Numerous five-year olds in Human and Hope Association Cambodia’s community are at-risk of not being enrolled in public school. They come from families living below the poverty line and either go to work with their parents, stay at home unsupervised, or work themselves. To address this, a preschool program was implemented in 2013.
Since the new semester began in October 2019, the 10 students in the preschool program have learnt:
- How to read and write Khmer vowels
- How to count numbers in Khmer
- Living values lessons including the core student values, hand washing, teeth brushing, rubbish management, why violence, bullying and mocking people isn’t okay, how to be a good friend and the dangers of playing with sharp objects and fire
- How to work independently with less support from their parents and teachers
- How to clean the classroom and take care of their environment
- Being creative through arts and crafts
- How to work as a team
There is an average 87.25% attendance rate in preschool.
On the 9th of March, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport declared that all education services in Siem Reap city must be suspended after the first case of COVID-19 was discovered. The preschool teacher has been working from home to develop the curriculum which will continue after Human and Hope Association is permitted to open again.
This will not delay the students from transitioning to public school in October.
*Vanna’s sister studied in the preschool program at the Human and Hope Association in 2017. Despite being eager to study in the program with her sister, when Vanna’s time came to join in 2019, she refused to attend class. For almost two months her mother would sit with her every day in class, as Vanna wouldn’t stop crying.
Vanna’s teacher tried to comfort her and encourage her to join the class by playing with toys, preparing art activities, telling funny stories and singing to children’s songs. The efforts were in vain as Vanna still cried in class, ignored her teacher and wouldn’t engage in her learning.
Vanna’s teacher eventually found out that she likes to dance. Her teacher played music in the class and encouraged all the students to dance each day. After a few days, Vanna started to dance with her new classmates.
Vanna’s mother, upon seeing her daughter happy and interacting in class, burst into laughter, relieved that she didn’t need to sit with her daughter every day.
Vanna now attends class without her mother and is actively involved in class with her friends. After receiving school supplies from the Human and Hope Association, Vanna has been trying hard to study and her mother has supported her to review the lessons and to do homework.
It’s thanks to the dedication of Vanna’s mother and her teacher and funding from the Goodridge Foundation that Vanna is now thriving.