We begin every day with a gong at 5:30am in Rainbow School. After our prayer and meditation in the early morning, we are allocated to each chore, cooking, watering the plants, cleaning and feeding chickens. We work as a team and help each other to learn to be more independent.
From Monday to Thursday children learn Thai, English, Japanese languages, math, science, biology, sociology, life skills, art, music, physical education and technology as part of the curriculum. We create a foundation where the children can learn basic literacy and ethics, and subjects of their interests and choices.
Every Friday is “Rainbow Day” when children choose whatever they want to learn, developing each individual talent and creativity.
Children engage with activities they are interested in on the day such as fine art, dance, cooking, music, theatre, sports and reading.
We believe that in the primary school agenda, it is important to find out what they like, what they are good at, what makes them happy to do, what they want to learn and ability to find them on their own.
We consume locally sourced products. In rice cultivation, we plant them in June and July and harvest in November and December. Although it is a striving backbreaking work, all done by hands with time and effort, it is an opportuni- ty to work with supportive villagers. The rice taste incredible. Working in the nature makes children calm, humble and resilient mentally and physically. Adults can’t keep up with those children who have been experiencing this work over years.
Forest stay is one of Rainbow Shcool’s signature events, when children stay for 6 days in the mountain at the end of March every year. They only bring rice and minimum seasoning and have to find the food by hunting, fishing and picking wild vegetables. They have to create a lodge using bamboo, grass and wood. They enjoy bamboo basket making, athletics and bonfire at night. Under direction by the indigenous villagers, it is a profound opportunity to gain survival skills, show respect and awe to the nature and nurture animalistic senses that we as a human being equipped.
Every December, we bring some children to Bangkok for different and special occasions, including voice training, modelling experience, Eurhythmics lessons, yoga lessons and theatre experience by a theatre company Thousand Tento. These activities are planned to make children’s dream come true. They do home stays hosted by Japanese families who live in Bangkok, giving children learning opportunities of Japanese culture and language. This 4 day stay excursion is generously supported by many people. Thanks to this unforgettable experience, each child keeps dreaming for the future with broader perspectives and values.
At the end of December every year, grand sports festival is carried out over three days. Including local children who express their enthusiasm to join, a number of participants soar up to around 80 people. We engage with various sports in two teams. Marathon, football, dodge ball, pingpong, badminton, port ball, sprint, relay race and cheer- leading. Over three days, all of us engages with sportsmanship, solidarity and friendship with sweat and dust. We would like to continue as an annual event as this is a great opportunity to enhance children’s health and growth as well as to share and build relationships with our neighbours.
Sawan camp, led by Mr. Saita gives Japanese students from Japan and Bangkok to develop their leadership skills. Their activities include wood planting, rubbish clearing and dream mapping in which participant draws own dream plan in details. Over the last 5 years, Sawan camp began to visit Rainbow school as one of their activities. Children here are excited to spend time with Japanese students every year. It has also been a great opportunity for Japanese students for new discovery and learning through life at Rainbow School as it is very different from their modern life in the city. Since 2018, two of our students have been invited to their camp in Pitak island in south Thailand every year. Although it might be challenging to spend days among Japanese students due to the language barrier, this experi- ence is very precious. Through this international exchange, we aim at fostering their leadership for their future.
Rainbow School includes ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), promoted by the United Nation, in our school curriculum. Ms. Pannaporn, who is also a registerer of this learning centre teaches ESD. After she completed her MA in Sociology in India, she worked as a journalist and a reporter of NHK. Because of her experience and knowledge of society and its issues, her teaching is profoundly engaging. In 2019, they learned a basic foundation of SDGs with practical engagement, making chairs with eco bricks and earth house. In 2020, we aim at exploring further on each component of SDGs in order to research, understand and have different perspectives to find solu- tions for the current global issues. Through ESD classes, we plan to keep exploring and practicing sustainable living in Rainbow School way.
In February 2019, we launched Waste project. In that month, we visited waste disposal plant in Sangkhlaburi. Al- though we didn’t know how the household waste was treated by then, we were smacked by a shock fact during this visit. We firmly decided that we need to take responsibility to treat our waste without relying on the public service. Because the way they treat the waste was just to bury them in the forest. We saw a mountain of waste with horrible
stench, polluted air and full of flies flying over. It was so unbearable that we couldn’t stay longer than 5 minutes. Every day, large waste trucks come and go to dump all the waste. And the ground water apparently runs to Myam- mer side. These facts put us off and made a strong determination.
What we are doing now at the school is a complete classification of the waste. Anything recyclable can be sold. Food waste goes to the soil. Papers are burned in our small incinerator. Used clothes are recycled to make a sofa made from sandbags. Other plastic wastes and non recyclable stuff are fully packed in plastic bottles, which be- come eco bricks. Eco bricks are utilised to create chairs and walls. Anything hazardous are temporarily kept safe.
We would like to keep investing time and effort to find waste solutions in Sangkhlaburi, researching a better way of treating wastes so that the issues do not destroy wellbeing of the nature and ourselves.
We grow mushrooms for our meal as well as sale. We purchased a growing base from our neighbour and children water and take care of them every single day. Freshly harvested mushrooms taste the best in kind. Children weigh the mushroom and keep the record of how much they sold. When there is no food left at school, cooking team buys them. When some left, they sell the mushrooms to our neighbours. The earning is distributed to each child as a pocket money. This enables children to gain responsibility and life skills through learning a business cycle of grow- ing, measuring, cooking, selling mushrooms and earning. This mushroom project is led by Ms.Pannaporn and Ms.Sakao
All the leftover food waste turns into composts to feed the soil as our composts project. This is part of waste project described above. Due to a survey conducted by the Thai government, approximately 70% of the waste is food waste. When we experienced horrible smell and a plenty of flies at the waste plant in Sangkhlaburi, it was pre- sumably because most of the waste contained food waste. We often see mixed rubbish including plastics, leftover food and waste together inside the bins at Sangkhlaburi market. If we could create a system that turns the 70%
food waste into a soil fertiliser, it not only solves 70% of the waste problem, but also makes the soil richer. Therefore, we are investigating through trial and error how we could make a nutritiously rich fertiliser from our food waste. This composts project has been led by Mr. Pak. We also appreciate if you could share any tips or techniques to make a good fertiliser from the food waste.
In December 2017, we launched our first musical production, “Rainbow Warriors”. We began this project with a purpose of delivering an important message and reaching out for as many people as possible. Riho Tanaka, a pro- fessional dancer from Kochi Japan stayed at the school for two months and choreographed the piece in November 2017. Thanks to her passionate and enthusiastic direction, we made a successful and long waited musical produc- tion. Pukka (12) is the leading role. Pukka showed her excellence in dance and performance since she was little, which made us allocate her as the leading role. Other roles and dancers also show their brilliant personality and characters in this musical. Making and performing this musical has given children an opportunity to shine and show off their talent and skills. We are hungry to keep developing this work as well as trying new other tasks. The stage used to be “The Celestial Ark”, an earth architecture in our previous location. This building was our signature de- signed by Mr. Kikuma Watanabe. Performing with this grand set made us speechless and moved audience visitors deeply. Due to the forced relocation, we had to disassemble the building but found a new open space for perfor-
mance near our new land. This open space is as wonderful as “The Celestial Ark”. Please enjoy the musical when you visit the school.
Boys love to play the football. This is universal. In the free time in the evening, our boys put on the football shoes and run to the ground excitedly. Older boys have improved their skills and played great games at the public match- es, leaving a space to further improve to win. Mr. Mok and Mr. Pak are directors who are leading the football team. They are dedicated to support and teach children the skills, playing the match with children in their free time. Most of our children are feeling lonely and sad as they are either orphanage or living away from their parents, which some- times make them sluggish and lethargic. However, playing the football with friends always makes them motivated, confident and happy. It also helps grow their body and mind stronger and more resilient. We would like to keep en- couraging them to engage with the football.