Mechai Bamboo School

By: Tori Stanley & Theresa Dominguez

The Mechai Bamboo School founded in 1974 is a unique learning environment open to the entire community and striving to “Create a generation of honest leaders who will improve rural Thailand.” The aim in creating the school was to help enhance life for all people living in rural Thailand. The school was founded to run around the rice planting and harvesting schedule so that children could help in the fields without missing any school. The school also runs from Thursday to Monday with their “weekend” falling on Tuesday and Wednesday so that people could come and visit the school and learn more about how this unique school set up runs. Students in this school take a very active role in making decisions not only in the school but in their wider communities as well. The teachers act as facilitators of the child’s education and help them come up with and implement projects rather than explicitly teaching. Students are allowed to pick things that interest them and are encouraged to use their creativity and make it into a project and learn from a much more hands on medium of learning. The upper grade students also get to select the incoming students that they feel will do well at this school. This panel of students goes through an interview and selection process for students and take on much of the responsibility of running the school. The students are taught to work collaboratively and value teamwork. Students find a project interesting to them and in groups they use books and the internet to find answers and solutions to problems. The core values of the school are, environmental protection, education, poverty eradication, philanthropy, integrity, and democracy & gender equality. Students learn about all these things and come away with high regards to these and many otherworldly values.

Current students are given the opportunity to interview potential students.

The school serves as many things and is used by many different people. The focus of this school is literacy, numeracy, and creativity with the goal of helping all members of the community and strives to make a better community. The school is open to adults as well as children and serves to help further skills and sets them up for a business that will help the families thrive. Families of children in the school can receive microcredit loans to help further their social standings. The school is also a training center for teachers of rural Thailand to come and learn how to best teach students so that all of the children in rural villages are receiving a quality education.

Community members attending classes

Instead of spending the majority of the day in classrooms, the students spend a lot of time learning and applying life skills. They are encouraged to think for themselves and apply critical thinking skills to a variety of different situations. A major focus of the school is volunteer work and students are required to partake in a variety of volunteering events throughout the year. In addition to their core curriculum, students learn how to give back to their local communities.

The bamboo school has a lot of room for the students to work and apply the life skills they are learning.

The school also takes a large global interest and responsibility as well. The school is made of eco friendly bamboo and has the largest geodesic dome at 30 meters. instead of paying tuition students and their families are asked to do 365 hours of community service and to plant 365 trees in order to better their local and global community. The school ensures that no family with a student in their school is living in poverty. The goal is for students to be able to support their families and their families to have the opportunity for socioeconomic equality as well.

Resources:

http://www.mechaifoundation.org/school.asp

http://blogs.adb.org/tags/mechai-pattana-bamboo-school

Videos to Check Out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpuPr54kJBU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yws9eZn9PJU

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