In today’s global society, the ability to speak more than one language is a valuable asset. Thais fluent in languages other than Thai enhance our economic competitiveness abroad, improve global communication, help to maintain our political and security interests, and promote tolerance and intercultural awareness (Pratt, 2002; Sollors, 2002).

Research has found a positive link between proficiency in more than one language and cognitive and academic skills (Armstrong & Rogers, 1997; Bialystock & Hakuta, 1994: Cummins, 1992; Hakuta, 1986). Some studies indicate that individuals who learn a second language are more creative and better at solving complex problems than those who do not (Bamford & Mizokawa, 1991; Cummins, 1992). Standardized test results show that students who have focused on foreign language studies routinely achieve among the highest scores in all subjects tested (The SAT College Board, 2002).

The reason why many parents at Holy Mary Udonthani School applied is because of our multilingual approach. Every time the parents see their child speaks in another language than their own they look proud and impressed. It is a privilege to know more than one language. 

Our main two languages used at Holy Mary School are Thai and English. Whereas many schools in Thailand focus on Thai and have English for communication we expect more. We believe that when teaching well students are able to become bilingual. That means that they can communicate as easily in Thai as in English in spoken and written language. Especially the reading and writing is a skill that has to be taught well in an early stage of the child's education.

In this article I would like to tell you a bit more about how we organize our language lessons at Holy Mary Udonthani School.


English Language Education

What separates our school from many other school is our English Language Education. We believe in phonics from a very young age. When children come to our school in Kindergarten 1 they will study phonics. We believe that the knowledge of the alphabet is more that writing and naming. We also pronounce the letters with the correct sound. This can go along with the other two steps and are already mastered at the end of Kindergarten 1. We believe that when the children know the sounds of the letters they can start to blend 3 letter words (CVC-words). 

IPA- Phonetic Script

Already in kindergarten the children learn also the phonetic symbols that go with every letter sound. In kindergarten it focuses on the 26 sounds that go together with a single letter. In the K3 and Primary levels we will teach the children all the 44 sounds of the English language. You can find an example here. We believe when teaching phonics like this benefits the pronunciation of the children. We see amazing result and children are able to pick up the IPA script from a very young age. We use D'Eng Club English to teach the phonetics. These are very nice colorful books that are attractive and engaging for everyone.

Cambridge YLE Test - Common European Framework

"Are you good at English", a teacher ones asked. How to answer a question like that. What is good and what is bad. For some school you are good in English when you know 100 English words and for other schools the students need to be near fluent to be a good student. At Holy Mary Udonthani School we use an internationally set standard to tell if our students are 'good' at English. It is called the Common European Framework of Reference and it will used all over the world. It means that when we tell you your level, it will be the same in any other country.  We offer the students the change to do the official YLE Cambridge test that is recognized all over the world.  

 To prepare the children for an important test like this we teach English through books like Fairyland and Get-Ready-For Starters, Movers and Flyers. These books are designed to improve all assets of the English language and are great as preparation for the Young Learners English Cambridge Assessment.  



Chinese Language Education

At Holy Mary Udonthani School we also study Chinese. You can't compare Chinese education with English, because the children study only 1 hour of Chinese every week. We teach them basic Chinese skills in a fun and engaging to way so they are ready to study Chinese in a later stage of their education.



Thai Language Education

Most of the children have Thai as their mother-tongue and are planning to have a future here in Thailand. For that reason Thai is the most important language in the child's live. We understand that and focus on fluency in spoken and written Thai. Children are expected to read when finishing Kindergarten. By carefully designed group lessons and engaging Montessori Language lessons they children are able to read on a very young age. 

In primary 1 we will build on the knowledge we absorbed in Kindergarten. We also know that there will be new students from other Kindergartens starting at Holy Mary Udonthani School in primary 1. By proper assessment the teacher will determine the needs of every child and will focus also on the students that still need extra help with their Thai. In some cases we get children that are not able yet to read or speak Thai in primary 2 or higher. For those students we try to make a special plan to make them ready to be successful in Thailand.

If there are any more questions about our Thai language education you can ask the teachers at Holy Mary Udonthani School or contact us through Facebook, E-mail or LINE. 





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195 M.11, T. Nakha, Muang Udonthani, 41000, Udonthani, Thailand

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