Adapted from the Moo Baan Dek website,

Moo Baan Dek means Children's Village. It is an alternative living community. Through love, nature and freedom Moo Baan Dek strives to nourish the damaged souls of abused, orphaned and underprivileged children. Not only are our children offered free education, food and accommodation, but they are also taught to love themselves, their culture and the land on which they live. Our aim is to instil these children, often from the most difficult of backgrounds, with confidence and skills, which will allow them to be self-sufficient and positive members of society. Thus we hope to break the vicious circle of poverty in which these children are trapped.

Registered with the Ministry of Education, the school provides education from kindergarten through to sixth grade for orphans and children from poor or broken families as young as three years old. After sixth grade, children are encouraged and supported to further their high school education with the Informal Education Program of the Ministry of Education which makes them eligible to take the entrance examination to study in universities.

playing in the riverPlaying in the river

At Moo Baan Dek, nature is our classroom. Learning is not confined to the school buildings, but takes place at every corner of our natural school. Although the children are taught standard academic courses, our focus is to educate them in areas that will allow them to feed themselves and their families. The school is equipped with various vocational workshops where the children can work on their skills. Every afternoon the children can be found fine-tuning their skills in electrical work, woodwork, ceramics, batik, weaving, or sewing. Whether it be through academics, vocational skills or the arts, we aim to create members of society who have the motivation to work hard, complete tasks and support themselves.

Lesson outsideLesson outside

The school's underlying philosophy is built around the concept of A.S Neills Summerhill School in England. Elements of Buddhism and natural farming were later incorporated and more recently Montessori has been adapted for use in the kindergarten. The heart of Moo Baan Dek's philosophy is that all children are born into the world with an innate goodness which is damaged by poor living environments. This means that behavioral problems are not incurable and can be healed by living in a healthy, loving and free environment. The environment at Moo Baan Dek is arranged in such a way that children from troubled backgrounds can ease their suffering and begin to return to their original state of goodness. There is a major emphasis on creating a living atmosphere that nurtures the spirit and the creativity of the child. Important aspects of the Moo Baan Dek community are freedom and self-government. With the freedom to govern their own lives, the children are prompted to think, solve problem, make choices, discover meaning in their lives and achieve self-understanding. The children at Moo Baan Dek are free to live how they choose. They are not forced to go to class, to the farm, or to meetings; it is their choice. Given this responsibility, and given the confidence to make good choices, the majority of students participate.

Hairwashing by the riverHairwashing by the river

Teachers do not play a dominant role at Moo Baan Dek. Everyone is an equal here. The role of the teachers is to share their knowledge, increase learning motivation and assist the children in their chosen areas of study. This system of freedom creates a wonderful learning environment. It motivates the teachers to create interesting and fun classes so the children want to attend. This means that the classes are filled only with children who want to be there, which creates a good learning atmosphere.

Class 5Class 5


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