Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tidy Up Friday

Panyaden School students recycling at school in Chiang Mai

Kru Yuzu, Panyaden’s Life Skills teacher, invited a masked guest to join us today at our Tidy Up session. The children gladly welcomed Khun Re Re, art teacher Kru Or’s alter ego, wearing a shiny face mask topped off with a flamboyant hat recycled from egg cartons and painted yellow. Her character’s name is the abbreviated version of Recycle and Re-use. Kru Yuzu said that the cartons were previously used to make paper vegetables for the Kung Fu Chef’s special wise habits soup. Now they have found new life as a bright yellow hat!

Panyaden teachers dress up to teach children about recycling Panyaden teachers teach students about recycling

Both teachers played a video of a paper recycling plant to show our children where the used paper that we collect goes to and how they are recycled into ‘new’ cardboard, tissues and other paper products. By recycling and re-using the paper, we can help save trees from needless destruction. This video was followed by our school’s regular Friday green practice of tidying up the schoolyard by picking up leaves that will then be recycled into organic compost for our garden.

Recycling activity at Panyaden International School in Chiang Mai Panyaden School Chiang Mai: off for their green activity at the schoolyard Picking up leaves for recycling as part of green activity, Panyaden School Chiang Mai

Photos of today’s green activity: Recycle with Miss Re Re

Panyaden 12 wise habits: Khanti

By Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas

We are currently practicing Khanti, or patient endurance with our students. Here is some further information on Khanti  that you may find useful.

Khanti (pronounced kan-tee, with an emphasis on the second syllable) originates from the Sanskrit word kshanti and means ‘patient endurance’ or forbearance. It means to be able to tolerate provocation, hardship, pain and all obstacles in your life. It is the voluntary control of mood and temper by the training of the mind.

In Buddhist texts it is considered to be one of the ‘ten perfections’ (parami), a high and noble quality that, far from indicating weakness or passivity, is seen as a great strength. It is a patience that endures being hurt without thoughts of revenge, arduous tasks without complaint and illness without despondency. Khanti is the acceptance of the first Noble Truth, the truth of dukkha (suffering). As we learn to accept that life is full of happiness that does not last and unhappiness that seems to last forever, we also see how much time and energy we have been wasting trying to avoid or deny dukkha. We stop feeling defeated and sorry for ourselves.

Khanti relates closely to other wise habits, including viriya (perseverance) and samathi (being calm and focused). Without khanti, no matter how much we persevere we will become agitated and frustrated by the obstacles in our path. If we allow the distractions that inevitably arise in our minds when we are trying to stay focused to irritate and discourage us, concentration becomes more difficult than if we simply accept them as natural occurrences. By the same token, without viriya and samathi we are unlikely to muster the vigour and maintain the concentration to train the mind to be patient.

Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden International SchoolIn a talk at Panyaden last year, Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro drew our attention to research that, contrary to traditional views, reveals that high IQ is not related to being successful in life, whether in academic study or work. The old beliefs in IQ are now outdated. Contemporary studies show that the most important indicator for success in studies, family and career is impulse, or emotional control (this is major part of what is often referred to as ‘EQ,’ or ’emotional intelligence’, in modern educational terms). Or in other words, khanti. Children who have little tolerance, are selfish or spoiled will grow up wanting an easy life and lacking emotion control. The tendency to later develop destructive habits or addictions becomes high. Having the patience and tolerance to resist unwholesome acts is a virtue that will protect a child from such negative consequences. Venerable Jayasaro writes in 12 Ways to Happiness, ‘’If your 5 year old child has khanti you can be sure that he will have a good future.’’

Ajahn Cheeradej giving a dhamma talk to students at Panyaden School Chiang MaiAs parents and teachers we all know that patience is one of the most important and yet most challenging requisites in raising children. How many times do we hear ourselves say – or think – ‘’I am losing my patience!’’ In his recent visit to Panyaden, Venerable Ajahn Cheeradej said that in the teaching of children we must not only control our temper, but also patiently resist the urge to ‘give in’ to unreasonable demands from our children. We all know how difficult this is at times when, tired and fed up, we think ‘’OK, OK, have another cookie, anything for an easy life!’’ By making our children wait, by delaying their gratification, we are teaching patience.

We should use every opportunity to point out the effects of their patience, or lack of it. ‘’You waited patiently for your turn and now you are playing so happily!’’ And finally Venerable Cheeradej reminds us that rules and discipline are essential at home as well as at school as they give a child the opportunity to practise self-control instead of eating whenever she wants or watching cartoons without a time limit.

Each day things happen we do not want and things we want do not happen. Khanti enables us to respond to the ups and downs in life with thoughtfulness and composure, creating the possibility for positive change to take place. Having khanti is a truly wise habit. It will earn us respect and admiration from others and create success and happiness for ourselves.

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Term 1 My Project

Grand Opening at Panyaden School

Parent cutting ribbon at My Project Grand Opening, Panyaden School Chiang Mai

What a delight to see the wonderful projects our students have created through a lot of teamwork and perseverance! All 7 teams of Panyaden’s Prathom students presented photos and slideshows to their parents, peers and teachers.

Students' bilingual presentation of their independent learning projects, Panyaden international School Chiang Mai  Panyaden International School Chiang Mai primary students giving a bilingual presentation  My project: students giving a bilingual presentation at Panyaden International School in Chiang Mai  Ribbon cutting at Panyaden International School's My Project Grand Opening in Chiang Mai

Our students have invested a lot of thought, planning, focus, commitment and teamwork into the making of each project. Today’s bilingual presentation was a good way of wrapping up as well as for each student to step back and give us their perspective on what they have learnt throughout the whole process. It was clear how much fun our children had interacting and working alongside their schoolmates. They shared with us what they liked or disliked, the difficulties and joys they faced. They showed us which wise habits they used along the way, in particular khanti (patience), viriya (perseverance) and chanda (enthusiasm).

Panyaden’s Head Teachers, Kru Dokmai and Kru Michel (who both spearheaded this programme), facilitators as well as other teachers and parents have every reason to be proud of the growth and learning these children have shown.


Happy house made of bamboo and mud by students of Panyaden International School Chiang Mai        Students on plastic boat made by their classmates, Panyaden International School Chiang Mai  Panyaden School Chiang Mai student project: boat made of recycled water bottles

Click on following Panyaden blog links to see slideshows and more photos of the various projects:

Slideshows of individual projects:

  1. Boat Part 1
  2. Boat Part 2
  3. Bamboo Bridge
  4. Happy House
  5. Balloon-powered Cars
  6. Friendly Panyaden Students Magazine
  7. Making Clothes
  8. Wall Murals

Photos taken on 24 Aug by Ally Taylor


Inter-School Academic Contest 2012

Panyaden School Students at Inter-School Academic Contest Chiang Mai

By Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas

We have been teaching our children the importance of effort over results and how to successfully deal with winning and losing. First the Olympics and now a Chiang Mai inter-school competition on art, Thai and English have given Panyaden students a chance to practise their skills in effort, modesty and generosity and the experience of joining a contest with other schools.
Students from K3 up to P6 joined the contest this week and acquitted themselves well. In Olympic jargon we had a gold, some silvers and bronzes, but most of all, we did our best and had fun!
We want out students to understand that we can not avoid competition in real life, the main thing is to approach it with the right attitude. The inter-school competition gave them a chance to practise best effort, regardless of the end result and how those around you do. And if you win, be gracious. If someone else wins, be happy for them! We are proud of the way our students participated, did well and thoroughly enjoyed themselves regardless of how they did.


Student Paintings

This is a wonderfully vivid and colourful painting depicting
a bird’s eye view of Chiang Mai by 3 Panyaden Prathom students, Elle, Penguin and Dao.

,Painting of Chiang Mai by Panyaden International School students
More flower paintings by our talented students below:

Flowers of Thailand, art by Panyaden students

Artist: Charli Artist: Dao Artist: Elle Artist: Guin Artist:  Ice
Artist: Leo Artist: Nalin Artist: Noah Artist: Noona Artist: Phi
Artist: Roman Artist: Sam Artist: Sita Artist: Tanya Artist: Tye

Khanti, New Wise Habit

Panyaden School's Thai teachers

We made a new friend in Chiang Mai today. Panyaden’s Kung Fu Chef introduced us to Kru Ou who had come to share a story about the next 2 weeks’ wise habit, khanti ขันติ (การอดทน อดกลั้น), which means ‘being patient and tolerant’. It was a moving tale about a mother ant and her babies who patiently built and re-built their nest in spite of obstacles and setbacks caused by dogs and incessant rain. Let’s remember this story and practice khanti daily.

Stay tuned next week when Nick and Charli, our captains of this wise habit share their experiences with us.

Teachers of Panyaden International School doing the Thai 'wai'      Kung Fu Chef teaches Panyaden International School students the school's wise habit, Khanti

Student Captains of wise habit, Khanti, Panyaden International School Chiang Mai

On Persevering

We have just finished a 2-week focus on viriya (persevering).
Our Director Neil Amas gives the following explanation of this important wise habit.

Viriya (pronounced wi-ri-ya) is a very important virtue in Buddhism, commonly translated as “perseverance”, or “diligent effort”. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities and staying with them in order to accomplish the desired results. It is the mind intent on being unshaken and not giving up. It supports other wise habits and is the virtue that follows chandha, for you first need motivation to be able to put forth diligent effort.

Viriya originates from the Sanskrit vira which means ‘hero’ and so we might see viriya as the act of conjuring forth the qualities of a hero. Viriya is identified in Buddhist teachings as a critical component of a number of qualities that lead to happiness and liberation of the mind, such as the five spiritual faculties (indriya), the five strengths (bala), the ten “perfections” (parami) and the seven factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga). It is also associated with Right Effort, one part of the Eightfold Path, which identifies four types of right effort:

– to prevent negative, unwholesome states from arising
– to abandon them if they should arise
– to generate positive, wholesome states not yet existing
– to maintain them without lapse, causing them to develop and to reach full growth and perfection.

Viriya has to emerge from your heart, from a place of right intention and in balance with other virtues, such as patience, concentration, generosity, wisdom and awareness. If we put our energy and effort into actions without the right mind we will cause more harm than good. Similarly, we must practise viriya in the right amount. As Venerable Ajahn Pasanno writes in A Dhamma Compass, “while it is important to put forth effort it is also important to slacken off at times. If you are always pushing, the mind can get on edge, restless and unsettled. We need to gauge and reflect on what is appropriate effort.’’

Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro writes in 12 Ways to Happiness that, while being relaxed and having fun are important requisites when teaching children how to enjoy learning, we also have to teach perseverance and determination.  ‘’Enthusiasm (chanda) leads to perseverance (viriya) which leads to concentration (samathi) which leads to skilful use of the mind (yonisomanasikara). If we have chanda – we are eager to know, learn the truth and value what we do – then viriya will occur and be followed by patience and tolerance towards any obstacles we find in our way.”

Panyaden School students learning about perseverance and determination through building block games

We can encourage our children to reflect on how they feel after completing a task with perseverance. We might set mini-goals on the way to achieving a greater task, extending the distance between these steps as the child gets older or gets better at cultivating effort.  And, of course, we must lead by example with our own displays of viriya.

Having desire to do something is good because it gets us going, but actually sustaining effort and energy is where a lot of the hard work is. We might have the desire to get off the sofa and get some exercise and even make a start, but in order to achieve the desired long term results such as weight loss or fitness, we need to keep at it!




Science Day at Panyaden

Science is fun!

Excavating dinosaurs frozen in ice, using salt to float eggs in water, learning about the food groups and healthy diets with chefs in tall hats and making foamy elephant toothpaste with soap were just some of the interesting activities our students experimented with during Panyaden School’s Science Day.

Students experimenting with natural food dyes on Science Day, Panyaden School

To mark the Thai National Science Week, our teachers Kru Ota and Kru Mark organized activities for our K3 to P6 students highlighting different branches and applications of Science that occur in our daily lives. Students demonstrated and explained fascinating facts about density, transpiration, how to use everyday products like vinegar and baking soda to make hot ice (melting and freezing points), catalysts and chemical reactions. The hands-on scientific experiments and quizzes were fun and stimulating ways to spark our students’ interest and participation in the subject outside their regular classroom curriculum.

Panyaden School Chiang Mai - Science Day 17 Aug 2012 Students 'excavating' dinosaurs frozen in ice during Panyaden School's Science Day, Chiang Mai

Photos by Ally Taylor: