Located close to one of Bangkok’s largest expat communities, Magic Years International School is a small, welcoming kindergarten and primary school that offers an IB education to children aged five to 11 years.
In a capital city that’s filled with large all-through international schools, Magic Years offers an attractive alternative to parents looking for a standalone primary education. This single-form entry school with around 115 students delivers a solid IB education up to Grade 5 within a new, cosy – and very green – campus. The school talks about having a “strong relationship” with parents, and parents at the school talk about its “happy and secure atmosphere”, and “the enthusiasm and dedication of the staff”.
Founded in 1990, Magic Years has grown from a small pre-school into a popular kindergarten and primary school that follows the popular IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). With a close-knit community of local and expat families, Magic Years offers programmes from Mummy and Me classes for babies through to full-time schooling up to 11-years-old (Grade 5).
As well as being located with an attractive, leafy campus, Magic Years offers many benefits of a smaller school – a close-knit community, teachers know every child by name, every student has greater access to facilities, and it doesn’t feel overcrowded.
Magic Years has invested in facilities to teach a range of practical skills – from woodwork to moulding clay on a pottery wheel – and there is a strong focus on outdoor learning. There is plenty of wide open space where students learn from caring for the school’s farm animals, gardening and recycling materials.
Magic Years was the first stand-alone kindergarten in Thailand to offer the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), and it offers the PYP from KG through to Grade 5. The school has been an IB World School since 2012, so it has the experience of teaching the PYP for more than five years.
As you’d expect at any PYP school, teaching focuses not only on what is taught, but how it’s taught. The school is committed to allowing students to be actively involved in their own learning and to take responsibility for that learning. All subjects – English, maths, science and the arts – are taught within the context of the IB Programme of Inquiry. This road map for education looks at Who We Are, Where We Are in Place and Time, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, How We Organise Ourselves and Sharing the Planet
Talking about its delivery of the IB programme, Magic Years says:
“Students of all grade levels at MY International School students take ownership of their learning. Teachers do not “cover” a subject or “give” a lesson. Instead, students make the learning process their own—they do it, make it, and experience it.”
Learning in the PYP programme is enhanced by a series of co-curricular activities run throughout the school day including library, gym, soccer, swimming, and Thai language and culture classes. The timetable also features music lessons based on the Orff-Schulwerk programme, which combines music, movement, drama, and speech.
Magic Years focuses on hands-on learning by offering woodwork and clay classes in specialist workshops; these are fine examples of the school’s strong creative streak. In addition, it follows the Hidden Gems Character Development programme, which teaches values through stories, music, games, art, role-play and drama.
As well as receiving a very well-rounded education here, families can expect their children to have “the time, space and opportunity to learn through play”. In terms of technology, the school has Smartboards, iPads and personal computers.
Class sizes are small and range from 14 to 18 students, so parents can expect a strong degree of personalised learning here. There’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere and a relaxed attitude to some rules that lets ‘children be children’. For example, there’s no school uniform as “our children are given the freedom and creativity to choose what they want to wear to school”.
Magic Years offers a programme of after-school activities ranging from ballet and cooking to book club and science club.
Magic Years is ideally located in a quiet, gated residential community of Soi Samakee, close to the large expat community of Nichada Thani; it’s also near to the International School Bangkok (ISB), which may interest parents with older siblings.
The school moved to its current campus in 2017, so students can enjoy all the benefits of a new, purpose-built and modern campus. You walk through the school gates here and into a carefully-designed campus that uses lots of neutral colours and natural materials; it has been designed for young learners with cosy learning spaces, outdoor areas for sensory exploration and large communal areas.
As well as having well-lit, spacious classrooms, sports facilities include a child-sized basketball court and volleyball court, a multi-purpose gym room used for music class, indoor gym, ballet and tae kwon do, a full soccer field laid with grass, and a small salt-water swimming pool.
It's also very creative campus. Arts facilities include a clay studio complete with potter’s wheel and a woodworking shed; there’s also an industrial workshop used for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and a large library complete with its own ‘reading tree’. While the school creates a cosy community within its low-rise classroom blocks, it offers children plenty of outdoor space, which is a luxury for a city centre school. There is a small farm, a large field, gardening plots, a playground equipped with sandpits, bike track and a jungle gym, a recycling shed, and an outdoor cafeteria for lunch and snacks.
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