Monthly Archives: November 2011

Self-Sufficiency Project


Cotton is a big part of our lives in Asia whether we notice it or not. From the moment we awake, we dry and clean our wet faces with cotton towels to the moment we go to sleep on cotton sheets. All parts of the cottonseed are used to produce household and industrial products such as textiles and clothes like our Panyaden School uniform, jeans, shirts, plastic, cosmetic and first aid swabs. Its oil is also used for cooking, salad dressings and even margarine.

For eons, this natural fibre has been spun, woven and dyed and used to clothe many people in Asia. North Thailand is no exception. There are two types of cotton grown here in Chiang Mai: one with white/creamy tufts called ‘fai puehn muang’ (northern cotton); the other more common type, fai tun or moi rat’, produces light brown tufts.

Starting in December, our students will be taught how to grow ‘fai puehn muang’ on our school grounds. This is our second self-sufficiency or sustainable crop project (the first was planting rice). It aims to promote self-sufficiency, a message that is a key part of the King’s sustainable agricultural projects for Thailand.

In addition, the project will effectively teach our children how clothes are made traditionally (not necessarily in a factory with big machines) including the history and uses of cotton. They will learn the value of the things they consume, learning through experience how a cotton plant eventually becomes the shirt on your back.

Join us on this journey as we plant, grow, harvest and make yarn with this incredible humble little plant.

Cotton flower growing on the grounds of Panyaden School

Further reading:

PTA Questionaire

“You are doing well but there is still room for improvement!”

We would like to thank the parents who attended our Parent-Teacher meeting on November 11, and for taking the time to answer our questionnaire. You gave us the thumbs up for our efforts so far in this first ever school year and made some useful suggestions on how we can improve. We would like to share a summary of your answers here.


The main aim of the questionnaire was to find out how well you, our students’ parents, measure our performance as a school, and to ask you for suggestions that will help us improve. Twenty-six parents filled in their answers.
a. Curriculum

  • The majority of parents who completed the questionaire (84%) are either very satisfied or satisfied with the curriculum we presented for our upcoming term. 12% are ‘neutral’ and 1 parent is dissatisfied. While we know it is impossible to please everybody (!) we are speaking to the other 16% to see what can be improved.
b. Quality of Teaching

  • 84% of parents are either very satisfied or satisfied with the quality of our teaching. No-one was dissatisfied while 16% were neither satisfied or dissatisfied (neutral). 96% are happy with the answers and information they get from teachers. While we are delighted with this result, we are committed to improving the quality of our teaching through continuous training and coaching of our team.
c. Parent Involvement Opportunities

  • An overwhelming majority of parents (96%) think there are ample opportunities to speak to teachers and staff, while a little bit less (88%) think they are sufficiently involved in the school. We are looking at forming a Parents Teacher Association next year which we hope will address this. Our upcoming newsletter should also give parents more information about what is happening at school.

d. Continuing at Panyaden

  • We are pleased to hear that 96% of our parents plan to stay at Panyaden (64% strongly agree, 32% agree), but we still have to work on the 4% who said they are undecided!
e. Food
  • 80% think our food is excellent or more than satisfactory. Nobody was dissatisfied but 16% were neutral or did not know.

f. Cleanliness

  • A total of 92% are more than satisfied or rate the school’s cleanliness as excellent.

g. Playground Facilities

  • 88% think our playground facilities are excellent or more than satisfactory.

h. Health Procedures & Safety

  • 68% think our safety standards are more than satisfactory or excellent while 24% think they are satisfactory and 8% don’t know. Similarly 64% of parents think our health procedures are excellent or more than satisfactory, while 16% think them satisfactory and 20% don’t know. Clearly we have some work to do here in informing parents about our procedures. This will be one of our priorities for Term 2.

i. Classroom Environment

  • Our classroom environment scored highly with 88% of parents rating this excellent of more than satisfactory, and nobody dissatisfied.

j. School Environment

  • 76% rated our school environment ‘excellent’, 20% are satisfied or more than satisfied, while only 4% answered ‘don’t know.’

k. Quality of Home Activities

  • Everybody is satisfied with these. 33% are satisfied, 45% are more than satisfied and 22% rate them as excellent. So what we need to do is move the 78% to ‘excellent’!

We are pleased with these results overall, but we also see there remains work to be done. We value feedback and will continue to work at making this school a place for highest quality education in all areas. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we are working hard on the foundations!

Reading Week Activity

One leaf at a Time

Panyaden’s children are encouraged to add a leaf to the tree at the front of our library every time they finish reading a book.

ทุกๆครั้งที่เด็กอ่านหนังสือจบหนึ่งเล่ม เด็กก็จะได้เก็บใบไม้หนึ่งใบมาติดไว้ที่ต้นปัญญาเด่นของเราไปเรื่อยๆ

Panyaden School students pinning leaves to Reading Tree

Panyaden School student pinning a leaf to the paper tree after having finished reading a book


Running For Charity

Panyaden School Fun Run for Charity

Some of our students, parents and teachers joined dozens of people of all ages for a friendly 3km run at PTIS (Prem International School) on November 26. Funds raised from the event went to the Piers Simon Appeal, which helps underprivileged children go to school. All particpants were presented with a certificate after the run. Kudos to all who took part!

Panyaden student receiving certificate for completing charity run
Panyaden primary students show off their running certificates Primary students of Panyaden School with their running for charity certificates

More photos in our November image gallery.

Reading Week & Father’s Day Activities (Nov 28 – 2 Dec)

Monday, Nov 28:

  • Morning: Students will go to bookstores (99THB Bookstore and Surawong) and buy one book each for the school library.
  • 3.30-4.30pm: Small discussion and exchange session between teachers & parents: “The Power of Reading”.
Wednesday, Nov 29:

  • 8.30-9.30am: Professional storyteller to read and perform for all students at Assembly Hall.
  • 9.45-10.15am: Workshop about reading and acting for K2-3
  • 10.30-11.15am: Workshop for P1-P5
Thursday, Nov 30:

  • All day: Fun reading activities in small groups for children of all ages.
Friday (Focus on Father’s Day)

  • Morning class: Reading about and writing to the King (Father’s Day). Students will make cards to salute our King and to hang them at the tree bearing the King’s photos (Parent’s Sala).
  • 3:00-4:00pm: All students will plant home-grown vegetables (i.e. chilli, garlic, lemongrass etc) in our garden area so our chef can harvest it later for cooking our food. This activity is linked to self-sufficiency projects originated by our King. All parents are welcome to join us.
Every morning Assembly:

  • -Storytelling/reading by our teachers to all students and the DEAR programme (all students need to Drop Everything And just Read)
Every lunch time:

  • “Read under a tree” (independent reading time)
  • “Once upon a time” (story read by a teacher; voluntary participation)
Ongoing projects:

  • “One Leaf at a Time”: After students finish reading a book, they can put a leaf card on the world map (what the story is about/ what happens).
  • “Where in the World”: The world map that students need to put the leaf on. If they put more = they read more. We may give a reward to the winner of the month/the year (who read the most number of books).

Open House (Nov 28 – Dec 2): Agenda

Daily Agenda

This is the daily agenda for Panyaden School’s Open House week; applicable to both morning and afternoon sessions:

  0900-0945hr / 1300-1345hr Registration at Parents’ Sala
Flyer about Panyaden to be provided
DVD (A Day In The Life Of Our Students at School) to be shown
Exhibition about our school
Snacks/tea/coffee to be served
 0945-1015hr / 1345-1415hr School brief (in Thai & Eng) by Neil Amas, School Director & K. Boy, Liaison Manager, at Parents’ Sala
 1015-1100hr / 1415-1500hr School tour by Neil & K. Boy
Q&A ((in Thai & Eng, at meeting room) by Michel, Head Teacher & K. Pam

Details of Reading Week will be available on the blog and FB page next week.

EM Balls Project

Small Hands, Big Heart

Hand-made EM balls by students and teachers of Panyaden School

Our students, staff and a few of our parents went down on their hands and knees on Monday to make EM (Effective Micro-organism) balls that will be sent to help flood victims decontaminate dirty floodwater.

Science teacher from Panyaden SchoolThe activity was led by our Science teacher, Kru Ota who showed us how to mix and lump together sand, rice bran, tapioca flour, molasses, fermented foods, water and EM-D solution* into innocuous little mud balls. The mixture of micro-organisms in these mud balls can rid polluted floodwater of any foul odours caused by a build-up of unwanted fat, protein, starch and ‘bad’ bacteria, thus improving its quality.

Our EM Balls project is only small. We have just 43 pairs of small hands, plus a few bigger ones provided by teachers and parents. It was a hot day but everyone put in their share to meet our goal of a thousand EM balls that will be delivered to an aid organisation in Bangkok for distribution to flood victims.

While our EM balls may make a relatively small splash in the flood waters around Bangkok, the effort and kindness of our children will demonstrate our big heart.

We are teaching our children the significance of the floods and why we all need to show kindness at this time of difficulty for many people. With parents, teachers and children working together, the small ripples of our EM balls will carry the big heart of our school.

No matter how small one’s act of kindness, it raises the level of kindness overall.

 EM Ball Ingredients on Panyaden School Chalkboard  Getting hands dirty to help make EM Balls at Panyaden School  Nursery student making EM balls at Panyaden School  Science teacher from Panyaden School, leader of EM Balls Project  Maths & Science Teacher of Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai
 EM balls for Thai flood victims made by Panyaden School students, teachers and parents Panyaden School students and teachers making EM balls for Thai flood victims  EM Balls project by Panyaden School for flood victims in Thailand
 Panyaden School teachers and staff chipping in to make EM mud balls  Panyaden teachers shaping EM balls for cleaning flood water  Panyaden School's Science teacher pouring solution for EM balls  All hands on deck! Nursery students making EM balls at Panyaden School
 Young nursery and kindergarten students shaping lumps of EM Balls at Panyaden School  Home Room teacher making EM mud balls with young student  A box of mudballs for flood victims to clean water. Made by Panyaden student  Nursery students of Panyaden School carrying in their finshed Em balls to the school assembly hall
 Parents of Panyaden School students chipping in to make EM balls at the school  Parent helping young kindergarten student with load of EM balls at Panyaden School  Primary student of Panyaden School with EM balls  Panyaden School's primary/prathom students posing with box of EM balls they made
 All hands on deck for EM Balls Project at Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai  Panyaden Primary School student with her load of EM Balls  Panyaden School nursery student adding her EM ball to the rack  Panyaden School student helping to line up EM balls to dry.

*a solution containing effective or ‘good’ microorganisms like yeast, lactic acid and photosynthetic bacteria (,

See also article in Chiang Mai Mail Vol. X No 17.

Making Our Own Krathongs

Krathongs made by Panyaden School students for Loy Krathong

“Loy Krathong is here and everyone’s full of cheer” (Loy Krathong song). Part of the festive fun today was making our own krathongs at Panyaden School and  floating them in the swimming pool before we took them home. We also helped our teachers light some Chinese lanterns and watched them fly off into the sky.

It is easy to buy krathongs everywhere during the festival but nothing beats making your own with your friends or family and seeing your handiwork stay upright, floating along happily on the water.

To make a krathong, we first cut slices of banana stem to make the lotus-shaped base. Then we folded and pinned banana leaves around it. Finally we decorated it with pretty flowers, incense sticks and candles. Voilà our very own krathong!

Thai music teacher cutting up banana leaves for krathong-making (Panyaden School) Panyaden School art teacher preparing flowers for making kratongs with students Student of bilingual school in Chiang Mai, Panyaden, placing banana leave on kratong base Pinning banana leaves around krathong base made of banana stem (Panyaden School) Panyaden schoolboy decorating krathong base with banana leaves Panyaden School teacher and student decorating their krathong (float) for Loy Kratong) Panyaden School primary students hard at work decorating flowers

Students of different nationalities making krathongs at Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai Nursery student adding flowers to his krathong at Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai Caucasian student at Panyaden School making his own krathong Enthusiastic primary school and nursery students of Panyaden School Little boy making his krathong at Panyaden School

Teacher and student making krathong flower floats, Panyaden School Making krathongs for Loy Krathong Festival at Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai Flowers adorn krathongs - making the floats for Loy Krathong at Panyaden School Panyaden School studenr showing off her hand-made krathong Girl (student of Panyaden School) with the large krathong that she made at school Panyaden School student with traditional float (kratong) for the Loy Krathong Festival

Loy Krathong Song

Kratongs floating in water

Loy Kratong Festival or the Thai Festival of Light is celebrated on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month (November) when the tide in the rivers is highest and the moon is at its brightest.

Different legends surround its origins. The most popular is that the festival was an expression of gratitude to the goddess of water, ‘Phra Mae Klongka’, for the people’s usage of the water from canals and rivers. It was also to thank her for providing water for the people’s livelihood.

‘Loy’ means ‘to float’ while ‘kratong’ refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle. A kratong contains flowers, food like bread and rice, joss sticks, coins and candles. We light the candles and the joss sticks, make our silent wishes and release the kratong to gently float away with the current.


Song and Lyrics

[audio:ลอยกระทง-Loy-Kra-Tong.mp3|titles=ลอยกระทง Loy Kratong]
November full moon shines
Loy Kratong, Loy Kratong
And the water’s high in the local river and klong
Loy Kratong, Loy Kratong
Loy Kratong, Loy Kratong
Loy Kratong is here and everybody’s full of cheer
We’re together at the klong
Each one with his kratong
As we push away we pray
We can see a better day
Loy Kratong, Loy Kratong
Loy Kratong, Loy Kratong
Loy Kratong is here and everybody’s full of cheer
วัน เพ็ญ เดือน สิบสอง
น้ํา ก็ นอง เต็ม ตลิ่ง
เรา ทั้ง หลาย ชาย หญิง สนุก กัน จริง วัน ลอย กระทง
ลอย ลอย กระทง, ลอย ลอย กระทง
ลอย ลอย กระทง กัน แล้ว ขอ เชิญ น้อง แก้ว ออก มา รําวง
รําวง วัน ลอย กระทง, รําวง วัน ลอย กระทง