Our volunteer rooms are adjacent to the kindergarten building and those kids are rapidly becoming my favorites. Today, at lunch time, a little girl pressed her face up against the darkened glass of my room’s door to see if she could see anything. When I came close and waved so she could see me, she giggled and ran off. So cute!
We teach one of the two kindergarten classes every morning at 8:30 (for one hour). Laurian is a great teacher and good with the kids: Teacher Pon is also very helpful and appreciative of our efforts to help. The kindergarten kids have lunch early: 11:00am, and then return to their building where I noticed they have a nap (when I peaked several were moving around on the floor: par for the course I think :-).
This afternoon, I caught some video of the kinder-kids being picked up by their families. Most of them ride on the back or front of motorscooters or bicycles with their parents or grandparents. Many children live with their grandparents as their parents are off in Bangkok working where they can make more money.
A couple of things to notice in the video… lots of kids have talcum powder smeared on their faces, something I’ve seen all over Thailand. From what I’ve been able to learn (mostly from the internet) this is mainly a way to keep them cool and dry in the hot weather. What I read suggested that you will see more of this in the countryside whereas urban people consider it unsophisticated. I have also read that there is a cultural bias in favor of lighter skin: many products (e.g. facial creams) have skin whiteners in them.
Also notice Teacher Pon greets one of the parents with a slight bow and her hands clasped in a praying position. This is the normal way of greeting with respect in Thailand and it is similar to the “namaste” greeting we see in yoga classes at home. Apparently, the higher the hands and the lower the bow, the greater respect. Watch the little girl on the motorcycle who says goodbye to Teacher Pon: she hasn’t yet perfected the hand-clasping part 🙂