In the two weeks leading up to Songkran, three small
village schools outside Mae Hong Son were alive with activities. As part of
the service requirement for their IB Creativity Action Service Programmed,
14 students from Prem Tinsulanonda International School taught Music, Art,
Sports, Science and English, to children who willingly signed up for the
Holiday Enrichment Programmed in Nai Soi, Mae Sa Pae and Doi Seh.
bubbles in the name of science.
English is a lot easier by doing something. Making masks was one of the
Over the 12 teaching days, guitars were strummed, science
paper spinners floated through the hot air, baseball games were won and
lost, and very scary masks were made among countless other activities.
The Prem students had spent several weeks carefully
preparing each dayís three hours of lessons, often producing the necessary
materials and inventing what they did not have. This meticulous preparation
paid off when they saw the expectant faces of their pupils every day,
waiting for the magic which came out of cartons and plastic bags.
The Mae Hong Son pupils ranged in age from three to
sixteen years. Each group held a different challenge and each school was
wonderful in its own way. Prem students developed a special place in their
hearts, however, for the tiny students of Khun Arteet. Arteet, a trainee
volunteer teacher, runs a two roomed school in a dusty bowl of open ground
at the bottom of a bone jolting mountain road, one kilometer from the
Arteetís tiny learners came running from their woven
houses as the utility arrived each morning, bringing their new Ďteachersí.
Their bare schoolroom brightened with strings of colored shapes, drawings of
animals and clothing, and lumps of luminous play dough. They delighted in
the "best tinfoil boat competition" (displacement in science) and
in age-old English games like "Duck Duck Goose".
building and team games were great fun for all - and donít they look cute?
They took up bats and in temperatures over 100 degrees,
played tough games of baseball. They mixed and blew huge bubbles and sang
their hearts out to drink-can percussion bands. They taught us all lessons
about making the absolute best of what you have.
Despite heat and dust, long bumpy roads, nightly meetings to double check
the next dayís lessons and working hard for two weeks of vacation, the
Prem students who traveled north to Mae Hong Son would not have missed it