This month, 14 new community kindergartens are being established in Kampot province in southern Cambodia. For the first time, these schools have been created and will be managed by the commune councils. Following the new law of deconcentration and decentralization, the communes have the responsibility to propose this pre-school education. Our role is to advise and accompany them in the management of this new prerogative.
Pre-schooling is still underdeveloped in Cambodia in general and in Kampot in particular and very young children under 5 years old remain in a very precarious situation, without access to rights and social services. These children are in urgent need of quality education and care adapted to the needs of the very young.
The challenge of this project is, thanks to our long experience with community kindergartens, to directly involve the communes and communities and to train them in the creation and management of their schools. This support was done in several stages:
- Workshops were conducted with community and council representatives to explain what their new jurisdictions entail and to allow them to express their needs for early childhood care and development services.
- A work plan was developed together.
- We have allocated funds to each commune to prepare the schools, purchase basic equipment and materials.
- Finally, we supported the province's early childhood department in recruiting and training community teachers. For three weeks, they prepared all the teaching materials they will use: a calendar, methods for discovering letters and numbers, rhymes and stories. They were also trained in pedagogy for three-six year olds, well-being, health and nutrition.
These 14 kindergartens provide a stimulating environment for 350 children in the community, conducive to their stimulation, development and good health. Family participation reduces the risk of child abuse and the sustainability of services is guaranteed by the involvement of local stakeholders.