The Jakarta Post
There is a school located on the edge of the Bengawan Solo River in Gondangsari village, Juwiring district, Klaten regency, Central Java. Under the giant trees, visitors to the school complex will see bamboo lodges filled with students doing different activities, such as building model cities out of wooden blocks, cooking food to be sold in the cafeteria, or using play to practice their farming skills.
These students are not on break, as these activities are part of the school’s education program.
Sekolah Alam Bengawan Solo is a “nature school”. Unlike conventional schools, it has no classrooms, uniforms, or the customary printed books. Students are encouraged to learn through several activities, exposing them to different topics to discuss, observe and practice.
Established in 2011, the idea of Sekolah Alam Bengawan Solo derived from its founder Suyudi’s frustration upon seeing the Indonesian education system. Suyudi claimed that the conventional education system was lacking in character building as it tends to focus on memorizing skills and on science subjects that are only assessed quantitatively. The heavy work made school become a burden for students.
Suyudi then built the school with help from a young architect, Jefri Nur Arifin. The school, which was designed to blend in with its surroundings, applies a curriculum focusing on local wisdom, character building and logical thinking. Here, students learn the subjects through different small projects guided by facilitators.
Currently, Sekolah Alam Bengawan Solo has 110 students in its preschool, kindergarten, elementary school and junior high school classes.
The curriculum is intended to deliver a fun education program and develop students' characters. (jes/asw)
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