on learning are already part of my classroom and it is so amazing to see others who share that passion and are acting on it in ways beyond my dreams.
*Note: 750 words is no where near enough to talk about all the wonderful things the Green School is about. If you've read this far, please check out the following links to learn more!
Hardy, J. (2010, November 22). My Green School Dream. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD4bpztESWw
Hazzard, M., Hazzard, E., & Erickson, S. (2010). The Green School Effect: An Exploration of the Influence of Place, Space and Environment on Teaching and Learning at Green School, Bali, Indonesia. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from http://www.powersofplace.com/pdfs/greenSchoolReport.pdf