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Early Life - My First Day at School

Thailand's Festival of Water: Songkran. A chance for adults to behave like kids. And for some kids a last chance to misbehave before the first day of school. The third program in the Early Life series follows three children preparing to enter primary school in Chiang Mai, Thailand. But are their lives already set on different courses? Scientists suggest that how the brain develops in the first years of life may affect a child's ability to prosper at school.

Sita is looking forward to her first day, Best is wary, and Tha Na Korn doesn't even have a school to go to yet. Their dilemmas reflect those of Thailand as a whole: how should a country with its own traditions of childhood prepare their kids for a new, globalized society? Thailand is now developing an education policy to meet the needs of a globalized economy.

Child rights might have guaranteed Tha Na Korn local schooling. But many experts who say culture should guide early child development don't like talk of 'child rights'. They say it could lead to the West imposing its own views of childhood on the world.

Can Thailand achieve child rights without sacrificing its culture? Child rights will mean more kids like Tha Na Korn go to school. But Tha's school has a different language and culture. He could become 'unrecognizable to his parents.' Child rights and respect for culture need to be combined.

'This important series translates our growing understanding of the vital role of early experience in laying the foundation for life-long learning for children growing up in poor communities around the world. It shows how despite poverty, we can combat the effects of deprivation on development and help young children thrive by promoting cost effective and humane early stimulation, attachment, and learning experiences. In this time of increasing globalization, these films bring students of child development and early education into the global community by expanding their vision of the power of child development in promoting the wellbeing of all children. An invaluable resource for programs that aim to integrate an appreciation of cultural diversity and economic and social justice into their courses.' Dr. Diane E. Levin, Professor of Education, Wheelock College, Author, Teaching Young Children in Violent Times

'This behind-the-scenes look at three Thai children as they enter formal schooling highlights the critical elements of school readiness and improving the quality of life for young children. This examination of education policy in Thailand raises questions of the role of culture and child rights in preparing children for school. This is a brilliant means to spark discussion that broadens our notions about the early years, parenting and equitable access to educational opportunities.' Mary Jane Eisenhauer, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Purdue University North Central

'Appropriate for discussions of the social and emotional development of young children through pre-school activities, stimulation, and communication. Recommended for collections in child psychology and child development.' Carolyn Walden, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Shrestha, Subina (Director)
Shrestha, Subina (Cinematographer)
Bradshaw, Steve (Narrator)

Other credits

Music, Audio Network; translators, Santia Saptim, Mee Kramer, Annie Watsena; camera, Dave Berliner ... [et al.]; editors, Peter Barker, Alex Gabbay.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
At-risk Youth
Child Development
Developing World
Social Psychology


children, development, neuroscience, parenting, school, behavioral science, Thailand, Festival of Water, Songkran, Chiang Mai, tradition, education policy, child rights, culture; "My First Day at School"; Bullfrog Films

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