As part of a weekly ‘Inspirational Schools’ series, the Global School Alliance is searching for the most innovative, internationally-minded schools that go above and beyond the expected ‘norm’. The series is designed to recognise and celebrate these schools on a global stage. Tune in each week to find a source of inspiration and get in touch if you think your school deserves to be spotlighted! 

This week’s showcase of inspirational schools have developed unique learning environments using innovative techniques to transform teaching.

The Green School, École Maternelle Pajol, Loop International Kindergarten, Innova School and Sra Pou Vocational School have been selected as sources of inspiration for schools and educators all over the world.

From exceptional architecture to fascinating approaches to learning, these schools will leave you feeling inspired to re-invent learning in your school.

1. The Green School: Bali, Indonesia 

Imagine a school without walls, nestled between rainforests and rice paddies, built solely from bamboo and powered by the sun.

Voted the greenest school on earth, the Green School runs on clean energy, hydro-powered generators, and solar panels – a model for sustainability and a centre for experimentation, innovation and solutions.

The school’s mission statement reads “Empowering global citizens and green innovators who are inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world.”

Its approach to student-led learning nurtures the whole child, giving them agency in their own lives and learning, so they can thrive with purpose in our ever-changing world.

Students spend about 60% of their day outside of the classroom in ‘hands-on learning’ which creates an environment where a high level of engagement occurs.

So when they return to the classroom, conventional subjects, like maths and languages, are combined with something tangible, such as cooking or gardening, to bring lessons to life.

The school is also committed to building an inclusive learning environment, with centres open to the entire school community including parents, teachers and students.

2. École Maternelle Pajol: Rue Pajol, France 

École Maternelle Pajol in France is named the most colourful school in the world.

Previously an old 1940s brick building, the now revamped establishment displays colour in both the exterior and interior to create a positive, playful and stimulating environment for children and staff.

The renovation was part of the Pajol School Project by the French architecture agency Palatre and Leclere. According to the architects, the colourful design brings a positive energy in the children which helps them to become a civilised and responsible citizen.

The rainbow-themed kindergarten embraces colour to create a fun, positive and happy learning environment to stimulate positive emotions and spark creativity.

The front courtyard unfolds on three levels, creating a fun environment for children. The facade is carved on the ground floor to the yard, building real agora, a sunny space and crossing. The interior spaces help to create different emotions, different colors on the walls, furniture geometry varied, heterogeneous materials and pleasant to the touch (wood, rubber, metal) to provide a stimulating and positive for the children and staff.

3. Loop International Kindergarten: Tianjin, China 

Located in the fourth largest city in China, Loop International Kindergarten is a spectacular covered structure designed to completely immerse children into a world of imaginative, interactive, and colourful learning methods in both Chinese and English.

The kindergarten is formed by curves and forms into a loop – a child-friendly structure with no sharp edges in sight! Classrooms are organized over three levels, the top two of which contain a series of windows that look into the central courtyard space.

The aeroplane style windows represent one of seven colours as part of a navigation system, making it easy for the children to get around. For example, the nurses’ office can be found by looking for the colour red on the walls, floors and handrails of the balconies.

The ceiling on each floor is in 18 different colours, with white louver boards under the ceiling. The colours can be seen through the gaps between the louver boards when walking in the corridor. There are 18 different colour columns in the courtyard, the children can use these colours to identify the location.

To maximise space, the roof is covered in artificial grass and is divided by large colourful walls, allowing for teachers to separate their students into different play groups. There is also an indoor courtyard housed underneath the outdoor courtyard for multi-purpose uses.

4. Innova School: Peru 

Innova School is renowned for its innovative architecture and model of blended learning – awarded a top prize winner at the International Excellence Awards. 

Each building is modular with moveable walls and chairs, making it easy for teachers to quickly and easily create creative, flexible learning spaces that inspire students and compliment teaching methods.

Innova School’s goal is to inspire kids with modern technology and self-discovery. It’s their belief that children need to be self-directed to succeed in the modern world. Each day at the school is broken into two sections, one half in smaller classes focused on problem-solving and collaboration with minimal teacher input, and the other half for independent learning.

Part of Innova’s mission is recreation and a sense of humour, which means that learning does not become a repetitive experience. Kids have fun too! Innova’s holistic education also includes time for socialising.  The children are encouraged to learn outside so they are not overwhelmed by their continual use of laptops. 

Innova Believe that kids should be self-directed if they ever want to succeed. Consequently, Innova has an innovation programme that each child participates in which allows the child to think about one social challenge. At the end of the year all the students present their collated solutions.  

5. Sra Pou Vocational School: Cambodia 

Sra Pou Vocational School is a community-built school for all ages based in Sra Pou, Cambodia, to teach families how to turn their passions into sustainable businesses.

A local NGO organises teaching to help guide the student’s paths with professional training to improve their futures.

The building was built with local materials with the aim to inspire and encourage the community to utilise the materials that are easily accessible to them. With the budget being so low for this project, the beautiful colours you see around the building, especially the red, were made up of sundried soil bricks. 

The space also doubles as a place for the community to gather for meetings and democratic decision-making. 

The Soil bricks were made with small holes in them to allow wind to enter and cool the space and the community area being open to allow the shade from the sun. 

Sra Pou Vocational school was set up to allow families in the village to have independence and not relay on the low paying jobs and learn how to make and sell homemade produces and sell them to the community for the right price. 

The Doors were painted with vibrant colours by the community children with some guidance from a local artist after the doors were replaced with metal doors and the roof was enhanced in 2012.

This schools shows that no matter where you are in the world and your budget you can create something incredibly beautiful! 

Are you an Award-Winning Global School?

Every day the Global School Alliance acknowledges inspirational, internationally-minded schools that promote cultural understanding, multilingualism and global engagement across a broad range of subjects.

The Global School Awards provide a pathway for schools to become an inspirational and globally recognised award-winning school. The journey to becoming a Award-Winning Global School provides a road map for the future development of global learning in your school as it becomes central to its ethos.

Take our short self-assessment to determine how your school compares to our global framework.