First Day of School in Thailand

Today my son started school here in Thailand. I have spoken before about how I’ve been dreading this day. People always say how kids grow up too fast, but it has still caught me by surprise. My son is entering a new chapter in his life where he will become a bit more independent. School is going to change him, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

A few weeks ago I discussed the reasons for why I felt a bit hesitant about sending my son to school at 3 ½ (see here). My main gripe was the length of the school day. They wanted him to be in school from 08:00 until 15:00. In the end I put my foot down. I agreed to send him to school this year but only between 08:00 and 12:00. The school were fine with this because I’ll be paying the same fees. It also turns out that the children just sleep between 12:00 and 15:00 anyway.

I spent a long time looking for an appropriate school for my son in Thailand. We moved to Minburi just so that he could attend this one. It’s a private bilingual school; one of the few that has reasonable term fees. I also like the fact that they teach Tae Kwon Do from day one. I’m a huge fan of martial arts because it teaches so many important life skills.

First Day of School in Thailand


We arrived at the school this morning at 07:30. I’d sort of expected to have a bit of time with my son before his class began; maybe have the chance to take a few pictures. The school administration had a different idea. They whisked him away as soon as he arrived. This way of doing things does make sense. It would probably be harder for the kids to get settled in if their parents are hanging around.

My son looked confused as he was led away by his new teacher, but he didn’t get upset. When we got home the house felt a bit empty without him. My office is upstairs and I’m used to hearing him pottering about below. I had to keep reminding myself that he was only going to be away for four hours and not four years.

We picked him up at noon and my son appeared unharmed by his first day at school. He did a lot better than I did at his age; I ran away from school on my first day. He was a bit vague about what he’d been up to, but he is positive about returning again tomorrow. So it turns out that I needn’t have been so worried about this change in our life.

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15 thoughts on “First Day of School in Thailand

  1. For me – a little boy would be easier than what I’m facing. Not that it wouldn’t be tough anyway. Wonder if I can bring the school to my house. Might be a good time to look into starting a school right here. lol.

    Do they radio chip kids here in Thailand? Gotta check that too…
    Mike recently posted..Kids Are the Coolest…

  2. Paul, running away on your first day? What a worry you must have been! I remember when my youngest started school, the house was so very, very quiet…I could go for days during those 6 hours without saying a word.

    I think we parents often worry unnecessarily…in hind sight, of course. Your son is as cute as a button by the way 🙂
    Snap recently posted..Durian – the thorny truth

    1. Thanks Snap, the house is quite during those hours that he is away. I’m moving up to training full-time at Muay Thai at the moment so that is a huge distraction; it means that I don’t have too much time to miss him.

  3. Paul, I just wanted to tell you that if any crying starts in the mornings in the next few weeks that it doesn’t necessarily mean the school is mistreating your son. I’ve seen that in a number of schools which start at 3, that a few kids will cry, and the crying spreads to the others. This will disappear in a few months. If it happens to you, as it did me, maybe you could arrange with the school to make a “secret” visit. When my daughter began crying and I saw the headmistress, she assured me my daughter was fine. She asked me to come back secretly about an hour after school started and showed me where I could observe her from inside without her seeing me. She was indeed playing very happily. I knew the school was doing something right when I went to pick her up and she cried because she didn’t want to leave! (and this was during the same weeks she cried about going in the morning).

    I hope you won’t have to go through this, but just wanted to tell you it’s a common occurrence at 3, because it can be upsetting for the parents while it’s happening.

    Best regards,
    Lynne
    Lynne Diligent recently posted..Middle Eastern Children Explain a CULTURAL Reason Why Moderate Muslims are Not Denouncing Extremists

    1. Thanks Lynne, when we picked him up from school yesterday he complained because he wanted to stay longer. When he woke up this morning though, he said that he didn’t want to go to school anymore. I guess it will take him a bit of time to adjust.

  4. Paul
    Education for my kids in Thailand is something I worry about as well. Not the quality but the cost. I believe my ability to supplement the education they receive will ensure the quality. Can you tell me about the cost of this school you have chosen for your son and what about where he will go in the future…will you have to move again? Thanks

    1. Hi Mike, the school originally said that it would cost 30,000 THB a term for Anuban Level. After paying for things like books and uniforms it is probably over 40,000 THB for the first term. So maybe 70,000 THB a year. This was the cheapest private school we could find that was offering the type of things we were after. We will probably move him somewhere else when he reaches Pratom stage; that is what most parents at the school seem to do.

  5. We are going to Patong for another holiday. My wife wants to stay and enroll our 5 yr old son in school. We are Canadians, I will go back to Canada and work in September but she wants to stay the weather is so much nicer in Thailand and the cost of a nanny is so much cheaper. I this something that is realistic?

    Jim Cebrowski

    1. Hi Jim, if it is something that you both agree to then it probably is workable. International schools can be expensive, but there are usually cheaper options – I’m not sure about the situation in Phuket. It will probably be a great experience for your wife and son. I feel a bit sorry for you going back to work without your family.

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