Tag Archives: children

Midterm Break Message

Let Them Do Nothing!

by Kru Michel, Primary School Principal

With a school break approaching, kids are often looking forward to lots of computer or TV time while parents start scheduling activities and fill up the schedule so no one gets bored. Nothing wrong with joining a club or playing video games but there is one important activity that is usually overlooked: doing nothing!

You might have heard that “The Devil finds work for idle hands”. That could be why we think we should keep our kids busy at all times. However, research shows that creativity and inner peace are more likely to arise during free exploration play. Daydreaming is apparently also linked to better emotional control and the ability to deal with frustration. Read more

Unfortunately, in wanting to make sure our children are not bored, we overschedule their time or give in to their request to have more computer or TV time.

“Middle-class children in America are so overscheduled that they have almost no ‘nothing time.’ They have no time to call on their own resources and be creative. Creativity is making something out of nothing, and it takes time for that to happen,” says Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., a developmental and clinical psychologist and professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. Read more

Signs that a child is too busy:

    1. Sleep is disturbed.
    1. Your child has emotional outbursts or displays frustration and anxiety.
    1. He misses spending time with parents, family and friends.
    1. She cheers when a lesson or practice is cancelled.
    1. Performance at school declines. Click to Read more

So, when school is out, provide your child with ample time to be “bored”, time where no computer, tv or organised activities are available, time where they will have to figure out what to do and therefore start enjoying simple activities they would not get to enjoy otherwise.

Also, I wish you have a great vacation with a lot of new experiences.

Looking forward to seeing you again on 17th April!


Live and Learn: Household Chores for Kids


Why household chores are good for your kids

By Neil Amas, School Director

IMG_2845 Panyaden International School Director, Neil Amas
I read recently that 82% of today’s parents did regular household chores when they were young, but only 28% expect the same of their children1. Not wanting to be part of that 28%, I decided during the last school break that it was time my kids did more to help around the house. The ensuing battle was almost epic…. and is still being fought! But new research shows it is worth pursuing because the benefits to your child’s wellbeing are significant.

“Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success, but ironically, we’ve stopped doing one thing that’s actually been a proven predictor of success – and that’s household chores,” says author and developmental psychologist, Richard Rende2.

DSCF8168 Panyaden student doing chores at school in Chiang Mai during Giving WeekNo doubt the growing tendency to fill our children’s free time with play dates, outings, entertainment and after-school clubs has contributed to the dwindling emphasis on household chores. But research by Dr. Marty Rossmann of the University of Minnesota found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, compared with those who didn’t have chores. Dr. Rossmann believes that household chores help children build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance3.

Learning to be kind and helpful at home builds empathy and leads to happiness. Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro points out that generosity is the cornerstone for cultivating a sense of wellbeing for oneself and between people. That is why Caga (being generous) is one of the school’s 12 Wise Habits. It is a catalyst for family togetherness because, as Ajahn Jayasaro notes, “few things enhance the sense of connection between family members as group acts of generosity”.

The theory is all well and good, of course, but many parents know that the actual practice of getting our children to do – let alone enjoy – household chores is another matter! With gentle but firm perseverance, though, it can be done. While my own kids remain reluctant and resistant at times, I have seen a growing acceptance as the routine becomes embedded and I have even noticed some singing along the way!

Here are some tips that may help get your kids to the washing-up bowl.

Make a chores schedule. A schedule of chores made by the child himself which he can tick off each day, creates a sense of personal accomplishment as well as serving as a visible reminder of what need to be done.

Are extra piano lessons necessary? Instead of scheduling another after-school club or a weekend of visits to the cinema or water park, give priority and due importance to household chores. Then your child will get the same message.

Start small. Add fun. You are more likely to get children involved if the tasks are manageable at the start and build up to bigger ones. Add tasks that your child might find fun, like learning how to use the washing machine.

Avoid rewards and punishments. We know that promising an ice cream or pocket money for completing a task does not develop intrinsic motivation. In fact, research suggests external rewards lower inner motivation. Similarly, saying: ‘Of course we can go to the park, just as soon as you finish your chores’ is better than ‘If you don’t do your chores, you’re not going to the park’. The first indicates that there is a natural consequence of not completing something on time. The second is presented as a threat or punishment which is likely to lead to resentment and doing one’s chores begrudgingly.

Benefits to all. Caga and empathy are more likely to be developed if chores benefit the whole family (like doing the family laundry or feeding the dog), not just oneself (like tidying one’s bedroom). Describing tasks as our chores instead of your chores further puts the focus on taking care of others.

Let your child know he is a being a helper rather than helping. Research shows that young children are more motivated by the idea of creating a positive identity – being known as someone who helps4.

Add choice. Involving children in choosing the tasks makes them more likely to buy in.

Don’t make chores into ‘chores’! If you yourself complain about doing the dishes or the pile of laundry that needs to be done, so will your children. Modelling a positive attitude towards household work is probably the best encouragement you can give.

Be consistent and stick to the time frame. If you don’t monitor the chores schedule or follow up every time tasks haven’t been done, your child will soon understand that she only has to do chores some of the time. Make sure that the chore is done within a time frame previously agreed with your child and that whatever was supposed to happen next – such as going outside to play – cannot happen until the chore is done.

It’s OK to help too! If your child is trying but really struggling it’s OK to say, “Well, it looks difficult for you today. Let me give you a hand to get it done before we go out”. Model such a behaviour and, who knows, our child might reciprocate one day and help us when we find it difficult to do ours!



โดย นีล เอมัส School Director

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Download Thai version here.

1See Why Children Need to Do Chores by Jennifer Wallace in the Wall Street Journal

Live and Learn: Helping My Child at Home


How can I best support my child’s education at home?

By Michel Thibeault, Head Teacher

Michel Thibeault, Panyaden School Head Teacher

Relax, have fun together, share your passions and give your child lots of space to be his own person!

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the time spent helping with homework that is likely to make the biggest difference in our children’s education. In fact, research shows that only high school students benefit from doing homework, while elementary school students gain little or nothing. What does make a positive difference then? Well, “Relax, have fun together, share your passions and give your child lots of space to be his own person!” seems to be what is needed!

The usual “What did you do at school today?” rarely yields more than the monosyllabic “stuff” or the extended version, “I don’t know”. What we would like of course is for them to share the exciting moments of their day, the learning highlights but also the challenges they faced and the way we dealt with them. In “How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk”, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish suggest we simply talk about our day first and model what we would like them to do! Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Staying relaxed and avoiding interrogation sessions is likely to do the trick over time.

One of the key elements of the Panyaden approach is support the development of the wonderful Wise Habit of Chanda, the love of learning for its own sake. This requires that we create an environment that will be conducive to inquiry, that will support creativity and make discovery and learning a fun activity. Pressuring students takes them in exactly the opposite direction. Whether it’s from Buddhist principles, new data on how the brain works or research by people like Carol Dweck or Alfie Khon, the conclusion is the same: feeling pressured and stressed kills creativity and limits our learning potential1.

Besides modeling, there are many small things that can help boost our children’s learning:

  • Make sure they get enough fresh air and opportunities to run around after school.
  • Avoid high sugar and other unhealthy snacks.
  • Read to them, never mind how old they are.
  • Read yourself and do it in front of your children: children will follow their parents’ example.
  • Work together on home activities.
  • When there is homework, provide a set time and quiet environment for it to happen. Patiently help out if needed but don’t feel you have to do the teacher’s job. Send a note to school to inform the teachers if you encounter any problem.
  • Look up information together when you’re not sure about something.
  • Listen to his ideas and respect the level of his attempts.
  • Understand and accept that while the goal is always mastery of a concept, skill or knowledge, we can only take the next step today. Tomorrow might take us closer to the goal.

img_3178 (1)If your child is reluctant to do his work, it might help to ask him to estimate the time needed for various sections and set a timer to see if his prediction was accurate or not, “how long do you think it will take you to read the text?”. The next questions, after the text is read, could be something like “how long do you think it will take to answer the first 5 questions?”. You could also build in an incentive such as “dinner will be served as soon as your homework is done”. Or “I hope you’ll be done before I go to your uncle’s house because I would like you to come with me”. In this case, dinner is not withdrawn, nor is his chance to go to his uncle’s house but it’s clear that something else must happen first. The child then has to decide by himself to do his homework and reap the benefits or not do it and assume the consequences. The wording is important to make sure it is not perceived as a reward. It’s best to avoid statements such as “If you do … you will get …”

If, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”, let’s allow our children as many opportunities as possible to practice making decisions. If they feel they have a choice – even if it has to be limited – about when and where they do homework or other duties, when to have a break and so on, they are more likely to feel empowered…and from there Chanda will follow.

So, relax, have fun with your child, share your passions and give him lots of space to be his own person!


1See also recent New York Times article by Adam Grant: “How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off”, January 30th 2016

The Nature School Visit

Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas with Lloyd Godson from the Nature School Australia. Photo courtesy of The Nature School.

Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas took Lloyd Godson, one of The Nature School’s founders on a tour of our campus recently. The Nature School Inc. is a non-profit organisation in Port Macquarie, Australia. Its vision is “a world in which all children learn from and within nature.” Here are some photos of the visit shared by Lloyd Godson who had come “to get some inspiration” from our school.

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Parent Workshop (Prathom)

Focus on Reading Week

Parent Workshop: “Encouraging Reading at Home” (Prathom)

DSC02163 Panyaden School parent workshop
Thursday, 27 Nov, 2014, 16:30-17:00 (Canteen)

A chance for Panyaden parents to exchange experiences and learn new ideas to promote a love of reading
amongst older children with Kru Michel and Kru Jan.
Please contact the School Office (053 426 618) to reserve a place.

Teacher Training

What have our teachers been doing over summer?

Panyaden School conducts summer training for its teachers Conducting training for our Thai and foreign teachers at Panyaden School Panyaden School teachers in a game to build team spirit

Over the past 3 weeks, Panyaden’s teachers have been undergoing our summer training programme. We are committed to being lifelong learners and acknowledge that there is always room for improvement. During this summer break we have been focusing on a number of areas, identified together with our teachers, where we need to increase knowledge, understanding and skills to benefit our children most. These include

  • Discipline and classroom management
  • Integrating the Thai and IPC curricula  
  • The teachings of Buddha and meditation
  • Working cross-culturally
  • How children learn
  • Communicating with parents
  • School policies and procedures

Summer School Week 2


One of nature’s most important gifts

Fun in the water: Panyaden Summer School students at Opkhan National Park

Summer often brings hot and muggy days; so it was wonderful when our Panyaden teachers taught us about water this week by allowing us to play in it at the Obkhan National Park! Needless to say, we did not need any persuasion to jump into the lake to look for small creatures like fish, crabs and shells using ‘nets’ that we made out of twigs, string and large dried leaves we found near the lake. What fun! We learnt a lot about the need for water to flow properly and not remain static; and although some of us shrieked at the mention of this, the nymphs and larvae of insects such as the mayfly and dragonfly do need good quality water that do not contain midge larvae or red worms in order to live and grow.

Panyaden teacher chaperoning Summer School students Students having fun in the water - Panyaden Summer School Panyaden Summer School student with his hand-made net Panyaden Summer School student with his net Curious students checking out their finds from the water - Panyaden Summer School Panyaden students studying studying insect at Opkhan National Park

Water covers more than 70% of the earth. It is one of nature’s most important gifts to us. All living things from humans to small creatures like insects, fish and crabs require good quality water to survive. But we learnt this week that this quantity of water is limited and keeps going around and around in what is called ‘the water cycle’.

Water cycle chart courtesy of www.kidzone.ws
“Water Cycle” – illustration from www.kidzone.ws

Our teachers showed us this cycle and other qualities and aspects of water through charts and games. We really enjoyed the games especially the human boat we created by sitting down in a circle, putting our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us and swaying like we were moving on water. We even stood outside our classrooms to stare at and observe the clouds to learn about how they are formed when water from plants and trees ‘sweat’ or transpire, then evaporate and condense in the air. We learnt that when the clouds cannot hold the water anymore, they release it and it falls to the earth as rain. Then it soaks into the earth and becomes ground water for animals and plants to live on and drink from. Or it collects into lakes, oceans and ponds where it will eventually evaporate when it is heated by the sun and the cycle starts again.

Panyaden Summer School game Happy students enjoying games at Panyaden Summer School Boy enjoying a swim during field trip, Panyaden Summer School Panyaden School students learning how to make a simple 'net'  Panyaden Summer School students dredging for small sea creatures Treasures from the sea, Panyaden Summer School field trip

Click here for more photos. 

Blossom Day 2012

Panyaden School kindergarten students performing on stage at school

We made it through the dark caves of Lascaux with the help of a young Panyaden School student! With a flashlight, the student confidently guided visitors through the cave full of ‘primitive’ art on the walls that she and her classmates drew and built to simulate the experience of exploring the original caves, a subject they studied about during the last term of school.

Panyaden School student selling tickets to a parent

Today was Panyaden School’s second Blossom Day; a day to celebrate what our students learnt this term. They have all been working hard to make different crafts for the Blossom market as well as making props and practicing their roles for the show that they put on for their parents and friends.

Our approach has been to encourage all our children to take roles, some of which may be unfamiliar or challenging, to help them overcome their nerves and develop self-confidence. Our goal is that students enjoy their effort and take on their roles with delight and enthusiasm, demonstrating their ‘chanta’ (doing your very best in the present moment).

,Panyaden School nursery/kindergarten students performing for their classmates, teachers and parents Primary students doing a dance number at Panyaden School A captive audience watching the students perform in bilingual plays at Panyaden School Students peeping through tent to see dance performance by their classmates at Panyaden School, bilngual school in Chiang Mai Panyaden School donates to charity

We are all very proud of our students’ ability to perform in front of an appreciate audience today. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the show before moving on to take part in the buzz and hustle of the Blossom market in which students and teachers made a brisk sale of food and their own handicrafts, like books, painted pebbles and clay art. All proceeds from the sales were donated to a learning centre for disadvantaged children from the mountains around Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai (supported by the charity, Somdech Ya).

Thank you to all teachers, students and staff for all your hard work and enthusiasm! And of course to our parents for all their support at home.

Panyaden school exhibit of students' art Primary class' bilingual banner at Panyaden School


(Note: CD-Roms of photos will be on sale at the office in the new term.)

Continuing Our Reading Activities

Drop Everything And Read!

Young students reading outdoors at Panyaden School

Reading is one of most important skills your child will ever learn. Cultivating a love of reading was the main purpose of our Panyaden School Reading Week.

During that week, we focused on engaging activities like storytelling, role-playing characters from books as well as our ‘Drop Everything And Read’ (DEAR) and ‘Book in a Bag’ programmes.

Book bags from Panyaden School
Book Bag
storytelling time during reading week at panyaden school
Storytelling time during Reading Week

Continuing Reading Activities

 Panyaden School English teacher reading a story to the pupils  Students of Panyaden School enjoying reading outdoors in the playground  Boys reading their books at Panyaden School
Though Reading Week is now over we are continuing reading activities as follows:


  • On regular occasions, such as in during assembly, we will ask children to literally drop everything and read. Children and teachers will find a corner, a cushion or any seat and read a book of their choice.
  • At lunch times we will encourage students to ‘Read under a Tree’ by leaving cushions and a basket of books in the shade of a tree. Teachers will from time to time sit with them and read a story.
  • ‘One Leaf at a Time’ and ‘Where in the World’ – we launched our ‘Book in a Bag’ programme during Reading Week where a child brings home books in a special bag. After finishing a book, the students fill out a label which is then placed on a world map outside our library. They also glue leaves on our paper Reading Tree to show the growing number of books they have read.
 A quiet read under the shade at Panyaden School  Dropping everything to read. Photo of students at Panyaden School  Panyaden School students reading outdoors