Reflections From a Grade 12 Parent

I’ve been asked to give my thoughts as a parent of a graduating grade 12 student and reflect back over our time as a family here at Prem. We moved to Chiang Mai from California seven years ago and our four boys started at Prem in January of 2015. It was a big adjustment for our family coming from the USA to Thailand, from a public school to a private school and especially arriving in the middle of the school year. There were some understandable ups and downs
during this transition, but when we reached out to teachers for help, the response was very positive and swift in assisting our kids with their needs.
We’d heard good things about the IB system and had been amazed by Prem’s impressive resources and beautiful campus when comparing it with other international schools in CM. We were excited for the opportunities our kids would have at an institution like Prem with the diverse student body and a rigorous academic environment in smaller class sizes as well as the amazing exploria program conveniently offered after school. We felt very fortunate to have access to all the Prem community has to offer. Our graduating son, Gabe, was in grade 5 when we arrived here. I helped as a volunteer in his classroom and was immediately impressed with the PYP Exhibition that the students were preparing for. I loved seeing how the kids were given so much control over their projects to choose what they would explore and I was excited to see how all educational subjects were incorporated and how many adult mentors helped in the journey. I felt the whole process was a very powerful educational experience, giving the students a chance to see what they could accomplish and present it to the community.

That Grade 5 Exhibition set a foundation for our son to build on, teaching him about teamwork, academic responsibility, creativity and organization. I’ve seen him apply the lessons he learned during that first year at Prem in all the years that have led him to graduation this week. Additionally, he and his class have faced unprecedented challenges placed to Covid-19 repercussions. But I think clearing these hurdles has strengthened these students and given
them greater resilience. Gabe has big educational goals ahead as he moves on to university, but I feel confident that Prem has given him the skills and experiences he needs to succeed.

In responding to a question about what advice other parents might need as their students
move up to grades 11 and 12, I would suggest a few things:

  • Talk to your student about what helps them organize themselves to meet deadlines and strategies for the best study habits. Ask teachers for help with strategies as needed.
  • Explore post-graduation options with your student. Take advantage of all that Ajarn Dawn and the academic advising office has to offer with aptitude assessments, college application preparation and the college fair on campus.
  • Help your student maintain balance by discussing how they will implement their interests into the CAS program.
  • Utilize each and every parent/teacher conference to more fully understand the scope of your student’s assignments and talk to teachers directly along with your student to get teachers’ feedback about students’ strengths and weaknesses and the best plan for their academic progress.

I feel that Prem parents are very fortunate to have the safe, supportive, creative learning environment that students are offered. Looking back on our first days at Prem to this current week of graduation, I have gratitude in my heart to all the teachers and staff who helped make this experience possible for our oldest son who has already graduated, Gabe who is now graduating and our twins in grade nine who will have a future graduation to look forward to at Prem.

Jenese Thorup

Grade 12 Parent

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