6 May was our last day of Summer School, ‘Love the Earth’. More than 60 students explored and experienced through hands-on learning the key elements of nature and how to care for them.
Spending a week each on earth, air, water, trees, and how to care for the planet, students participated in activities like planting flowers, clay moulding, and kite design and learned about recycling and re-using objects found in daily life. And of course, they made lots of new friends! Enjoy the photos below.
More photos on the blog image galleries.
An Enjoyable Day
Panyaden School held its Summer Fair and Open House Day last Saturday, 2 April. Parents, children, the press, architects, friends and educators turned up throughout the day to join in the festivities. They toured the campus, participated in the talks and enjoyed watching local Lanna artisans at work.
Our teachers entertained children with educational games, craft making, music and singing. Many of the parents happily joined in as well. Organic ice cream, cold coconut and fresh vegetable juices were much sought-after thirst quenchers as the visitors walked around the school to admire the bamboo and earth architecture. Needless to say, the playground with the wooden slide, ropes, bamboo flute and sand box, was especially popular among the young ones.
Talks organized that day included two by our School Director and Founders on how Panyaden will integrate lessons learnt from successful bilingual schools across Europe, North America and Asia and how the school will apply Buddha’s teachings into its curriculum (read Neil Amas’ upcoming post on bilingual learning).
Adults and children sat comfortably on mats placed on the cool earthen floor of the Parents’ Sala as they listened to Taan Ajahn Jew’s Dharma talk, ‘A Buddhist View on Education.’
Yoga and meditation classes were on offer and Panyaden staff were available to answer questions on the curriculum and the type of education they can expect for their children. It was a fruitful and enjoyable day for our school and visitors alike. We wish to thank everyone for making it a success!
LOVE THE EARTH!
PANYADEN SUMMER SCHOOL MARCH 2011
This year’s Summer School will be five weeks of fun and educational activities based upon experiencing, appreciating and taking care of our environment. With a focus on learning through experience, using our hands and hearts as well as our minds, we will explore and appreciate the key elements of nature.
The Summer School will be taught in three groups:
Group I: Nursery and Kindergarten 1 (2 – 4 years old)
Group II: Kindergarten 2 to Prathom 2 (4 – 7 years old)
Group III: Prathom 3 to Prathom 6 (7 – 11 years old)
TOPICS for ALL LEVELS
Week 1: Love the Earth
Week 2: Water
Week 3: Earth
Week 4: Air
Week 5: Trees
LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for ALL LEVELS
Students will become aware of and understand the key elements of nature and how these support life. They will learn how to interact with them wisely, to save not exploit.
Our activities will focus on 4 aspects of your child’s development:
1. Intellectual Development
2. Physical Development
3. Moral Development
4. Emotional Development
BY THE END OF THE COURSE WE EXPECT YOUR CHILD WILL ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING:
LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for GROUP I (2-4 years old)
1. Experience how our surroundings consist of different elements of nature.
2. Improve fine motor skills.
3. Make friends with each other and nature.
4. Feel the calming effect of nature.
LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for GROUP II (4-7 years old)
1. Identify man-made and natural aspects of our environment. Show appreciation for time spent in natural surroundings.
2. Develop fine motor skills, physical coordination skills, agility and balance.
3. Be capable of working together with friends in pairs and small groups.
4. Develop personal awareness of, and love and care towards, living things.
LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for GROUP III (7-11 years old)
1. Use creativity and independent thought to identify ways to use and save the environment and avoid exploitation of the environment.
2. Improve physical coordination skills, agility and muscle strength and learn how to take care of the body.
3. Be capable of playing the role of both team member and team leader and be able to positively influence people; be able to explain the global aspects of changes in nature.
4. Be able to explain why it is important to use our natural resources efficiently and demonstrate good habits and self-discipline in regards to consumption.
TIMES and DATES
Panyaden Summer School will run from 28 March to 6 May 2011 with a one week break between 11 and 15 April. The School will open at 08:30 each day until 15:00.
For more information and details on enrolment, please contact
TEL : 080-078 5115 and 085-484 6095
E-mail : email@example.com
Website : www.panyaden.ac.th
Phra Panya Nu Phap Chaiyamongkol
Auspicious Victory Through The Power Of Wisdom
This is the name given to the Buddha image that is currently being created for Panyaden School through the collaboration of two Thai artists. It captures the essence of the school’s belief in helping its students develop and apply wisdom in their lives.
The materials used for the Buddha statue are bamboo and earth mixed with rice husks – the same natural materials that compose the walls, floors and roofs of Panyaden School.The inspiration for this sculpture came from a smaller Buddha image made by Thai artist, Metta Sudsawad (Took). The main sculpturing is done by Chiang Mai artist Thana Chaiyasien. Khun Took is overseeing this important undertaking. She is also instrumental in crafting the details that will make the image come alive.
The Making Of A Buddha Image
We follow the journey of our main Buddha statue as it begins its life on paper as a 5-foot tall drawing made by Pi Took (white Buddha in the main photo above).
Pi Thana first creates the skeleton from bamboo pieces which he enhances with rope and holds everything in place by wooden dowels. 3 days later, he starts to flesh out the body with a mixture of earth, rice husks and water. A week later, we join Pi Took as she examines and works out any changes with Pi Thana. Once she is happy with the structure and proportion of the main body, she will start working each day to finesse the little details that are so important in creating the right posture, attitude and feeling that this Buddha image will evoke. It is refreshing to see the two artists quietly working together to create a statue that will embody Buddha’s wisdom and compassion.
I ask Pi Took if her vision for the statue is based on any specific Thai tradition of Buddha art. “I would say it’s a contemporary style, closer to the Rattanakosin School which makes the Buddha image more realistic and closer to human anatomy and features. However, instead of a flame at the top of the head, I will sculpt a hollow lotus bud, which I think is a softer and more peaceful symbol. Ajahn Jayasaro will place a Buddha relic in the bud during the installation ceremony at Panyaden School.”
The Buddha statue has its right hand, palm down, touching the earth in the Bhumisparsha Mudra (ปางมารวิชัย, pang maa ra wi chai or ‘Calling the Earth to Witness’) gesture (mudra). It is believed that Shakyamuni (before he became Buddha) touched the earth, calling out to the Goddess of the Earth, Sthavara, to testify to his purity.
The left hand, held flat in the lap in the dhyana (meditation) mudra, personifies “the union of method and wisdom, samasara and nirvana, and also the realisations of the conventional and ultimate truths” (https://www.lotussculpture.com/mudras.htm). The Bhumisparsha Mudra therefore symbolises Buddha’s victory over Mara, the demon that embodies “the Tempter, the forces of greed, hatred and delusion” (https://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/buddhist_ceremonies_1.html).
After the torso and refining of the fingers, hands, feet and robe of the statue comes the difficult task of crafting the face. Pi Took feels that when most people look at a Buddha image, they tend to look at the face first. This is why she wants to spend enough time mindfully crafting it.
“The Mind Is Everything. What You Think You Become.” – Buddha
Working on the statue is almost like meditating. “It’s like communicating with Buddha. I talk to him and it seems like he is talking back to me! I feel close to Dhamma. This helps me become aware of my emotions. I need to clear my mind because I have to focus and put positive energy into it or the statue will not come out right.”
Further reading about different styles of Buddha images and the meaning of their gestures/positions:
Ecological footprint, carbon footprint, reduce your carbon emissions. Yes, you’ve heard it all before: about how we should reduce our various ‘footprints’ because we are hurting the environment, how each individual step can tip the ecological scale.
They are all true but hear me out before you roll your eyes at yet another ‘green’ lecture. Reducing your ‘carbon footprint’ is not about following a trend, conforming to a marketable buzzword, earning credits or about shouting out what you are doing to the whole world. It is simply about taking steps to balance out what you take from nature and your environment, and how you can respectfully return that favour.
In The Beginning. William Rees first used the phrase ‘ecological footprint’ in 1992 to describe the weight of what we take from the land and its ability to continue providing those resources. He talked about the “total area of land that is required to sustain its urban region” (Environment and Urbanization, https://eau.sagepub.com/content/4/2/121). This area is the land’s ‘ecological footprint’.
Somewhere along the line, the phrase became ‘carbon footprint’ which is a subset of the ecological footprint. It specifically refers to measuring the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we release (in a year) to sustain our daily activities and how this weighs on our environment.
Primary Footprint. This is a measure of our direct emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and GHG from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. cars and buses). We have direct control of these.
Secondary Footprint. This measures the indirect CO2 and GHG emissions (embedded carbon) from the whole life cycle of products (manufacture, material & product transportation, installation etc) such as electricity and household appliances that we use in daily life. We may not have direct control of these.
Panyaden School’s Footprint. Panyaden School is diligently committed to keeping both its primary and secondary footprints small by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Together with Chiangmai Life Construction (CLC) and Utility Business Alliances (UBA), this green school is first assessing how much CO2 is produced from the time the first piece of bamboo (or any building material) is trucked to the construction factory to the end of the construction of each sala or building.
1 ton of clay has 0.0029 tons* of embedded carbon (tCO2 or tons of carbon dioxide released to make a kilogram of clay) + carbon emissions from transporting this clay to the construction site = x ton of CO2 (size of footprint).
By contrast, the process of making concrete generates a lot more carbon dioxide. 1 ton of concrete emits approximately 0.7 to 1 ton of embedded CO2. Add this to the transportation emissions and you understand why the ecological footprint of clay is only a fraction of this.
After this initial round of calculations, the School also plans to collect and analyze data including staff and school activities, the type/number of pieces of furniture used along with the amount of electricity spent for its operations.
While collecting the necessary construction data, the School is also actively trying to keep its CO2 emissions low. This is part of its responsibility to the community and to the environment. It also aims to educate its schoolchildren about environmental management such as how to reduce and recycle waste and how to conserve electricity.
Keeping It Low. What are the steps Panyaden School is taking to minimize and offset its carbon emissions?
1 Building Materials. The School maintains a small carbon footprint by choosing to build its infrastructures with natural materials like bamboo, stone and earth. Cement, concrete and steel rods are only used for foundations and support where appropriate.
When the structures’ rammed earth and adobe walls are demolished at the end of their life cycle, the earth will be returned to the soil and can be recycled again and again. This may be a long time coming but it is necessary to plan ahead and minimize any negative consequences of our current actions on the future of the natural world, our future.
2 Energy and electricity use. Panyaden’s decision to use natural building materials also goes a long way in conserving electricity. The rammed earth walls and floors, free-form adobe walls and bamboo structures are great for ventilation. The earth walls are excellent at absorbing heat during the day and keeping the rooms cool. There is no need for air-conditioning except in rooms that have computers.
3 Transportation. Carbon footprint data include modes of transportation and the distance between the source of supply and the construction site; how many trips and how much diesel and/or petrol are used. As an approximation, 100 litres of diesel produces about 312 kg* of CO2. Shorter and fewer trips via trucks = less diesel burned = less carbon released.
Efficient planning is needed to minimize travel and where possible, materials like earth are ‘harvested’ from the school grounds or sourced locally in Chiang Mai. The construction factory, CLC, is also located only about 2.7 km from the School – another saving on the amount and cost of fuel expended to transport building materials to the site.
4 Waste generation. Any waste on the construction site is recycled where possible. Leftover bamboo, for example, can be re-used as wooden nails (dowels), water mugs and scaffolds. Ground water from the site itself is pumped via simple pipes and used for various building work processes.
The teachers will also educate the children to be mindful about food and water usage. Any waste will be treated and recycled with low-energy waste management devices like the Food Waste Digester and Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Food waste: UBA estimates that 450 children and teachers (1 meal a day) may produce about 70 to 80kg of organic waste. The Food Waste Digester installed outside the kitchen/dining hall will recycle the waste into biogas (a renewable energy from organic mass) for cooking. The remaining solid waste from the Digester will be used as organic fertilizer (see post on the FWD).
Wastewater: Each person at the School may generate approximately 60 litres of wastewater per day. This liquid waste can be easily treated by the Wastewater Treatment Plant and safely drained into the natural waterways (see post on the WWT Plant). Per litre of wastewater that has been properly treated emits only 0.0012 kg of CO2 .
5 Plants. Aside from aesthetics, planting bamboo and other trees around the school is a great way to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and to release oxygen into the atmosphere.
6 Staff/school activities and transportation. Simple but efficient methods of further reducing its carbon footprint will be encouraged when the school is in full operation. These include recycling office and classroom paper, newspapers, drink containers, unplugging appliances when not using them, turning out lights when leaving a room and carpooling.
Cause And Effect. Panyaden School is mindful that every decision it makes will have an impact on its staff, its schoolchildren, the community and the environment. With this knowledge comes the need and the capacity to act responsibly.
Learning about the size of its carbon footprint is another way to help the School do what it can to manage all its resources and activities in sensible and respectful ways that ease and offset some of the burden we place daily on nature to absorb our carbon emissions. This alleviation is a step towards nurturing a healthy balance and harmony with the environment in which we live.
*Thai Greenhouse Gas Organization (TGO) Guidelines
With thanks to K. Alisa (UBA)
The Founder of Panyaden
“Curiosity. Innovation. Respect. Sustainability. Holistic Education. Creativity. Inner Peace. Balance. Living with Nature. Buddhist Approach. Environmentally Mindful. Learning Through Experience. Practicing what you have learnt.”
I went away from meeting Khun Yodphet Sudsawad (aka Khun Tik) with these buzz words and phrases swimming furiously in my head. She is an inspiring woman who is building her dream school. These nouns and phrases fly out at you every time she talks about it. Her passion and belief that it is possible to make dreams come true has inspired many like-minded people to come together to build Panyaden School.
Why a school? She believes in training minds from an early age. While working at Phenomena, a renowned Bangkok TV commercial production house, she learnt that the “quality of manpower” and good attitude is as important as professional knowledge. To have this, people need to be trained from an early age.
Having been a follower of Buddhism all her life, she wants her school to provide a sustainable education that is based on the Buddhist principles of ‘sila sikka’ (moral conduct), ‘panya sikka’ (wisdom development) and ‘samadhi sikka’ (mind training).
“Panyaden (also) has to be international, compatible with the best schools in the world. We will give away scholarships for 10 – 20% of the local students.” Pupils will study mathematics, science, computer studies, dance, music and so on in Thai and English.
These studies will be conducted in an environment that is built out of locally available raw materials. Here is a school whose architecture and structure will itself be a big part of the learning process. This idea is strongly supported by her husband, Markus Roselieb, co-Founder of the school and the Project Manager of the construction.
“I wanted to use local materials, which are sustainable and green; to acknowledge them and to learn how they can be used in our daily lives. Armed with this concept, she went about gathering information and teams of people who share the same vision. Now some 80 workers, led by skilled local craftsmen and foreign expertise, work on the site. Building from earth is a local practice in Chiangmai, so I thought about what material will match or go with it and suddenly the idea of bamboo came up, and I knew (then that) it’s possible.
“We started to research the material we’re going to use to make our building sustainable. Luckily, the World Bamboo Congress took place in Thailand about 2 years ago, where all renowned bamboo architects gathered and lectured. One of them was Olav Bruin from 24-H Architecture (Rotterdam) which designed many of Rudolf Steiner’s** schools in Europe. The Rudolf Steiner schools have a creative atmosphere for children to experience and be a part of. I knew that we needed experienced architects to achieve a unique design combined with the local materials, so our children could learn from them.”
A major part of the learning experience is the physical environment that is primarily being built out of bamboo and rammed earth. The school’s unique design was inspired by an antler fern the 24h team found at Tik’s residence. An organic design combined with age-old raw materials and building techniques, whipped together with a large dollop of reverence and care for nature.
Khun Tik wants to give the students a well-rounded education that helps them to think for themselves and to lead by example. “Children have to be able to implement theory and adapt it to use in daily life. Then they know which theory works or which one doesn’t. Everyone in the school, both the children and teachers, have to understand what is sustainable living (this is one part of how to balance your life). When they see their school buildings, they will ask questions about how the school was built and with what materials.”
Here at Panyaden, we want to nurture
- A Buddhist educational approach that acknowledges nature along with all living and non-living things.
- A mind that is environmentally aware and alive, able to control its thoughts with confidence and inner peace. Able to think and speak in Thai and English, armed with the necessary knowledge for it to thrive in this increasingly global economy.
- And finally, a mind that is able to practice what it has learnt and to share it with the community at large.
‘Panya’ – wisdom, insight, knowledge; ‘Den’ – outstanding. The name of the school embodies all these elements that make up the essence of Khun Tik’s dream. And we wish her astounding success.
***Visit the Panyaden Buddhist Bilingual School’s website at https://www.panyaden.org or click on the link on our blog. The site will be launched on 7 July 2010.
** Steiner’s education: https://www.steinerwaldorf.org/whatissteinereducation.html