Early childhood is a critical time for nurturing curiosity, intrinsic motivation, social awareness and a lifetime love of learning. The Banyan Center is a child-centered, bilingual learning environment where we endeavor to equip students with the education necessary to excel in the Thai school system and beyond. We implement an engaging literacy and mathematics curriculum, offer activities that foster critical and creative thinking skills and provide personal support so children develop confidence and resiliency strategies. Upon graduation, students enter the local Thai school system with a better foundation and have the opportunity to enroll in our After-School Program that builds on the skills and knowledge introduced at the Banyan Center.
Since January 2012, we have been enrolling students between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. Those that have been with us since our opening have shown impressive gains in literacy, math, fine motor skills and communication. Equally as important, we observe students exhibiting great curiosity and taking pride in their efforts and accomplishments.
The school year started with 17 Burmese, Thai and foreign students. We have 7 native English and Thai students who pay tuition and come from middle-class backgrounds in Pai. The remaining 10 students are from the vulnerable communities who attend on scholarship. Our diverse staff and student population is one of our greatest strengths as it fosters rich cross-cultural exchange and offers an opportunity to bring together the larger community through our shared commitment to our children.
To learn more about our work at the Banyan Center, please visit our Facebook page where we post about our students’ progress, school activities, celebrations and future plans.
There are six core principles of our educational philosophy at the Banyan Center that drive our instruction:
1. Teachers act as facilitators of learning by observing and guiding students with essential questions and support.
2. Students are given choice within certain structures, encouraging self-direction and a sense of ownership.
3. Each activity and learning center is designed with an educational intent and purpose.
4. Students consider and explain their thinking and learning through verbal and non-verbal processes.
5. Teachers engage students individually, in small groups and in whole-group instruction throughout the day to provide variety and options.
6. Students are treated with the same respect as adults and are active contributors to a mutual learning process.