Building an Appetite for CAS
A now bi-yearly visitor to Traidhos, Yew Chung International School of Hong Kong returned on their brand new winter program. Sixteen Pre-Diploma Program International Baccalaureate students came to Chiang Mai to get a taste of CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), ahead of taking on the real program over the next few years as part of the Diploma Program. The week was split between activities that covered the three areas of CAS.
The students started the week by painting saa paper umbrellas. This is a unique Northern Thai traditional practice that Chiang Jai is famous for. The umbrellas are decorative but also double as much needed sun shields. Students then made colourful Lanna flags, which are used for decoration during festivals in Northern Thailand. These crafts sparked the student’s creativity while immersing them in cultural practices that have been passed down through the centuries in Thailand.
To get active, the students climbed and belayed each other at the VSP top-rope climbing wall, kayaked at Mae Ngoc Dam in Sri Lanna National Park, learned the basics of Muay Thai boxing and worked together to overcome the VSP low ropes course and high wall challenge. Most of the students had no experience with these activities, which was both challenging and exciting as every day brought a new set of skills to learn. With a strong team spirit and a willing attitude, every student gained new abilities while having a lot of fun.
The final element of the trip was community service. The students undertook a two day project to help build a classroom at Baan Tung Lakorn School. In preparation, we had a service class the night before to teach the students about the project and discuss the difference that their two days of work would make. The students had a lot of questions and even wanted to prepare some activities that they could share with Baan Tung Lakorn’s students. The class ended up running well over time because of YCHK’s enthusiasm and the next morning they were raring to meet the students and begin the build.
The classroom is an on-going project that has benefited from the help of several different visiting schools, with each building a part of the classroom. YCHK’s job was to build the walls. The majority of the first morning was spent making mud bricks, a fun but messy process which requires everyone to get stuck in – YCHK happily obliged, making nearly one hundred bricks by lunch. In the afternoon the wall building began. The process involved mixing cement and then placing the bricks with pinpoint precision. Any brick placed out of line could compromise the entire structure and so great care had to be taken to ensure the work would stand the test of time. During work breaks, Tung Lakorn’s students enjoyed playing with and even learning english from the YCHK students. By the end of day two the walls had been finished and everyone felt proud of their efforts. As a thank you, Tung Lakorn’s students performed for YCHK and even invited them to join in with a group dance. The bond between the students was strong and so it was difficult to say goodbye.
The service project was a perfect way to end the trip. The students left Thailand satisfied with the work they had done and excited to return for more in the future. CAS, previously a hazy future obligation, had been transformed into something that the students could truly look forward to in their upcoming Diploma Program studies.