The open air classrooms and sustainable practices were amazing to hear about. The school produces rice and other fruits and vegetables as well as growing its own rice and caring for animals. The school is mainly attended by foreigners as it is very expensive. All teachers are international with the assistants all being from Bali.
The next school we visited was Sjaki-Tari-Us a school for children with special needs and their parents. The man that started the school was actually there the day we visited. His daughter has Down syndrome and he created the school in her honor. The feeling of many Balinese people is that children born with special needs are a punishment from the gods. Many children never leave their homes let alone their villages. This school gives parents an opportunity to interact with other parents and learn all the amazing things their children are capable of.
The school runs a program for young children and preschoolers in the morning and a life skills/arts program for teenagers and young adults in the afternoon. The children were a delight to watch and one took a liking to Jason, kicking the ball around for a while with him. The school is always looking for volunteers and there were several there from the Netherlands teaching Gymnastics skills and training the teachers. They would love more help with Special Education Practices.
The classroom was complete chaos when we arrived. There was no teacher in the room and the children (close to 40 in one room) where taking a standardized test when we arrived. The boys were copying off the girls and the room was really noisy!
Several of the girls, all age 10, wanted to practice their English with us. The boys on the other hand wanted to run around and pull the girls hair. I sat down and chatted with a group of girls for nearly an hour. Three of them asked lots of questions and answered my questions. It was a great experience! I loved hearing that the girls in this small village wanted to be flight attendants, nurses and teachers!
Bali was an amazing place. Each school was so different and the children were all so welcoming. It was great to be able to see such a wide range of programs.