A few days ago I visited a special school in Bali – The Green School. It’s a place full of promise and hope for the future. It’s a place where idealists have come together to put into practice what they value, as I said, an inspiring place!
What does that mean in a practical sense for parents, teachers or those interested in social activism that promotes change? It means this is a great opportunity to witness mindful living, even if we don’t personally hold dear all the ideals, we can admire how commitment to ideals can be put into practice.
For example the school practices their commitment to sustainability from the foods they serve their pupils to the materials they use in construction of their buildings. Their use of their own electricity turbines whilst not providing all their power needs, they are making choices that show where they stand and encourage others to similarly make their own choices and put them into practice. They have an abundance of projects to grow food and similarly they don’t provide all their needs but it highlights their philosophy. The school supports mindfulness practices so every day there are mindful moments that are used to bring the students back to their present moment awareness. They are showing how to put ideals into practice.
The school embodies a curriculum which is child-centred, meaning there are many choices to pursue individual learnings and interests. The school then, through their school loans embody those ideas in a very practical way by offering loans to begin student enterprises such as establishing a chicken coop that sells its eggs at the local farmer’s market.
If you are interested in finding out more about their philosophies and practices follow this link …..
I’m not as interested in what they do as the courage they show in putting their principles into action – they actually are doing it! As parents, I’m not suggesting we all put our children in alternate schools but I am suggesting that we consider what school reflects our own values or if you are so inclined to embrace and try and implement some of those practices by perhaps beginning some initiative in your children’s schools that embody a particular value you hold dear. As a teacher perhaps you may have that opportunity also, despite all the curriculum restraints that face teachers today. But this idea is not limited to schools it has inspiration for how we all live our lives in our homes, in our workplaces and is a practical example of mindful living. It invites us all to make considered choices in our lives, to pay attention to what we do, why we do it and to live it, to bring responsibility to whatever we do.
I also love the way they are embracing opening themselves to a wider community. The school has full-time and part-time students by which they mean some children attend for the whole day as full-time students but they also open the school to part-timers via their after school activities. By offering this they are truly engaging in spreading the word of their values. They also operate guided tours which is how I came to attend – it’s real life stuff and shows courage I admire.
I have always believed that mindfulness for me embraces three things – being in the present moment, focusing attention on whatever we are doing and thoughtfully making mindful choices about how to live our lives. I love the idea that we can be inspired by others like The Green School who practically live their own mindful choices.