A Grand Finale in Bali

Kate Reitzenstein - Friday, January 03, 2014

On our final day of the ‘Into Indonesia’ tour we visited the Green School in Bali. Green School Director, Melissa Abdo, greeted us at the school entrance, an impressive Minang style bamboo bridge and gave us an introduction to the school.  She outlined the student-centered approach to learning was based around four types on interactions: intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual and that a thematic teaching approach was used in curriculum design and implementation. We then toured a part of the school, mindful that classes and activities were still in session and we were also limited by time.  We visited various sites such as the area where crops were grown, the Green Camp where visitors could stay and integrate with Green School students, the Bali Starling breeding program site and the Heart of School, the administrative centre and where high school was located.


A quick wander around some of the classrooms gave some idea about the school philosophy such as posters on the wall of the eight iRespect values of Integrity, Responsibility, Empathy, Sustainability, Peace, Equality, Community and Trust which guide students and staff in every decision they make. The architecture of the landscapes and buildings are remarkable and reflect the natural and holistic philosophy of the school. All the structures are purpose designed and built out of environmentally sustainable materials, predominantly bamboo.  The visit left us leaving with more questions than before we arrived. Our visit was simply too short but it at least gave our group a taste of a school that was a creating new paradigm to educate students and taking bold steps to implement their vision.


Our “Into Indonesia” tour included visit to three very different schools in Indonesia, providing our School Leaders to reflect on their own systems and students in Australia. One participant made the comment “We as a school and also as a society are far too concerned with our own issues rather than seeing ourselves as part of a regional/global community, despite the opportunities to have contact and share. I’m somewhat embarrassed about how little we know of other cultures and Indonesia in particular.”

Our final event of the “Into Indonesia” was a performance of the Devdan in the evening at the Bali Nusa Dua Theatre.  “Devdan” is an acronym of two Sanskrit words “deva” meaning ‘god’ and “dhana” meaning ‘grace’. During the show, the audience is taken on a journey of the Indonesian archipelago through the eyes of two young children. Combining dance, acrobatics, magnificent costumes and props, music and special effects, the show has you on the edge of seat the whole time and prompts the audience to reflect on the cultural, geographical and environmental diversity of this amazing country. “Awesome”, “breath-taking”, “outstanding” were just some adjectives used by our School Leaders to describe the experience.  It certainly was a fitting bookend to another successful Into Indonesia tour.


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