Education in its essence is like a fountain of knowledge for a traveller lost in the quest for enlightenment. So if we were to derive a similar metaphorical definition of ‘school’, it can essentially be called the oasis which shelters that fountain. In our own quest to look for an epitome to justify this definition, we at The Knowledge Review have come across one such institution that aptly exhibits its prominence, the American Pacific International School (APIS). Founded by Kritsanant Palarit, APIS opened doors for its first academic year in August 1997 to serve students in Grades 4th-12th. In the year 2000, APIS opened a Kindergarten Campus (KG) in Hangdong, Chiang Mai, and in 2015 a newly constructed campus was opened and renamed to American Pacific International School – Primary (APISP). It is on this campus that the school serves its youngest students in a purpose built facility for the Early Years.
APIS’s mission is to provide an optimum quality educational program based on international educational standards delivered in English language in a safe and secure environment. At the Primary Campus, the Early Years program serves students aged 18 months to 5 years old. Each of APIS’s Early Years classrooms shares a common space for indoor play as well as toilet and washroom according to the age level. The school also possesses a purpose built outdoor play space designed for its youngest learners as well as a swimming pool that is specifically designed for the Early Years swimmers.
APIS, as a community, passionately educates, inspires, nurtures and maximizes each student’s potential to become a global citizen and a happy, life-long learner. APIS graduates are evidently empathetic, self-reliant, and citizens with an internationally diverse mindset.
APIS embodies values of community, responsibility, diversity and balance:
- Community – Working together to create an environment that supports one and all
- Responsibility – Accountability for our actions towards others; committed to treating all with respect and integrity
- Diversity – Acceptance and appreciation of people and their beliefs
- Balance – In mind, body and character
Unparalleled Teaching Methods
The APIS primary campus is host to specialized facilities that provide a positive and safe learning environment for children aged 18 months-5 years, to discover and learn through play. Caring and qualified, international teachers facilitate learning experiences through English as the common language. There is also a Teaching Assistant that provides support in each of its Early Years classrooms. The play-based program emphasizes early language development, motor skills and social-emotional skills that create the building blocks needed for future academic and personal success. APIS’s earliest learners also received instruction from single subject teachers in the areas of Music and Movement and Thai language.
From the age of 3 years old, the Primary Campus offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP), under the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a framework for instruction. The PYP encompasses learning not just in the classroom, but also through other means of learning within the whole community. The PYP is an international, transdisciplinary programme designed to nurture the holistic development of a child, touching hearts as well as minds and encompassing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare. The PYP combines the best research and practice from a range of national systems with a wealth of knowledge and experience from international schools to create a relevant and engaging educational framework for all children.
The Guiding Light
American Pacific International School is ceaselessly ascending the stairway towards excellence under the proficient leadership of Aj. Ladda Ahmed-Mahidi, the School Director and the school leadership team. They have been contributing to the school’s success since the beginning. Ladda, as the long standing member of the team, is affectionate towards the youngest students on APIS’s campus and has been instrumental in the school’s growth over the past 20 years, growing from a small house that held less than 10 Children to a purpose built campus that currently houses over 200 students in Pre-Nursery through Grade 6.
Ladda can regularly be found visiting the Early Years classrooms during the day, she loves to be on their level and share in their experiences. She serves as the school’s representative with the local Thai authorities as well as represents APISP with the local international schools network in Chiangmai. It is because of her prolonged reputation with parents, teachers and students that APISP has regularly received outstanding scores in internal and external evaluations.
A Prolific Approach
At APISP, children naturally develop a love of learning and build a lifetime of inquiry strategies. Class sizes are small so that each child’s individual learning needs are well catered for, by attentive teachers and classroom assistants. Students are free to explore subject areas through themes, often in ways that transcend conventional subject boundaries. In the process, they develop an understanding of important concepts, acquire essential skills and knowledge, develop particular attitudes and learn to take socially responsible action. Within this framework, APIS has developed individual subject standards and benchmarks to be incorporated, both, within the classroom lesson planning and the plethora of opportunities provided to the children.
One aspect that makes APISP truly unique is its focus on ‘family’. Through its mission, vision, values and goals, the school believes that student success at school is fostered through concrete home-school partnerships, and parental involvement in support of their child’s education. The school encourages all parents to attend school events throughout the year and be part of the wider APIS community. Parents are invited to be a part of their child’s learning and are kept up to date with weekly newsletters and student posts in their portfolios.
Delivering Modern Exposure
As part of its strategic plan, APIS has spent the past two years with a focus on contemporary technology. This focus has allowed its Early Years students to gain access to a traveling set of I-pads and purposeful instruction that is focused on digital citizenship. Teachers facilitate the use of these tools for photography, videography and learning. Students are able to record their learning and post it in their on-line portfolios. It is through this amazing technology and by linking to a specific app, that parents are able to see what their children are working on in class and how they are growing both socially as well as academically.
The American Pacific International School is fully accredited by The Western Associate of Schools and Colleges, the International Baccalaureate Organization as well as Local Thai Ministry of Education, ONESQA. “It is important for us as a school to be accredited; as it means that the programs of academic rigor and social development that we offer, meet with a high standard, which is important for acceptance into colleges, world-wide,” The leadership team expresses. The accreditation process also ensures that APIS is regularly scrutinizing its infrastructure and programs with a critical eye. “It enables us to keep up with public expectations and new ideas,”.