BAAN CHA NIANG
Introduction to Baan Cha Niang School
Baan Cha Niang School is located in Surin, the North-Eastern province of Isan, in Thailand. It is a government run school with 54 children, one headmaster, four teachers, and two helpers. 49 kids are from Baan Cha Niang Village and only 5 from the neighbouring village Baan Samrong. Due to a low birth rate, and the fact that many locals have moved to Bangkok with their kids, the number of students has steadily declined in the recent years.
The school is conveniently located in the middle of the village, and most children walk to school or go by bicycle.
Most people living in the village are farmers, without any means to pay for private education. In the past, the government has tried to close the school and merge it with a school from a neighbouring village, but this has successfully fended off by the locals. The closure of the school would mean that parents would have to pay for transportation to bring their children to another school, ten or twenty kilometres away, adding another burden, for many cash-strapped villagers.
The story behind Baan Cha Niang foundations
Onanong and Rolf Graf, the founders of Beunite Co. Ltd., have been living and working in Bangkok from 2013 to 2020, in the tourism, event and team building industry. When the coronavirus struck Thailand in February unexpectedly and brought all business to an immediate stand-still, they decided to move to the North-East of Thailand, to Baan Cha Niang, where Onanong's parents live.
The plan to stay at Baan Cha Niang only temporarily and during their children's school vacation, soon changed during the lock-down, when everybody realized that a return to Bangkok was unlikely to happen and that the event and tourism business, so devastated by the lack of international tourists, will take years to recover.
So, the twin boys, Jason and Jacob were enrolled at Baan Cha Niang School in July 2020.
The large gap in education between city and countryside in Thailand
Jason and Jacob, age 8, went to a private school in Bangkok for two years before they joined primary school grade 3 (Mathayom 3) in Baan Cha Niang with just four other kids. However, the level of English language of their classmates was unequal.
So, the headmaster allowed the twins to join grade 6 (Mathayom 6), with kids who were three years older. Yet, Jason and Jacob were overly participative in the class, leaving the much older kids even more shy and uncomfortable.
The stark realization that something had to be done, to improve the level of English language at Baan Cha Niang School, led Onanong and Rolf to start their own English language program.
What does the foundation do?
Baan Cha Niang government school provides the premises, while the foundation provides the curriculum, the learning material, and the teachers (Onanong and Rolf Graf). Four hours of English a week is currently being taught with Primary 5-6 on Mondays, kindergarten on Tuesdays, and Primary 1 & 2 and Primary 3 & 4 each one hour on Thursdays. Beside the English language, the foundation is engaged in many other fun and meaningful projects that can be sponsored by our donors.
Since foundation's courses are independent from the national curriculum, Baan Cha Niang Foundation is not obliged to prepare the kids for any nation-wide tests. This freedom to be creative, to develop lessons and projects that are fun, interactive, and engaging leads to a remarkably high satisfactory score and most kids look forward to joining our classes.
In addition to the "Can Do Primary" books that was sponsored by one of our donors, we integrate the following elements into our teaching:
Reading English books and learning about Western culture.
Montessori and Waldorf techniques.
Team building activities that are fun.
Leadership skills for kids.
Teamwork and social skills.
Boardgames, both from off-the-shelf and developed in-house.
Creation of viral YouTube videos.
Environmental and social projects, such tree planting, building a Chicken Coup and a Mountain Bike course in the forest, and many more.