It’s a project built on passion. Passion for children, the environment and the future. Michael and Rachel Perrett have recently taken on the challenge of their lives to introduce New Zealand to the Green School way of learning.
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.
Stage one of the school’s campus has been designed by BOON Team Architects in collaboration with global designers and the Green School team. Construction began last month and includes three learning pods, a multi-purpose resource centre, and a services building located at the school’s entrance. The light-touch structures will be nestled amongst more than 15,000 native trees that have been planted as part of the school’s reforestation project.
As the school roll grows, so too will the campus buildings. Staging the project will allow them to provide the best, most sustainable environment for not only the landscape, but the students, staff and wider community.
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 was a school creating a community of learners with entrepreneurship and sustainability at the core. 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.
GSNZ is scheduled to open in February 2020 for years 1 to 11. Early childhood and senior high school curriculums will be introduced as the school develops.
Leading the education will be sought-after educator Chris Edwards. Edwards is currently the Head of College at UWC South East Asia in Singapore, one of the largest international schools in the world, with approximately 5,000 students.
Of his transition from a school of 5,000 to a roll of 100, 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.”
Since the project launched six months ago, more than 60 student applications have been received, along with a further 170 registrations of interest. Additionally, over 400 educators have registered their interest in wanting to teach at the school.