No.51, Xingchan Rd., Lugu Township, Nantou County 558, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
In 1999, the devastating 921 Earthquake struck the island and many buildings in Nantou were badly damaged, inclusive of the historic Xitou Neihu Elementary School. As it couldn’t be rebuilt at the original site, the school authorities started to look for a new land. Eventually, Xitou Neihu Elementary School settled in its present location and transformed itself into an incredible forest school that adopts an approach to outdoor learning. It is essentially about getting children outside, helping them engage with nature and develop a strong, positive relationship with their surrounding. In order to achieve that, the school has a deep respect for nature and the environment at the core of its ethos.
Pinewood was chosen as the main structural material, and the native forests of fir trees have been successfully preserved. Even the original stone blocks were used to pave the roads and to build the walls – Xitou Neihu Elementary School apparently did a great job trying to have minimum impact on the woodland. The beautiful campus flaunts a surprisingly harmonious fusion of American and Japanese architectural styles. There is even a treehouse-like lookout for children to encounter and observe the diverse wildlife in their natural surroundings. Tucked away behind the classroom area, an ecological pond is home to a variety of insects and aquatic plants, serving as a living outdoor classroom and allowing kids to be amazed at the life that it provides.
Today, Xitou Neihu Elementary School is everything that children imagine when they dream about school. Lots of parents want to send their kids here for a nature-based education. Even the tourists flock here to witness the sheer magnificence of this enchanting forest school.