The following is an excerpt from ‘The Future Looks Green’, an article written by Hannah Mumby of Live Magazine. 

It’s a project built on passion. Passion for children, the environment and the future. Michael and Rachel Perrett have taken on the challenge of their lives to not only introduce New Zealand to the Green School way of learning, but the world.

Standing upon the picturesque landscape of the Green School New Zealand site, the Taranaki couple’s vision makes sense. Surrounded by a vista of hills, the rolling Oakura river and under the watchful eye of Mt Taranaki, the property they have selected is nothing short of inspiring. 

The land remains bare, yet talking with the Perrett’s proves their task list has been anything but since they made the decision to establish an international private school outside the traditional landscape of New Zealand education. 

Michael and Rachel’s inspiration comes from Green School Bali, while their desire comes from within. 

In 2016, the Perretts ventured to Bali for some rest, rejuvenation, and to attend Green School. Michael was battling a rare blood disorder, while their son had been finding school life in New Zealand a challenge. Very quickly, their lives began to weave a different course.  

Deep in the jungle of Bali is a school creating a community of learners with entrepreneurship and sustainability at the core. Developed by Canadian John Hardy in 2008, the school now educates 500 students, hosts more than 14,000 visitors at its bamboo campus each year, and has been the springboard for many global change missions, including the phenomenal Bye Bye Plastic Bags movement created by students Isabel and Melati Wijsen, aged 10 and 12 at the time.

Watching their own children, and those of others, come alive with confidence, awareness and happiness while attending the Bali school is what gave the Perretts a deep desire to provide the same opportunity, close to home. 

Green School New Zealand is scheduled to open in February 2020 for years 1 to 8, and year 11. Early childhood and high school curriculums will be introduced as the school and its students grow.

Its elevated structures will be built using the lightest of touches. This is as much a metaphorical action, as it is environmental. While the buildings have been designed by world-renowned companies Space Architecture, Ibuku Bali and Atelier One, it is local companies Clelands Construction and BOON that will execute the build. It is an ambitious project, and one that will continue on after the school opens, however, the Perretts have a plan in place to ensure the school has everything it needs by opening. 

Leading the education at GSNZ will be sought-after educator Chris Edwards. Edwards has been the Head of College at UWC South East Asia in Singapore, one of the largest international schools in the world, with approximately 5000 students. 

Of his transition from a school of 5000 to a roll of 85, Edwards says his reasoning was simple.

“The Green School project is not only visionary, but it is essential to the world we live in. A world changing this quickly needs young people to enjoy their learning in a radical, relevant environment that fosters the skills and qualities necessary for solving the environmental and social issues that our planet faces.

“The education systems that have got us this far will no longer take us to where we need to be. Green School holds onto and cherishes the best of traditional curriculum and methodology, but it also acknowledges the siren call of the future and is responding with courage, imagination and innovation.” 

A common misconception, says Edwards, is that Green School children will simply meander in the bush, play with sticks and dig in the garden. 

“There will be sticks, and there will be gardens, but there will also be maths and science and literacy. The difference is, this will be taught through student-guided, hands-on projects that promote entrepreneurial thinking, environmental education, practical skills and the arts.”

Green School Bali had 23 graduates in 2017. Those 23 students were courted by 56 of the world’s top universities and colleges – in person.  

“If you want to be a doctor, an engineer, a historian, come to Green School. If you want to leave school and set up an entrepreneurial business, come to Green School. What it is about, is the ethical disposition you have when you leave and knowing how you can impact on the world around you.”  

You can read the full article here.


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