“It Feels Good.”
“Mommy, I feel like this is the right school for me. It feels good.”
– Bodhi Kuchel, 7 years old, tugging at his mother’s skirt as she chats with Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas.
Bodhi, his little brother and their mother were some of the 150 – 160 visitors to Panyaden School’s Nursery/Kindergarten Open House Day on Sunday, 28 November. He particularly enjoyed the bamboo organ and even taught a few of us adults how to walk through it smartly and how to carefully negotiate any obstacles.
Another young girl, who was too shy to even say hello, was busy playing with a bamboo musical instrument. Her father, K. Tan Noparatteailas, says that his daughter likes the school and does not want to leave. He and his wife are happy that Panyaden School is bi-lingual because they want their daughter to study English in a Buddhist environment.
It was a packed day of fun and activities for the children who were treated to interactive music and dance performances, enacted stories about a dragon who would not go to school; and other lively games like building the tallest Bamboo Tower and playing with musical instruments made out of bamboo and paper.
Their parents were also not left out. When not participating in the games and activities, they listened to P’Tik (Founder of the School) and Neil Amas speak in English and Thai about Panyaden School’s vision and core principles based on the teachings of Buddhism.
Neil also mentioned that part of the learning process includes the “5Es” which are “Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate” (these were demonstrated in the various activities organized today). The “5Es” process will be taught in a peaceful and environmentally-friendly atmosphere.
Parents and guests were taken on an orientation of the School. They were also invited to spend some time going through the exhibition which detailed for them the School’s approach to learning, general information about curriculum, the use of natural materials for the building, the bamboo treatment process, information about rammed earth and environmental management. This is all part of the process of educating children who will grow up to be responsible, sensible and creative adults who are equipped to contribute to society in mindful, caring ways.
Parents who had concerns such as whether the bamboo roofs provided adequate shelter from the rain, about the curriculum and what Panyaden means by ‘training of the mind’ and so on, were able to speak with the teachers and organizers, or to make appointments for private discussions with Kru Maggie and her team.
K. Thanpong Wongkasem, the parent of a 1 and a half-year old girl, says, “This is a new approach in Chiang Mai. I like the building and the environment; the way they plan to teach the children about recycling and caring for nature.
I am in construction and property development. I think the construction is strong; the bamboo has been reinforced by steel rods where necessary. Some people might not like it because they think it’s dirty and dusty but it is actually not.”
All in all, it was a good day. There was much laughter and activity especially amongst the younger visitors for which the School is being built. Both P’Tik and Markus Roselieb, the Founders of the School gave a resounding “Great!” when asked about how they felt about seeing the School come alive with so many happy children today.
Thank you to the members of the press, guests, parents and children for your support. Thank you also to the organizers and the Panayden School Team for all their hard work in putting together an interesting and eye-opening day.
We now look forward to the completion of the construction, and to the start of the School next year. Please contact us with any enquiries or requests for private discussions with Kru Maggie and her staff.
Also see article in Chiangmai Mail, Vol. IX No. 40