Obstacle courses, balance bridges, water channels, mud kitchens, a sensory stream, sand pits, den building kits, bubbles and outdoor musical instruments — these are some of the features of Bangkok Patana School’s outdoor learning environment. Here, young students build contraptions that they then have the freedom to play in any way they wish, take risks and express themselves.
“Primarily young children learn language through play – that is our major driver for language development. In our Foundation Stage, the children are continuously having quality interactions between themselves and adults,” explains Sarah Gaughan, Leader of Learning and Strategic Development in Foundation Stage.
At Bangkok Patana School, relationships flourish to their full potential. Whether it’s peer to peer, senior and junior or teacher and student, young learners have several avenues for communication, support and camaraderie. Teachers aren’t just lecturing one-way in classrooms, they are co-constructors who work alongside pupils. Children aren’t just receiving information with no autonomy over their learning — they lead their learning, while adults play a supporting role. “In this way, children begin to realise that their interests and what they want to do are valued and they feel like an important and valued member of the community and feel confident to share their interests, their ideas and their thoughts, rather than waiting to be told by their teacher that they can speak,” Gaughan explains.
This approach reflects the holistic and innovative education that takes place at one of the most respected educational establishments in South East Asia. A Bangkok Patana education provides intellectual, physical and social preparation for the future. The school has remained at the forefront of education in Thailand as the country’s original British international school for students from two to 18 years old. Close to nine in ten of the faculty members here come from the UK or British international schools.
The school follows a modified English National Curriculum up to Year 11 and the International Baccalaureate in Years 12 and 13. These are paired with comprehensive arts and athletics programmes. The result of this broad-based and rigorous combination of study, play and exploration develops reflective and inquisitive students with a love for learning.
Excellence at every level for every interest
There’s never a dull day at Bangkok Patana School. With its fluid and contemporary approach to education, pupils truly get to learn in the moment and to capture their curiosity. At the Foundation Stage, children get to tell, repeat and change stories. Teachers use role play, or tell stories with toys, puppets and story sacks.
Another powerful approach to learning used here is British Sign Language. By combining vocabulary with physical action during sign language class, it “develops better neural pathways and helps children to form neurological connections when they are learning language,” explains Gaughan.
For older students, there are extensive opportunities to explore their passions, learn new skills, and meet new friends across year groups and key stages through the extra-curricular programme and community activities. Students of all levels also get involved in a range of sports programmes including Dance, Football, Gymnastics, Swimming and Tennis.
The benefits of physical movement are equally promoted in the early years. As students in this age group are still developing their fine and gross motor skills, they can’t move into reading and writing if they can’t control their bodies. From fastening their shoes and zipping their bags to putting on their hats, all of this “requires a combination of fine and gross motor development and by doing it for children, we take that development away from them,” according to Gaughan.
Bangkok Patana children have the opportunity to be independent in everything that they do, even if they pose some element of struggle and challenge. “We don’t fasten their shoes for them or put on their hats. We let them learn so they can develop control of their body,” shares Gaughan. “We give them time to put their shoes on and if that takes 20 minutes with support and guidance, then that is a learning moment rather than just a routine.”