Supporting at-home learning increases children’s education
Chhaypich smiles at us as he reads a book with his mother under his small zinc-roofed wooden house, located in the remote village of Daun Neak in Veal Veang district of Pursat Province. He tells us that he still gets excited to learn at home with his mother, even though his school is closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I love reading picture books with my mother,” said Chhaypich “My mother always helps explain words by pointing at and describing [objects] around the house.”
Chhaypich, 5 years old, is an only child of a poor family – his parents earn a total of 8.75 US dollars a day by harvesting cassava and from his father working in construction to further support the family.
Chhaypich used to not talk and play with other children when he first started school at the age of 4. He could not understand what his teacher wanted him to do, especially when it came to numbers and counting, which made his mother worried about her son’s future. As his parents have limited knowledge, they could not teach him at home.
In 2018, Save the Children started implementing the Remote Early Learning project in Chhaypich’s community. In close collaboration with local authorities and the community, the project began establishing parenting groups to help parents send their children to school and share knowledge on how to help their children with their studies at home. Chhaypich’s mother was invited to join the group, where she has learned a great deal of knowledge on how to stimulate learning with Chhaypich at home.
Ms. Sameth, Chhaypich’s mother, often brings him to join parenting meetings where he quickly progressed through his learning process and even started to understand basic numbers by learning how to count vegetables and fruits. Chhaypich also practices counting with spoons, plates, and bowls during mealtimes at home.
Ms. Mean Sameth also spends time teaching her son how to read with books, and can see how happy and helpful her son has become through increasing learning at home. “I feel happy with the changes I see in my son who now is very active and brave,” Ms. Sameth stated. “Chhaypich helps with house chores every day such as sweeping the house, and preparing and counting plates and spoons before mealtimes and after eating.”
Chhaypich also shares his learned knowledge with other children in the community. They always come to his house seeking support from him in counting numbers using vegetables and fruits. “I can count the number as my mother teaches me at home every day,” Chhaypich said.
During story times, Chhaypich asks his mother about returning to school because he misses his friends and teachers. However, he is happy to learn with his mother at home too because he has more time with her.
Holding a book in one hand, Chhaypich proudly exclaims: “I want to become a teacher when I grow up.”