Pilot School Program
To breathe life into the holistic education approach, the Founders of Panyaden School started Kid-dee House at Rattanakosin Road in Chiang Mai City. It is a pilot program to test the school curriculum that aims to teach children to think and care for themselves, to open up their minds and imagination in ways that will help themselves and others.
At Kid-dee House, children from 3+ to 6+ years old are taught the main eight main subjects required by the Thai Ministry of Education (Math, Science, Thai, English, Thai art, Social and Cultural Studies, Physical Education, Technology including the basics of living). It is, however, not rote learning or a mere transmission of knowledge from teacher to student.
Here, children are given carefully selected toys to expose them to creative play, a library of Thai and English books to encourage a love for reading and learning, art and craft classes, music lessons, even swimming and cooking lessons. They can run around in the large playground and enjoy time outdoors with their schoolmates and teachers.
They are taken for walks and encouraged to speak out about what they see around them, to ask questions, to draw and write about their experiences and what they have learnt. Children are taught to take pride in themselves and to communicate and show that they understand what they have learnt and how they may be able to apply that in daily life.
Classes are small (1 mentor to 4 children) so that the teachers can devote more time to each child’s learning and development. Each day begins with the singing of the Thai National Anthem and paying respect to the King. Next come prayers after which the children along with the Principal (Kru Maggie), teachers and mentors, sit in silent meditation.
The three main principles of Buddhism, ‘adhisila-sikkha’ (training in higher morality), ‘adhicitta-sikkha’ (training in higher mentality) and ‘adhipanna-sikkha’ (training in higher wisdom), are taught and practiced by both the teachers and the students. A lot of emphasis is paid on calming the mind and cultivating inner peace and happiness for the school believes that a happy child will be able to enjoy learning better.
Ultimately the measure of the Panyaden curriculum’s success will be a well-schooled, well-adjusted, independent individual who is environmentally mindful and lives by a set of moral standards. He/she will enjoy learning and will, at the same time, apply that knowledge to daily life and to society.