In addition to showing us the different types of wood, they also showed the kids different methods of cutting (chainsaw, handsaw, and a bamboo splitter). They demonstrated what happens to young leaves from a teak tree when you squish them, they turn red, and are used to make a dye, and also explained that the cutting of teak tree's is now government regulated. We were at the lumber yard for about an hour. Right before we got back on the bus each kid was given a digital camera to use to take photos around the yard. Then, one of the hosts (I believe his name was Kuhn M) gave each kid two pieces of bamboo. One is to be used as a piggy bank, the other can be used for a pencil holder. Then, we got back on the bus and headed back to ISB.
So, why do I think ISB is an Awesome school? Because they take the possibilities and turn them into reality. Maybe it's a Thailand thing, maybe it's a private school thing, I'm not sure because this is the first time I have experienced either, but I just don't see a short field trip this this happening at a public school in the states. I was also shocked by the idea of handing a 5 or 6 year old a digital camera and saying go, take pictures of whatever you want. The kids all knew how to use them and were pretty comfortable with them so it seems like it was not their first time. Their teacher said that in addition to the field trip, they will be making particle board later on as part of their science unit. I have heard of other schools saying that they take a hands on approach to science and learning but ISB follows through with it.
On November 8th, ISB had their first "Passion Day". Basically someone said what if we asked all the kids "if they could do or learn anything what would it be?" Then all the teachers and staff got together to come up with ways to make those passions become realities for a day. This must have been a HUGE undertaking for the school as there were many activities that the kids went to that were off campus, like wakeboarding and scuba diving. It was a bit more controlled for the younger kids but still very elaborate. Arcadian, my kindergartner, went to learn about Marine life. The teacher contacted a fish store that was able to bring in aquariums with baby sharks and misc. touchable creatures. The children were able to put on goggles and snorkels and stick their heads in the water to watch the animals. Brosnan attended a cooking class where they made chocolate chip cookies from start to finish, and Justice went to a computer gaming class. ISB teamed up with places all around Bangkok including local colleges where some students were able to go to learn about things like fashion design. The kids came home happy and excited!
Its the big things coupled with all the small touches of ISB that I know makes the kids enjoy school and makes me happy that they have this opportunity of a lifetime.