Big Sister Mouse is our school on the outskirts of Luang Prabang
After many years of planning and construction, Big Sister Mouse opened in June 2016. It's a school; we have pre-school for ages 3 to 5, plus grades 1 to 5. But it's not like other schools.
For young children, we follow the official Lao curriculum but in a more interactive way than most schools. We have a strong focus on reading, and we make school enjoyable. (In Dec. 2017 we asked students how many of them would like the school day to be an hour longer; 100% voted in favor. Now, from 4:00 to 5:00 each afternoon, theychoose from a selection of engaging activities which include dance, construction toys, board games, and acting.)
New teachers at our school don't arrive with the skills for this style of learning. They spend an apprenticeship period, anywhere from a month to a year, during which we help them develop everything from from basic skills such as reading with comprehension, math, computer use, and English, to important life skills such as perseverance, problem-solving, and group cooperation. Gradually they are integrated into classroom teaching.
Visitors help. English practice with visitors. In this photo, several young adults practice English conversation, one-on-one, with travelers who have volunteered for a day.
NOTE: School visits suspended: With great regret, we have temporarily halted school visits, and our English conversation practice in the city, as long as the coronavirus presents so many unknown risks. We've left the descriptions below, and look forward to the time that we can again welcome visitors.
We have strong interaction between different age groups. Children who have learned something help their classmates who didn't yet get it. This doesn't slow them down; on the contrary, it reinforces their own learning. Young-adult students frequently lead activities with children, too, and we're continually creating new games and activities. In the third photo, two members of our staff who are deaf demonstrate sign language to a group which includes pre-schoolers, older students, and a visitor.
Occasionally visitors have gone an extra lap. If this 22-second Youtube video perks you up as much as it did our children, you'll have a great time.
If you're in Luang Prabang, please enjoy a day in the countryside with us! We provide lunch and transportation. (More about volunteering). Current details are always posted at our shop in Luang Prabang.