Monday, 6 August 2012

Si-Panya School

Matthew said to me on Saturday morning, " I wish I could go to school today".  I guess this is a sign they are settling in well.  Annabelle has been very keen to go back every day, since their first short visit.

The school I described in some detail - SLC - on Koh Samui is not the one we have ended up at. That school was one of 2 or 3 sizeable international schools on Samui.

Koh Phangan however, has a much smaller expat community, and Si-Panya School school was opened this year by the Director, Nicola.  Nicola is English, has lived here for about 7 years and has a son at the local secondary school.  

The ground floor is classrooms, the upper balcony is where they eat.
The school hours are 9am to 3pm, they follow the British curriculum, plus have a Thai language lesson every day.  There are 3 classes, each with about 5 children in.  Matthew is in a composite Year 2/3 class and Annabelle in a composite Year 4/5 class. For some classes they all come together eg art, sport - a grand total of 15 kids !  

The year levels are a little different to those in NZ, Matthew should actually be in a Year 1 according to age, however fits into the Year 2/3 class in terms of what he is able to do, plus this class is mostly boys, which suits him well!  Annabelle's class is covering ground she has done before, but she is definitely benefiting from the repetition and her class is mostly girls.  They both have the advantage of having English as their first language. 
Year 4/5 timetable
The other kids are from French, Swedish, Russian, Portugese and mixed Englsh/Thai and American/Thai backgrounds.  As well as Teacher Nicola, Teacher Genene is from South Africa and Teacher Phom is from Thailand. So a very mixed group.  What a melting pot of accents, cultural backgrounds, communication styles and behaviors.  It is interesting to see our guys adapting !  

However, the constants are : Matthew playing soccer with the boys and Annabelle looking after the younger kids.
Teacher Nicola in front of the combined classes

There is a reward system which involves being credited points for good work or behaviour and on alternate Fridays they add up all the points and get to 'buy' treasures - Matthew with his fascination with the power of money - is loving this.  They can also be debited points - something I don't think we'd see in an NZ school these days.
Annabelle deciding how to spend her points
The building is a house with the classrooms on the ground floor and open walled, so they are kept somewhat cool by breezes and fans.   Annabelle is finding it a bit hot, so she is allowed to go and take a friend to eat in the one air-con room for a bit of respite.  We also have to spray on mozzie repellant with their sunblock in the morning.

I am enjoying not having to prepare school lunches, as they get morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea each day at school.  They are enjoying sharing a variety of cooked meals, as supposed to sandwiches every day.  It is too warm really to have food sitting around in a lunchbox, it wouldn't last well.

Students proudly displaying their Victorian projects !
One slightly surreal sight on Friday, and the result of following a British curriculum, was seeing these children from various backgrounds with little or no English or Commonwealth connection, in the middle of Thai island, all turning in their projects on England in the Victorian Era !  Next term they are learning all about food production on the island, which somehow seems more relevant.  I am hoping to learn a little as well, one topic is the many food uses for coconut.

On Friday, Matthew celebrated an early birthday at school with a cake and we took in a pass-the-parcel.  Some children had never played this before, so that was good fun. Similarly, musical chairs.
Pass the parcel
Annabelle's turn
The term ended on Friday, so after about a month of traveling holidays, Annabelle and Matthew are on holiday again for two weeks!   However they are doing 2.5 hours two-on-one with Teacher Genene each morning, to cover some ground that will help them next term and ensuring they don't forget what they have learned in NZ either.  The first morning was today and they seemed to enjoy it.

However, we are going to Samui for 3 days tomorrow afternoon.  We're going to celebrate Matthew's birthday there - as there are a few more activities for him to enjoy - likely soccer golf and a monkey show (!)  We are also going to meet Mum and Dad off the plane and spend a short amount of time with them there, before coming back over to Phangan for most of their 10 day visit.

Hard at work

Annabelle, the second-eldest child at the school, working beside Tara, the eldest.

end of term book tidy-up job

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