Educationalists and policy makers recognise that the early education years have the greatest impact on how a child performs at school, and the kind of adult they grow into. Despite this, there are virtually zero early education initiatives in Cambodia, and those that do exist are very costly.
In the community we serve, parents of young children are faced with difficult decisions for survival of their family. The parents, particularly mothers must work long hours to feed their family. Sometimes this means the young children would go to work with parents, often in high risk situations like construction sites or foraging through rubbish…. or the children are left home alone. Unsurprisingly, the rates of child accidental death are extremely high in Cambodia.
Other times, older siblings, predominantly girls, are forced to drop out of primary school to look after the preschool age siblings. This ‘solution’ brings with it a myriad of problems. Most depressing is that it perpetuates the cycle of poverty, as without an education, girls are likely to find themselves in a similar impoverished situation as their mothers.
In November 2016, our new Kindergarten zone was built and established in loving memory of the late Melinda Horner.
The benefits of our Kindergarten program are multi-faceted. First, it allows parents to avail of a few extra hours to work knowing that their young children are in a safe environment. Secondly, our hygiene, health and meal routines provide a much needed helping hand to tiny undernourished bodies. Thirdly, it allows the elder siblings to attend school. Our program also provides young underprivileged children living in dire situations a happy and nutritional early learning environment to flourish in.
Our Kindergarten program includes:
- – A healthy mix between learning and play
- – Introduction to reading and writing, through singing, drawing and “storytime”
- – Outdoor play area with fun equipment to develop physical skills
- – Nutritious meals and personal hygiene practices
- – Social and emotional development through ‘sharing’ games and group activities
- – daily monitoring of general health with follow up of medical care to those in need
With nurture and care from our dedicated Kindergarten teachers who are also loving mothers of young children, our Kindergarten program guarantees a safe place for poor Khmer children to thrive and progress during these fundamental years of development.