Monthly Archives: June 2012

My Project Update

Panyaden students showing off their bamboo house model for their self-directed learning project

‘My Project’Panyaden School’s self-directed learning programme, is proving a great success and is gaining momentum since its introduction a few weeks ago. The passion and enthusiasm of our students is inspiring. There is also much laughter and gentle banter while they discuss, negotiate, plan and start working on the various projects, such as publishing a bilingual magazine about life in Chiang Mai, building a Happy House or a bamboo bridge with railings over the school creek so that little children can cross easily and safely to the farm as well as recycling used materials to make green model cars and so on.

Our Prathom pupils were given the responsibility of choosing their own project, then designing and creating or building it individually or in teams. Teachers and specialists help out as facilitators giving guidance when needed. Our students have been working hard, often starting early or staying after school. Here are some photo updates:

‘Magic Land’ Mural Painting (Team: Penguin, Elle, Lini, Aisha • Facilitators: Kru Pond, Kru Or

Clothes Making – Team: Nachel, Alice, Noonah, Sita • Facilitators: Kru Goy, Kru Elizabeth

Boat Making – Team: Matthew, Jack, Jeremy, Nick • Facilitators: Kru Tee, Kru Gabriella

Bilingual Magazine – Team: Lily, Phi, Ty, Sam • Facilitators: Kru Buai, Kru Tracey

Green Model Car – Team: Domingo, Din, Roman, Leo, Hugo • Facilitators: Kru Wirut, Kru Mark

Happy House – Team: Jessica, Aiko, Lili, Charli, Noah, Por • Facilitators: Kru Ota, Kru Yuzu

Bamboo Bridge – Team: Oliver, Jazzy, Nalin, Nick • Facilitators: Kru Noy, Kru Jessica

Panyaden 12 Wise Habits


by Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

Bee in lotus flower - photo by Li Li Tan

These 2 weeks we are practicing awihingsa (pronounced a-wi-hing-saa), or non-harming การไม่เบียดเบียน (อวิหิงสา), amongst our students. Here is some further information on awihingsa that you may find useful.

Awihingsa is the Thai version of the Pali word avihimsa, which originates from the Sanskrit himsa, meaning injury or harm which, when a- is added, takes on the opposite meaning, ie non-harming (a-himsa). Not causing injury or harm has a broader meaning than simply not physically hurting a fellow human being or animal.

Awihingsa means not to say or do anything that creates suffering for oneself or for others and also not to say or do anything that creates or encourages the cause of suffering in oneself or others. We should not do anything which provokes negative thoughts or instigates harmful actions. For example, we might say something to a friend which, though not directly hurting them, may lead to angry thoughts and therefore creates negativity within that person’s mind.

Awihingsa relates particularly to the Buddha’s teaching on moral conduct.  He taught that we should adopt ‘’right speech’’ and ‘’right action’’ and proposed an essential minimum of 5 moral precepts for lay people to follow:

  1. To abstain from killing any living creatures
  2. To abstain from stealing
  3. To abstain from sexual misconduct
  4. To abstain from false speech
  5. To abstain from intoxicants

These are not an empty formula dictated by tradition, but rather a practical means to ensure one’s speech and actions harm neither others nor oneself.

So what is false speech, or lying? It depends on the intention of that speech and whether that intention is against the best interest of the other person or is for personal interest or gain. A child who teases a classmate because they are ‘fat’ may claim s/he is only telling the truth and so is not breaking the silas. But if the child’s words cause the classmate to feel inferior and depressed, s/he is causing harm.

Students posing as gossips for lesson on awihingsa

We are teaching our students, then, that awihingsa means not harming others with your actions, your speech and even your thoughts. That thinking badly of others is just as harmful as saying something mean to them and this is because it is also harming you. Thoughts of revenge make us unhappy. Gossiping about somebody else, even if they are not in the room, creates a negative mind and atmosphere for yourself and those present. We need to help children see that negative thought and redirect it to something positive.

So awihingsa means neither physically nor mentally hurting humans, animals and nature. From killing ants to polluting rivers.  We want to help our children understand that harming others is unwise, not because it is a ‘rule’ or a ’sin’, but because of the very direct consequences such actions, words and thoughts have on us as well as others. We can use our children’s actions and reactions in the classroom and at home to teach them the negative impact of harming, and positive impact of awihingsa. We should point out how bad an atmosphere is after someone has used hurtful words. Or we can ask how great it would be if there was no harming at school, when playing with friends or in the world. When there is no harming, we can all live harmoniously, helping each other, forgiving each other and creating positive relationships.

Photos of Our Green School at Chiang Mai Exhibition

Panyaden School recently won an award for excellence in Architecture and Interior Design from Chiang Mai Design Awards 2012. As such, we have been invited by the award committee to exhibit photos of our green school in Chiang Mai from 4 to 14 July at Northern Village, 2nd Floor, Central Airport Plaza.

The opening ceremony starts at 6.05pm on 4 July, Wednesday. We hope you will join us for this event and exhibition.


More on wise habit Awihingsa

Last week, our Prathom students illustrated for us two possible scenarios focusing on Panyaden’s wise habit, Awihingsa (not harming, “อวิหิงสา). This morning the Kung Fu Chef dropped by with a home-made movie featuring more of our students acting out different situations wherein we can practice the habit at school or at home.

Students watching video about practicising wise habit at Panyaden, bilingual school in Chiang Mai

First, we see Matthew and his friends stomping on ants for fun. Along comes Oliver asking them to stop. He points out that practicing awihingsa includes not harming insects and other living thing, however small. In the next vignette, we see Sam and his mates hitting Matthew during our school assembly. Some girls try to stop them but they refuse to listen. Another scene shows Hugo intentionally ripping up the picture that Leo was drawing in class. Once again, Oliver comes to the rescue in both cases with awihingsa, reminding us to always be mindful of what we say or do and not to intentionally harm anyone and any living thing. Awihingsa is one of the 12 core virtues our bilingual school teaches to all our Thai and foreign students to help them cultivate practical wise habits that will stand them in good stead in life.


1st Panyaden PTA AGM

Become a friend of Panyaden

Panyaden School had a great turnout today at our inaugural ‘Friends of Panyaden’ annual general meeting. This is the first of regular parent-teacher meetings to be hosted by our international school in Chiang Mai. Everyone brought food to share as we voted in our first ever Friends of Panyaden committee.

We started off at 10am with an introduction by our director, Neil Amas who warmly welcomed the setting up of the association and asked all of us, parents, teachers, students and the wider community, to come together in the spirit of ‘true friendship.’ Quoting from school’s spiritual advisor, Taan Ajahn Jayasaro’s writings on kalayanamit (good friend), he defined true friendship between parents and teachers as one in which we work together not in order to get something in return but in order to help the other improve. 

    Parent and teacher enjoying a game at Panyaden School PTA meeting 

Then Kru Noy played some lively icebreaking games  to the accompaniment of Kru Tee’s guitar. After much laughter and exercise (!), we settled down to hear volunteer parents, Lamorna Cheesman and Neil Davenport talk about the aim of the association: to create a community of people who support us and our children in order to provide the best environment for their education. Mr Davenport also opened the floor to the attendees for any questions on the proposed constitution before confirming the nominations of various positions. Congratulations to the newly installed officers and a big thank you to the parents and friends who contributed so much delicious food for all to enjoy!

Get involved: There is still one position available (Prathom parent representative). If you wish to volunteer and to learn more about Friends of Panyaden, or if you have any suggestions, please contact Kru Boy at 080-078-5115 or The next Friends of Panyaden meeting will be on 10 July, Tuesday, at 4pm. We look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions.

Student Art: Impressionism

Art teacher of bilingual school in Chiang Mai, Panyaden Panyaden’s art teacher, Kru Or uses different techniques and materials to engage our students in her classes. One of her lessons include a study of impressionism art. Here are some of her students’ work using short, lively paint strokes to capture the essence of nature’s rolling green fields, sunny skies, bright flowers and fruit.

Sunny skies and rolling hills - impressionist painting by Panyaden School primary studentArtist: Dao Painting in pink by Prathom student of Panyaden, bilingual school in Chiang MaiArtist: Lily
Panyaden student's painting of football game at school in Chiang MaiArtist: Leo Red Apple - student painting, Panyaden School (international bilingual school in Chiang Mai)Artist: Sam
Vase of yellow flowers - impressionist painting by student of Panyaden School, Chiang MaiArtist: Phi Pencil sketch by Panyaden School expat studentArtist: Hugo

1st PTA Meeting: Invitation To Parents

Friends of Panyaden Meeting

We warmly invite our parents to the first meeting of the
Panyaden parents-teacher association

• Date: Saturday 23 June 2012 • Time: 10.00 am – 1 pm
• Place: The Assembly Hall
• Agenda: Election of officers and agreement on a constitution

Panyaden Wise Habit 1: Awihingsa

Prathom students role play this week’s wise habit

Panyaden School primary students getting ready to perform for their schoolmates
Life Skills teacher with PE teacher, Panyaden School in Chiang MaiKru Yuzu and Kru Noy told us yesterday that Panyaden School’s favourite Kung Fu Chef was on a secret mission somewhere in Chiang Mai but he had left word with them that our P3-6 students should enact for their schoolmates this week’s wise habit, Awihingsaa, ‘not harming’ (อวิหิงสา).

Under the tutelage of drama teacher Kru Claire, our Prathom students first showed us how we should not harm people with our actions. A group of boys were happily playing football together when they got into a fight. They ended up getting hurt and receiving a red card for each team. This little story reminds us to always be mindful of each other even when playing and competing, and not to harm anyone with our careless actions.

Panyaden School boys acting out football game at their green school's bamboo assembly hall Football game gone wrong - bilingual school students role-playing Thai and foreign students performing at green school's assembly hall (Panyaden School) Panyaden School boys acknowledging applause of their schoolmates

Next, some students were fighting for a toy they all wanted to play with. They ganged up in little groups and started telling tales about their classmates. It soon dawned on them that they were happier playing and sharing with each other, so they apologized and decided that it was more fun to be positive and thoughtful to their friends rather than harm them with unkind words and needless gossip.

Primary school girls role playing in school assembly hall at Panyaden, international school in Chiang Mai Panyaden School students acting their roles as 'gossippers' in school performance Gossipping students - Panyaden School's Thai and expat students role-playing in bilingual school Taking a bow - students of Panyaden, the bilingual school in Chiang Mai after a performance

Teacher Workshop: Orff-Schulwerk

Training to be a child again

Training to be a child again - Panyaden School teachers at Orff-Schulwerk music workshop

Orff-Schulwerk music workshop photo by Panyaden School teacher, Kru Noy

Panyaden School’s Thai and foreign teachers attended an excellent workshop about the Orff-Schulwerk Approach on Saturday. The Orff-Schulwerk method’s innovative way of teaching music to children fits in well with our school’s holistic child-centered learning approach by integrating music, dance, drama and speech through play and improvisation. It uses tools like percussion instruments to encourage students’ creativity as well as to improve essential motor skills like co-ordination, dexterity and concentration.

Homeroom teacher, Kru Tracy from international bilingual school in Chiang Mai, PanyadenDuring the workshop, our teachers learnt to combine musical elements like form, rhythm and harmony with language and movement to design their lesson plans and to adapt them to suit the size of the class, age and learning levels of their students. P2-3 homeroom teacher, Kru Tracey says, “I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am not a musical person. This was probably the most inspirational course I have ever attended and I enjoyed being a child again. I know Kru Pond and I will try and implement some of the games into our classroom, I am very excited about it. It was an awesome experience.”

Thai and foreign teachers of bilingual school at workshop in Chiang Mai  Thai and foreign teachers, Panyaden School at Orff-Schulwerk music workshop in Chiang Mai   Panyaden School teachers learning through play at music workshop in Chiang Mai

Click for more photos.

*The Orff-Schulwerk Approach was developed by renowned German composer Carl Orff and his colleague, Gunild Keetman. Further reading:

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Wai Kru Day

Panyaden School celebrates Teachers’ Day

Bilingual school in Chiang Mai, Panyaden, celebrates Teachers' Day (Wai Kru Day)

It was a beautiful sunny morning today in Chiang Mai, a wonderful time for Panyaden School’s students to formally show their respect and thanks to our hardworking teachers with flowers and tributes during the school’s Wai Kru ceremony.

Flowers in paans for presentation to teachers of Panyaden School, international school in Chiang Mai Panyaden School primary students with flowers for their teachers Kindergarten students of Panyaden School in Chiang Mai Director and teachers of Panyaden School in Chiang Mai receiving fower tributes on Wai Kru Day

Two young Prathom students welcomed everyone in Thai and English before inviting the school’s director, head teachers and homeroom teachers to the front. Our bilingual student representatives spoke about the meaning of ‘Wai Kru’, which means to ‘wai’ or bow with hands pressed together as a sign of deep respect to their teachers (‘kru’) through the giving of flowers.

Key flowers like ‘dok khem’ (ixora) are presented in decorative paans (Thai-style pedestal trays) or wrapped in banana leaves. Among other things, they symbolise the students’ promise to the teachers to be good, to keep their minds sharp and always ready to learn.

Our teachers (and parents in the audience) were visibly moved by our pupils’ gentle and heartfelt recital and singing of a poem and song paying tribute to all teachers in Thailand. Class by class, the students then lined up to present their flowers. Three Prathom students shyly read their essays about ‘My Teacher’, drawing smiles all around.

Thai and expat students in bamboo and earth assembly hall of green school in Chiang Mai Panyaden School teachers receiving flowers from students in Chiang Mai Primary students thanking their teachers on wai kru day, Panyaden School in Chiang Mai  Panyaden School's British director, Neil Amas speaking at the school's bamboo and earth assembly hall.

Before wrapping up the ceremony, our school director, Neil Amas, thanked the students on behalf of all the teachers for the kindness and gratitude shown today. He encouraged all to be kind to everyone including ourselves, and to try our best in everything we do. With that message in mind, the students went back to their classrooms to begin a brand new school day.

More photos on Panyaden blog:

Wai Kru Day