Prathom 2 students and their HR teachers unexpectedly dropped by our school office and sang ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ and ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’! Then Grace, the P2 student representative, read out a card to thank all teachers and staff for always helping and taking care of them. Big smiles from everyone!
This morning our school gave thanks for the past year and celebrated the coming of a new one with a traditional food offering to monks from Wat Tha Sala and Wat Thao Kham Wang. In the afternoon, we will have a surprise visit from Santa and enjoy a party with all our school friends and teachers. See you in the New Year!
As part of Giving Week, our students presented the highlights of our Philippines Appeal and revealed the total amount raised in assembly this morning.
Here is an excerpt from a speech by Nalin and Aisha from P4:
“We want to thank everyone who lent a helping hand throughout the past two weeks. Panyaden students, parents, and teachers all responded to the Philippines Typhoon and dedicated their time and energy to help make a difference.
The Cooking Club served up delicious treats, the DIY club made some cool tie-dye clothes, and the P5-6 class auctioned their reading week t-shirts. Kru Lizzie’s Craft for a Cause helpers created cards, bracelets, and headbands during their lunch break. Kru Or and her artists made beautiful pieces to sell at the Craft for a Cause Fair, and Kru Tee and his band put on a great musical performance. The Friends of Panyaden hosted the fun flea market and parents donated generously.
Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work and support. ”
The total amount raised was an impressive 42,800 baht!
We will be sending our money to the Philippines through an organization called the Disaster Emergency Committee, which, through its partners, has helped over 1.6 million people, setting up 4,500 tents for people lost their homes, delivered 50,000 food parcels, provided clean water to hundreds of thousands of families and set up medical clinics and temporary schools.
An inpromptu aerobic session this morning warmed up both students and teachers during this cold snap. What started as a small exercise to music activity for K2, soon became a full-on aerobic dance session as one-by-one the other Kindergarten classes emerged from their classrooms to join in the fun. Finally, even the administration and office support staff could not resist, and the whole place was jumping…literally!
This morning, our teachers staged a skit about two little pigs to demonstrate examples of Indriya-samvara (using our senses wisely) such as paying attention to the teachers, good eating habits, staying silent and respectful of other readers in the library and not bringing snacks into class.
We make learning Mathematics a fun daily experience for our students with interactive and colourful activities and games both indoors and out. Here are some photos of our Prathom classes engaged in measuring the area of different shapes, folding drawings into 2 to learn about axis of symmetry, calculating probability, how money is used in every day life and so on.
The Prathom 4 class wrote about Scary Stories based on listening to a radio show from This American Life – And The Call Was Coming From the Basement. Students used the details they heard from this story as a brainstorm, and then created their own scary stories. We worked on beginning, middle, and ending of stories. needed to resolve the problem of the story before drafting. It was challenging for them, but the result ended in much more well-written stories.
Here they are (in alphabetical order, click on images for larger view):
Indriya-samvara(we use the Thai translation at school which is pronounced insee-sang-won) means ‘using the senses wisely,’ or restraint of the senses. The term is often found in Buddhist texts as indriya samvara sila and as such this wise habit means self-control of the senses in order to live a more virtuous life.
While a total of 22 indriya, or ‘faculties’, are referred to in Buddhist literature, we are concerned here with the six ‘sense doors’ – the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and the mind – through which we experience the external world. To take care of these six senses, we need to be mindfully aware of them so that when any of them come into contact with an object – whether a vision a sound, a smell, a taste, touch or a thought – we are not overcome with desire or aversion, which leads to the arising of negative thoughts and actions. Cultivating awareness in our daily lives of what our body is doing, what we are seeing or hearing and how our mind is reacting, leads to better decisions. Practicing indriya samvara is to use our powers of observation and evaluation to see the results that come from using our senses in a mindful way.
“When everything around us is encouraging distraction, agitation or superficiality we have to find within ourselves the ability to make choices about the kind of things we are going to look at, the kind if things that we are going to listen to and the kind of things that we are going to spend time on. There is nothing out there that is going to give us that kind of guidance. It is something that we need to give importance to so that indriya samvara really becomes part of our life.” (Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro)
An example for families might be how we relate to the TV, or ‘screen time’ more broadly. We need to ask, what amount of time and what type of use is wise? What are the benefits and what is detrimental? Venerable Jayasaro continues, “Do you let your child endlessly play computer games? Of course not. This is taking care of the senses. Once we ask, ’Does it make sense to expose our children to certain media,’ we can bring control to our children’s exposure and relationship to phones, TV, computers and the internet.” Venerable Ajahn Prayutt advises that we steer away from viewing things as only beautiful or ugly, or as something to simply like or dislike as soon as we come into contact with it. Otherwise our children will be always chasing desires and avoiding unpleasantness, thus perpetuating the cycle of tanha (unwholesome desire) and dukkha (dissatisfaction).
Children without a principled understanding of how to use the senses wisely will be easily led astray, distracted in the classroom and prone to over-excitement. Children who understand and practise restraint, however, in regards to eating, touching, watching and listening, will also know how to react to the outside world, how to watch TV, how to use social networking responsibly, that the true value of food relates to health, not taste. With the ever-increasing targeting of children in marketing and accessibility to new media, the challenge to apply restraint is pressing.
Mostly, however, we are not interested in exercising restraint and we fall victim to unhealthy sensory pleasures, whether it’s listening to gossip or over-indulging in eating or drinking alcohol. We might tell ourselves to give up some unwholesome habit or other, but until we clearly see its drawbacks we find it difficult to let it go. This is where the Wise Habit yoniso manasikara (wise reflection) becomes important. If we encourage our children to reflect on the cause and effect of sensory indulgence, they will soon learn for themselves what is good for them and what is not. Once they start discriminating between what they should let into to their minds each day and what to keep out, they will experience a growing sense of self-reliance and contentment just to be with themselves, without always asking ‘what’s next?’ With careful, persistent practise, indriya-samvara will become a wise habit for life.
On Tuesday the children from Cooking Club sold some of their produce in order to raise money for the Philippines Appeal. Lots of parents and children enjoyed the delicious snacks and made kind donations to support the cause.