6 June 2024

Hundreds of Thai netizens have heaped praise on the Sithat kindergarten in Udon Thani province for their inclusive approach to children who will not be with their mothers on Saturday, the national Mother’s day.

School activities on Mother’s Day usually involve students bringing their mothers to school. The mums then line up on stage for their children to pay their respects.

In past years this has, however, drawn some criticism from those concerned for children who have no mother to come to school on the occasion.

This year, Sithat kindergarten announced on Facebook on August 10, that it will not hold that traditional event this year. Instead, it will organise other activities for their students, which include preparing cards to give to their mothers on this special day (for those who have them), as well as essay and poem writing competitions.

The school said that teams of teachers had made home visits to their students and found that less than a third of them stay with their mothers.

Taking into consideration the diversity between the students’ families and the students’ feelings, the school decided to adjust the activities this year.

As of August 11, the posting has attracted 2,400 comments and was shared 34,000 times.

The administrator of school’s Facebook page wrote, “I’m shocked and surprised to learn that the school’s decision to adjust the activities on Mothers’ Day has attracted such interest and large number of comments,” adding “the comments expressed appreciation, offered moral support as well as recommendations for the school’s administration. We welcome all of them and will use them to help our children to grow up to be good citizens.”

A small selection of comments read:

  • Thank you on behalf of children who do not stay with their mothers. Such a creative and great idea.
  • Loud applause for the school’s administration and teachers.
  • Big hugs for understanding the feelings of children.
  • The idea should be applied to national Father’s day too.
  • Totally agree with the school.

Sithat kindergarten has about 800 students, from kindergarten year 2 to grade 6, and 33 teachers.

Khemthong Wanyao, 63, said she is now taking care of her grandchildren, as their parents are divorced. “Usually, I would represent their mother on Mother’s Day but, this year, the school is not holding the usual activity and, instead, is asking the children to write cards, essays and poems. I prefer this way.”

Meanwhile, 11-year-old Namkheng, said she lives with her grandmother and her mother rarely visits. Asked whether she misses her mother, she said she didn’t and she loves being with her grandmother.

Meanwhile Seksan Soparat, director of Sithat kindergarten, said that the school adjusted the form of the activities to prioritise children’s feelings.

“They are staying with their grandparents because their parents do not live together, their mothers either work in other provinces or have died,” said Seksan.

The director said that, in previous years, some students cried because they had no mother come to school like their friends, adding “we are proud that our decision has received such appreciation from netizens and the public.”