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6 July 2021 - Story

Community actor plays important role in promoting children’s early learning

Mer Sorn, a dynamic 63-year-old woman, has proved that she can play many important roles in the community to help improve the quality of the preschool and encourage continuous involvement of teachers and parents in children’s early learning.

Ms. Sorn is currently a member of the Commune Committee for Women and Children (CCWC), as well as being a member of the school management committee in Anlong Reab commune, located in a remote area of Pusat’s Veal Veng District in the west of Cambodia near the Thai border. 

Long ago, Ms. Sorn recalled, children were not able to receive proper treatment and early learning because their parents did not recognize the importance of early education. A lack of preschool teachers was also a challenge.

In 2019, Ms. Sorn worked closely with the commune council and the village chief to address these problems, and hired volunteers with skills as preschool teachers. Unfortunately, this did not yield much improvement.  

“At that time, most parents in here did not care or send their small children to our preschools. I wanted to help these small children so that they could receive better early education but I did not know how to have their parents involved,” she stressed.   

Fortunately, Ms. Sorn noticed progress on these problems when Save the Children started to implement the Remote Early Learning project in her community in 2018 with funding from Save the Children Korea.

The project helps to train the teachers, school principal, parents, school management committees, and other community members on various topics, including school management, planning, and teaching methodology in a bid to improve the quality of children’s learning.   

Ms. Sorn became directly involved with the project, working with the Kirisantepheap and Deikrahorm preschools in a facilitating role, and conducting regular parenting meetings to raise the awareness on the benefits of early learning to prepare children to enter the first grade.  

Through the monthly meetings, Ms. Sorn has observed that most parents started to develop their understanding and increasingly sent their small children to the preschools. They even contributed their resources to rebuild school infrastructure and create a pleasant environment for the children.  

“I’m so glad to see that parents and other relevant people in my community actively participate in school activities,” she said excitedly. “Nowadays, most parents pay careful attention to their children’s learning either at home or at school.” 

Ms. Sorn is optimistic that the support from the project and the engagement of community leaders and local authorities have changed parents’ attitudes and will motivate them to send their small children to school. In addition, Ms. Sorn takes part in organizing and facilitating training for teachers to ensure that they are equipped to support the children.   

“I hope that all the small children in my community will have bright futures when they grow up and that they will help to develop our schools and our community,” she said.