We would like to welcome Pattanapanya School to udonmap.com.
Pattanapanya School offers an alternative way of educating young minds preparing them as role models in our society. This school is a private primary school in a bi-lingual setting. Pattanapanya School considers everyone as a part of a big family.
Each one plays an essential role in the school's humble community. You are welcome to visit and see the family inside Pattanapanya School.
Article written By Doug Quist (Udon Magazine Guide Issue 6)
We are Family
In this issue, Udon Guide looks at an alternative school which recently opened and is located within the friendly confines of Udonthani – Pattanapanya School., at ถนนพรมประกาย ซอยพรมประกาย 3/ Phlumpraguy Road Soi Phlumpraguy 3 off the larger road Srichoomchoon, We feature this school as part of a continuing effort to keep our readership up to date on the ever-changing landscape and increasing diversity here in Udonthani, and the northeast, our quiet corner of the Kingdom.
There's a school in Udonthani with a new message. It opened in April of last year and it promises to provide our community with its first bi-lingual alternative school. Let's take a look at this "Family".
PPS is a private primary school, classified as a Bi-lingual education institute fully licensed and sanctioned by the Thai Ministry of Education. They teach English, but this is not a foreign language institute or an "AUA for kids." Classes are offered in English and Thai. Thai subjects are taught in Thai by Thai teachers and English subjects in English by foreign teachers. The goal of the bi-lingual education model is to put the students in an English speaking environment while at the same time not ignoring the need to develop their academic and language skills in Thai. When students are learning English, the language is new and they cannot be expected to learn everything in a second language. Therefore, subjects such as history/social studies, health, and scouting and of course Thai are offered in Thai language. Math and science are offered in both English and Thai and courses such as conversation, phonics, storytelling and general English in English.
We recently visited Pattanapanya School so we could see first-hand if this school is in reality different from the other private primary or language schools in the area. We found Pattanapanya School offers a true educational alternative for primary students. The school operates in a less structured environment and since there is currently a small student population, the student to teacher ratio is very low. The first advantage is that teachers truly know their students, not only in name, but as people. In this environment the children go around the school quite freely and this enables learning via discovery and hands-on (there are also monthly field trips). To walk through the school and observe the students in this free form style may be a bit shocking to some parents as they might suspect the school lacks discipline. However, when students are actively learning a new language, a freer environment is most welcome; they shouldn't be restricted by older standards and practices which call for the young learners to be sitting passively in a classroom like good children with their hands folded on the desk waiting for the teacher to direct the next lesson. Learning a new language requires new techniques and strategies. The PPS setting provides opportunities for students to use English spontaneously; an element so often missing from conventional classrooms.
The school has five Thai and five foreign teachers (Western, Philippines, China) and the student population is not comprised of Thai children exclusively. This is a population you probably may not find at any other school in Udon. Pattanapanya School director and founder, Mr. Danuch Tanterdtid explained the school was NOT simply conceived as a marketing scheme to grab the farang dollars moving into Udon. Instead the aim was to create and maintain an educational facility that promotes the development of English in an environment in which the students can learn English in a manner more effective than language schools or traditional private schools offer ( 3- 5, 50-minute periods of English per week). Pattanapanya School offers about 15 hours of English instruction inside the classroom each week. Because some students have origins in countries other than Thailand and there are five young foreign teachers at the school, the use of English spreads beyond the classroom and into the lunch room at recess periods and throughout the corridors: hence an extended English environment. In such an environment English lives and there is no need for "English Police" disguised as teachers to patrol the classrooms demanding students - SPEAK ENGLISH!
Mr. Tanterdtid was quick to emphasize that the school operates under the Thai Ministry of Education and a Thai curriculum is adhered to. The school fully prepares the student for citizenship in Thailand while employing a superior method of advancing English; so it is defined as a bi-lingual school. He also reminded me that the student to teacher ratio will not continue at the present of level of 2:1; however, the school is committed to never have more than 25 students in one class. Is this high or low? Interested parents should do an independent check of other schools in the area, both public and private and SEE, (not ASK) for themselves. Currently Pattanapanya School operates grades 1 and 2. As per the requirements of the Thai Education Ministry, all licensed primary schools must offer grades 1-6 and PPS will grow into all of these grades as they mature and add students. They expect to offer more grade levels for the next academic year. They can also accommodate students (via a course of preparation) who do not yet qualify for first grade.
Pattanapanya School follows the Thai school calendar. They offer educational opportunities outside of the academic school year as well. You can learn more about this school and take a tour by calling them during their regular hours of operation.
I was compelled to ask Director Danuch: Are the children who attend your school customers or students??? He was very quick to answer: FAMILY. He was proud to inform me how close the students are with the staff. He instinctively pulled out a photo album (albums usually put me to sleep). I was impressed by the student birthday parties and field trips around Udon where students experience Isaarn and northeastern culture hands-on. Kuhn Danuch again reminded me that the school's mission is not only to teach English, but to prepare and educate future Thai citizens.
A Brief History
Pattanapanya School was four years in the making. The school was planned as a logical "next step beyond" the traditional language and private schools in the area. The school is owned and operated by UTEC (a long running local language school) so it is well supported in its formative years. There is no worry that management must fill the school with warm bodies in order to meet expenses. The school can develop, grow and add more students at a healthy pace and not be forced to compromise its standards or face the threat of closure from financial ruin.
Try Us On For Size
Pattanapanya School opened in April of 2007 and is flourishing as it matures. Another unique feature of this school is that parents are offered the opportunity to "Try the school on." You can arrange for your child to attend a free trial period which usually runs for one school week. Director Danuch intimated to me that the down-side parents see when they visit the school is the lack of a sports facilites and the school's small size. However, he was quick to point out that there are so many other academic advantages to the school that parents should think about their priorities when considering a child's education and future. He pointed to the student to teacher ratio in the classroom and the student to computer ratio in the Computer lab. I was reminded that a school's small size is more of an asset than a deficit. Also when considering the pocketbook issue: here is a school with a small student to teacher ratio, but the term's fee is competitive with other private schools in the area. See for yourself.
Come on over
You are invited to have a look and check out the "family" at Pattanapanya School. Here is an alternative education institution thriving here in our community. Maybe it's what you have been looking for or perhaps it is not your cup of tea. We at Udon Guide want to provide you with the choices and alternatives in out community. Now that it is the beginning of a new school term here in Thailand, this is a great time to look at your child's daily learning habits and overall progress while taking a critical look at your child's current learning situation. Are you happy? How well do you know your child as a student?