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11 June 2024 - News


Preschool education, playing a crucial role in children's cognitive abilities, has provided a structured environment for children like Someas, a 6-year-old who transitioned from being a shy boy to a courageous student, fostering interaction with peers and adults.

Someas attended Stung Chrov ​Community Preschool in Kampong Preah, Koki Commune, Baribour District, Kampong Chhnang Province, in 2020 when he was three. “He was a timid and insecure child who avoided social interactions in his classroom,” said his teacher, Ms. Lon Channita, 25 years old, “Someas was little back then. He was scared to interact with other kids. In class, he did not talk much.”

Ms. Channita, who initially served as a volunteer preschool teacher in 2016 at the Stung Chrov Community Preschool, witnessed its development. The preschool, comprising two classrooms funded by Save the Children and the Kampong Koki Commune Council in 2016, met formal standard requirements and was officially registered at the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport in 2020. In the 2020-2021 academic year, Ms. Channita transitioned from a volunteer to a formal preschool teacher.

Ms. Channita said the preschool lacked a variety of curriculum, engagement, interactive learning, and plans that match the diverse learning styles of young children and the study materials. As a result, children failed to show up in classes fully. However, the situation changed when the Generating Resilient Environments and Promoting Socio-economic Development of the East Tonle Sap Lake (GREEN) project was introduced in early 2021. The project is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF).

The GREEN project has collaborated with the local authorities, including the Provincial Department and District Offices of Education, Youth, and Sport, to provide technical training, including effective communication and implementation of educational programs, as well as management of time and materials to preschool teachers. The aim is to strengthen their teaching techniques and help them adhere to the standard curriculum. The project also closely monitors monthly activities and encourages community participation. In addition, it helps in testing and preparing teaching plans, promoting safety and hygiene, and establishing parenting groups. The project also joins relevant stakeholders to support home visits and offer additional education.

As part of the project support, Ms. Channita explained how she and her colleagues help their students learn effectively through daily lesson planning, group discussions, and providing materials for home activities. She also tries to understand the family circumstances of her students to provide necessary support and fill any learning gaps that may exist.

“We also employ a three-stage testing process using the same questionnaires to track progress using the same questionnaires. After each stage, we review what students need and create plans to strengthen their understanding for the next phase. This simple approach ensures that every student gets the support they require for a successful learning journey,” she said, noting Someas became more engaged, and as a result, his grades improved gradually.

In the 2022-2023 academic year, the GREEN project collaborated with education officials in Baribour District to carry out the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) for preschool students. Surprisingly, out of 35 Stung Chrov Community Preschool students, Someas ranked first.

“When I grow up, my goal is to become a police officer. I want to participate in protecting the security of the village and the people I live with. Especially, I want to strengthen the protection of children and encourage them to attend school,” Someas said.

Mr. Pop Kimsreang, 38 years old, Someas’s father and a fisherman, became a member of a parenting group in 2022 and has been attending monthly meetings to learn about positive parenting. This has helped him and his wife better understand how to educate their two children, and they now spend more time accompanying their son while he learns at home.

“The parenting group allows us to learn from each other and share knowledge. I didn’t study much when I was younger, but I’m happy to spend time with my son learning,” he said.

Mr. Kimsreang is grateful for the support provided by the European Union and the Norton Rose Fulbright under the GREEN project. He hopes that Someas, who is now studying in grade 1, will become a good citizen, a pillar of the nation where he can achieve his goal of becoming a police officer to protect the country and ensure the community's best interests.

Interviewed by: Seang Sokhom, GREEN ECCD project officer

Written by: Taing Vida, Communications and Campaign Manager

Photographed by: Yous Ratha, Communications Officer

Review by:​ Chin Kethya, Donor Reporting Specialist