What if we told you that there's a unique approach to education that goes beyond rote memorization, test scores, and traditional classroom settings? Welcome to the world of Neohumanist Education, a transformative philosophy that aims to nurture not just the intellect, but also the heart and spirit of every learner.
Imagine stepping into a classroom where students are not just passive recipients of information but active participants in their learning journey. Picture a place where empathy, creativity, and critical thinking are just as important as arithmetic or grammar. This is what a Neohumanist classroom looks like.
One powerful example comes from a school in California. Here, a once shy and reserved child named Emily blossomed into a confident and compassionate leader under the Neohumanist approach. Emily's mother shares, "She is not only more understanding and accepting of others, but she's also more curious and enthusiastic about learning. It's truly remarkable!". Similarly, James, a teacher from Australia, shares his experience: "Neohumanist Education has completely transformed my teaching practice. It has allowed me to form a deeper connection with my students and to create an environment that cultivates their holistic development."
Neohumanist Education is rooted in a few key principles that differentiate it from traditional educational models:
As more educators and parents discover the transformative power of Neohumanist Education, its popularity has soared worldwide. Research backs up these positive experiences: studies show that a holistic approach to education can result in improved academic performance, increased creativity, and higher emotional intelligence.
Through Neohumanist Education, we can cultivate not just smarter students, but more importantly, empathetic and compassionate individuals ready to make a positive impact on the world. Isn't that what true education is all about?
Neohumanist Education is a philosophy which touches the heart universally, with schools and research institutions throughout the globe. Educators and parents have adopted this child-based approach to education across all borders.
"Neohumanist Education is practiced in a network of schools and institutes that span over fifty countries with hundreds of kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and children's homes that have been established over the past 50 years."
Wood School Bali aims to contribute to the future of compassion, joy, universalism and justice, through fostering love and respect for all people, plants, animals and the earth’s ecosystem, as part of the international movement of Neohumanist Education
Our mission is to create an educational environment which brings to life a foundation of ethics within each child that inspires ongoing benevolent actions in the world. Through nurturing each child’s mental, emotional, social and spiritual potential, they are able to achieve a harmonious balance between inner development and objective engagement and service in the world. We achieve this by focusing on the whole child, and approaching lessons from a holistic, hands-on, phenomenon based learning approach.
We follow an International Neohumanist Education curriculum. All academic subjects are in accordance with international standards. We offer the option of Indonesian National Certification (in Bahasa Indonesia), as well as national student identification numbers, for children who require this. For those who need this, you must apply in the beginning of the academic school year with a clear intention that you intend to follow the Indonesian national standard as well as commit to the monthly additional fees. Our curriculum is set on the foundation of Yama and Niyama, with a high standard of moral conduct highly correlated with the Indonesian moral standards of Pancasila. Our well-rounded integrated programs, as well after school enrichments reflect this. We offer additional optional programs to all students, Monday-Friday from 3-4 and on Fridays 2-3. The children are able to participate in the programs they are interested in and we encourage them to join as many as they can to get the most from the program while living in Bali.
Our current programs include-
Bahasa Indonesia Lessons
Music (Guitar and Piano)
Permaculture and Organic Gardening
Performing Arts (Dance and Drama)
Fine Arts / Arts and Crafts
Foundations of Neohumanism (Year 5 and above)
We have a Coding and Robotics Program after school (please see page above for more information) which is also open to the greater community of kids in Bali, as well as Japanese Language Program.
We start everyday, with a morning circle, which includes students from all age groups and all teachers. During morning circle the children pray, but unlike common prayer not to god and based on religion, but rather a cardinal prayer, cultivating collectively through the magnificent, support in their own personal development. The children practice meditation, breathing and calming of the mind. The simple discipline of sitting is based on Yoga practice. This meditation develops devotional sentiment. They also solve any problems from the past few days through love based discussion. We sing uplifting and spiritual songs that can be taken from any good materials, from all languages and cultures. We pick only songs that contain themes of the collective spirit or individual development. It is not just fun, but also meaningful.
Closing Circle is a simple ending to the day. We ask the students what they have learned and contemplate the day. We sing a closing song that acknowledges the group's love for each student and teacher.
How is devotional sentiment cultivated in children? The daily expression of the school running, is its own Spiritual Culture. It's rich in divine flow. From morning to the school day's end, our day is packed with Practical Programs that go hand in hand with our Spiritual Culture. Our school is strictly vegetarian, teaching unconditional love to all living things. Unconditional love is intentional living as a part of a bigger “family”. The children are encouraged to feel and know that everything around them, from the precious natural environment, to the supportive materials that make up their everyday life, is limited and must be shared and honored. A daily extension of this concept is seen clearly in the natural way our older students care so readily for our youngest. Without any instruction they are motivated instinctively, acting in a loving and caring way towards one another from the classroom, to the playground, to the lunch table.
Our teachers, as role models for the students who act as elder family members that provide support and correction in a loving manner, must possess naturally loving dispositions. They must be capable of good discrimination, to be able to see past developmental behavior and marks, to see through a divine clarity the good within each individual student. The hard part of this job is dealing with children coming from so many different styles of families, cultures and languages as well as dealing with children of such a wide age group at once. It is essential for the teachers and school to have full and open minded support from the parents for the children's development.
Open minded and full support from parents is essential for our school's program to run smoothly and effectively. So often parents, coming from a loving place, project their own personal and cultural ideas onto what they perceive as a problem or opportunity. Unfortunately many times rather than create the good solution that has been desired instead a disruptive disharmony takes place. The best way to support the school is to not see it only through one's own individual perspective which can be based on groupism of culture as well as other factors, but rather look through the school programs and see they are not an instant solution, but a learning process for each individual child. Learning is day to day correction through clash and cohesion, it is never instant. Parents might see problems one day, that given time will naturally be peacefully and lovingly solved. It is crucial, in support of our teachers and students, that parents remain able to see even perceived problems through a positive perspective rather than negative. This is the greatest way to support our community.
Though we look at problems collectively, we do not run democratically. We take the requests and concerns of the minority as equal. Decisions will be made based on the higher spiritual perspective of the philosophy the school is founded based upon.
Every morning part of the children's routine is to tend to their own plot within the school's organic garden. They grow a variety of plants, vegetables and herbs depending on the season. We use what we can from the garden while preparing our vegetarian lunches, supported by the school's own plot. Through caring for their gardens the children learn responsibility and problem solving. The children who take time to water and weed will have very different results than the children who just play and neglect their duties. When they harvest their gardens they are able to bring home what they have actively taken part of growing, showcasing the varied results and providing a chance to learn. Through this they also learn care and respect for all living things.
The children also use what they grow to feed the school's goats. They are responsible in part, for the care of our animals. Through feeding, bathing and helping to maintain the habitats of the animals, the children continue to develop a deeper sense of respect, responsibility and love. One primary section of Neohumanist Education teaches that through plant and animal care the children will learn about something called PCAP, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Plants. That includes conservation, environmental education, vegetarianism, and organic gardens.
We compost using manure, as well as water our gardens and grounds with the water from our aquaponic system. We share our land with a bird conservation Non-Profit, Bali Bird Sanctuary. The children are able to have in their immediate environment, exposure to a large scale conservation project protecting one of Bali's endangered bird species. All of these programs naturally support our Science curriculum.
Neohumanism is an ecological, holistic, comprehensive philosophy. Drawing upon ancient teachings on the levels of consciousness, a neohumanistic approach to education seeks to develop the more subtle capacities of the human mind. Neohumanism is the spirit of benevolence. To teach love one must embody it. To embody love one must see all as divine. To see all as divine one must practice methods of contemplation and inner reflection. Only then will one embody the true spirit of universal outlook in their thoughts and actions.
The philosophy of Neohumanist education is based on extending the inherent love of human beings to all people, animals, plant life and the inanimate world. This outlook is ideally suited to the needs and changing vision of today’s society with its shift from a mechanistic worldview to one based on holistic and collective harmony. We aim to provide programs in which children will develop a universal outlook, free from all discrimination; they come to embrace all people as members of one human family, regardless of race, religion, colour, creed, or sex. Through such activities as gardening, nature studies and care for animals, a truly ecological consciousness guides them to protect and nourish their environment and realize their inter-relationship with nature. Cultivation of the arts and music are also encouraged and children are provided with a congenial environment in order to awaken these finer qualities.
We believe that “Education is that which leads to liberation” and so education should not be just about the teaching of facts but a means of developing self-knowledge and freeing the child from personal and social bondages which hinder progress. Neohumanistic education focuses on inter-connection, unity in diversity, the use of science and technology for the welfare of all and maintaining an ecologically balanced world. By cultivating this universal outlook, Neohumanistic education strives to check the growth of narrow sentiments and exploitation which currently divide the world. We believe in rationality and not superstition, dogma or fanaticisms. We aim to tap the unique capacity of human beings to think rationally, creatively and intuitively.
Wood School was opened in 2013 by Director and Founder, Arul Selven, to serve the needs of our growing community. The aim was to create a school that would operate on a new and progressive model of education. The beautiful heritage land of Tjok Agung Pejeng, was the perfect location for this alternative school project based on the teachings of P.R. Sarkar, the founder of Neohumanist Education. A school with a spiritual approach to education, aimed at developing well rounded children, incorporating local wisdom was born. The land the school is built on has a rich heritage based in both Hinduism and Buddhism. The surrounding village of Pejeng is home to three well know temples, Kebo Edan, Penataran Sasih and Pusering Jagad. It is also home to many ancient artifacts such as the “Moon of Pejeng” (the oldest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world and the “largest known relic from South East Asia’s Bronze Age”) The school has grown organically from two teachers and two students, without any outside funding, to the bustling seven classes of today. We are currently only able to accept a very limited number of new students, and only as spots become available as the school remains dedicated to keeping our community harmonious, with open minded parents and families that suit our alternative and progressive education model. We share our land with Non-Profit, Friends of the National Parks, as well as work on our on-site organic gardening project. Wood School Bali also supports the foundation, Yayasan Ananda Seva Dharma, a Children's Home in the north of the island, and additionally supports a small school running onsite, serving impoverished youth.
Pura Kebo Edan, Jalan Raya Pejeng, Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia