International school education in Indonesia has evolved into a thriving sector that caters to the needs of a diverse group of students. These schools not only prepare students for global citizenship but also contribute to the educational landscape of Indonesia by promoting cultural exchange and academic excellence. While there are challenges, the future of international school education in Indonesia looks promising as it continues to bridge the gap between local traditions and global perspectives.
Green School Bali, one of the prominent schools in Indonesia, has a mission to ignite passion in learners and the community so they can thrive with purpose and create positive, sustainable change in the world. It is a K12 International school celebrating 15 years since it first opened back in 2008.
What sets Green School apart is how it keeps the environment at the very center of how the school educates learners for life. It fosters curiosity, well-being, and connectedness to the planet while enabling learners to discover their agency and purpose. The school delivers a broad-based curriculum that threads sustainability across all subject disciplines and equips learners with 21st-century skills to create positive change and sustainable solutions for the world.
Fostering Positive Actions
Green School’s living, evolving curriculum equips students with skills, including the flexibility, resiliency, and agency to meet the challenges and opportunities of their changing world without feeling overwhelmed. It joyfully engages students in high-quality, solution-based learning experiences to tackle real-world problems, allowing students to see for themselves the positive impact they can have on their world, no matter their age or experience level, and empowering them with the confidence to continue taking positive action in their future.
Its signature Green Literacies Framework provides the bedrock of any Green School education. This framework builds the fluency necessary for success as the school transitions to a more sustainable future for itself and the planet. It is a dynamic interdisciplinary approach grounded in real-world sustainability challenges while providing future-focused and ambitious academic pathways. When combined with the Green Skills and I -RESPECT values, its curriculum builds individuals who are well-equipped to navigate life beyond its campus gates.
Fuelling Lifelong Love of Learning
Like many schools, Green School offers a range of versatile extracurricular activities designed to fuel its learners’ lifelong love of learning by providing additional opportunities to pursue their passions. Examples include sports like soccer, surfing, volleyball, and Balinese Martial Arts. The school also has an after-school science lab, permaculture gardening, cooking lessons, and more. In addition, its students are encouraged to connect with and support local non-profit and community organisations that are working for something the student is passionate about. In this way, the school is empowering its learners to have an impact at any age, as well as uplifting local community through these mutually supportive relationships.
Green School has a whole building dedicated to innovation on campus at Green School Bali, called the Innovation Hub or “iHub,” – where students take part in hands-on, experiential learning by making practical use of technologies like renewable energy, distillation, fermentation, or creating bioresin products. Sometimes, the space is for experimentation; other times, students are using it to prototype products or services they plan to scale up as solutions to local environmental challenges.
One example of this is the Green School Bali Bio-Bus. When students objected to the use of polluting diesel fuel in school buses, they sought to find an alternative. While exploring the interconnected elements of the issue, they discovered that many local restaurants disposed of used cooking oil in the nearby village’s open sewage system. Both activities were having a detrimental impact on the local environment. By examining the complex interrelationships of waste disposal and recycling science, the students were able to design a solution to both problems. They took that used cooking oil back to the i-Hub, where they were able to turn it into a cleaner biodiesel fuel.
The project culminated in Bio-Bus, which still runs today. Students now regularly collect used cooking oil from local restaurants and use a student-designed recycling process to recover the cooking oil so it can be used to fuel the school bus. From the start, the project was student-driven and required impressive negotiation skills to bring the local restaurant owners on board and raise funding for the recycling apparatus. Importantly, it applied interdisciplinary academic knowledge to solve an authentic environmental problem.
Uplifting the Local Community
From the day Green School Bali opened, it has been committed to connecting with and uplifting the local community. It uses the power of community to teach connection – to itself, to each other, and to the earth. Green School community encompasses students, staff, parents, and local Indonesian neighbours. Connecting schools to surrounding communities and communities to their schools not only enriches the school experience through real-world learning opportunities but positions schools as culture-setting hubs where the values of the school also become the values of the communities of which they are a part. In every classroom, the school has both Indonesian and expat teachers working side-by-side. Its students learn Bahasa Indonesia and pay respects on Saraswati Day.
The school believes that the well-being of students matters more than their grades. Green School was built in and around the flow and curves of nature. With gardens and jungles surrounding each campus building, wall-less classrooms.
Its wall-less classroom blends with the outdoor learning spaces to form a living, thriving ecosystem that wraps around its students, holds them, inspires them, and nourishes them.
Student well-being is infused into everything from campus design to programs to its values and sense of community. A perfect example is its daily “mindful moment” – at the sound of its gong, its entire campus takes one minute to center itself, breathe, and be mindful before continuing with the day. Wellbeing is the foundation on which learning builds, and it starts with each child being seen as an individual. It does not mean that everything is perfect all the time for everyone. In fact, the school understands that removing every reasonable obstacle and challenge is not helpful and does not build skills that every learner needs for life.
Testimonies of Success
The school is so proud of its incredible alumni, who inspire every day. Its students have literally gone all over the world. It has had admissions to universities in 18 different countries; the school has had rock stars who’ve toured across India, a sailor who sailed around the world to raise awareness about ocean conservation, and individuals who’ve gone on to start their own NGOs, start-up companies, or present at TED talks and UN conferences. The school has had individuals who’ve gone on to be advocates and activists, individuals who’ve gone on to become artists and open art galleries; it really runs the gambit. When the school says, it is educating young changemakers, the idea of being a changemaker is really just about instilling this responsibility to make the world a better place, and that can be in ways big or small by the world’s standards, but they’re ALL big. Green School students and alumni know that as long as they’re doing something, as long as they’re trying to be a part of the solution and not resigning themselves to the status quo, they are a success.
Going back to its focus on community, Green School strongly encourages its parents not just to be involved with their own child’s education but with the learning programme as a whole. Parents can serve as mentors for its High School students as they work toward their senior capstone, or Greenstone, project.
Connecting With the Parents Community
The school has an on-campus space called The Bridge, where parents are invited to stay after drop-off, connect with other parents and community members, co-work, and collaborate. The school has often hosted workshops on everything from regenerative agriculture to making your organic cosmetics using local ingredients.
By fostering this open, welcoming dynamic on campus, parents feel more at ease coming to faculty members with questions about their children. Beyond that, Green School’s, of course provides the normal parent-teacher meetings and communicates regularly with parents through the Green School app and weekly digest.
Green School values bind it together as a community and shape mindsets. Its learning programmes provide opportunities for everyone to live their values. While sustainability is at the core of everything it does, it understands that it cannot achieve true sustainability without integrity, responsibility, equality, peace, empathy, community, and trust.