The first Green School in South Africa, a Bali-based environmental school, powered by its own solar-generated electricity with classes being held in vegetable gardens, is due to open here in Paarl next year.

The school will be situated on eight hectares of land overlooking the mountains between Paarl and Franschhoek.

The water at the school is also extracted from the river and the borehole replenished by rainwater. Administrative buildings and classrooms on the campus are also set on the orchards and grain fields.

Founded by John Hardy, it was first established in Bali in 2008 and centres on sustainability through the learning environment, curriculum and co-curricular activities. It has since opened locations in New Zealand and Mexico.

Green School SA head Andy Wood said: “Rather than being contained within four walls, our learning environment embraces nature and integrates with the outdoors, inspiring students to create bonds with their environment and think more expansively about it.”

He said the gardens would not only teach learners about maths and chemistry but re-establish the tie between humans and their nourishment while also connecting the school community to the land.

“Our objective is to build a community of learners focused on making our world more sustainable. The facts about the climate crisis that our planet faces are irrefutable. The hope for the future is in raising a generation of young people who believe that they can make a difference and be agents for positive change.”

The school is modelled on the first Green School, established in Bali in 2008. The school is also carbon and water neutral and consumes less energy than it produces.

Green School SA co-founder Alba Brandt, whose children attended the school in Bali, said: “The school hopes to encourage changes in the general education system by making school fun and practical.”

It will open in January 2021, and caters to pre-school students as well as grades 1-8.

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