Meet Sreynath and Sophea, two 4-year-old kindergarten students at Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang. Both children have been enrolled in our kindergarten program for 2 years. We had a quick chat with them, and Sreynath’s mother, to find out if they are enjoying their time in our kindergarten.
Kindergarten at Phare
Kindergarten is not traditionally offered in government run public schools in Cambodia. However, early education is essential in childhood development. That is why the Phare campus offers space for 225 local children to attend our kindergarten every day.
For Sreynath, she loves “singing songs in English and learning English words.” While Sophea, who is a class leader, likes to “help the teacher during class, and leading songs.”
The major strength of the kindergarten program at Phare is the connection with the arts. All kindergarten students have art classes once a week. These classes give the kids a chance to play with painting, drawing, and arts & crafts; setting them up for healthy mental and emotional development.
A 2015 study recently showed that arts education significantly reduces stress in disadvantaged young children. By including art classes in our kindergarten curriculum, we bring a little extra joy into the lives of our students.
This showed when we chatted with Sreynath and Sophea about their kindergarten classes. Both the children love the extra art classes, and look forward to their Friday morning weekly drawing sessions.
For Sreynath, “my favorite things to draw are flowers, and pictures of people.” But for the little boy Sophea, his favorites are “flowers, and houses.”
Helping Our Community
For their parents, the benefits of kindergarten are obvious. We spoke with Sreynath’s mother, who told us that “kindergarten has changed Sreynath a lot. Now she has more discipline, is able to sit quietly and focus on her work. Also, she has better hygiene. She knows to clean her hands and take care of her clothes.”
In the rural villages around Battambang, many families still struggle with drug abuse, domestic violence, and low levels of education. For children of those families, going to school can be a struggle, especially when their parents do not support them.
The kindergarten at Phare is working against these social issues. Parents are invited to meetings with teachers on a regular basis, and are kept informed on the achievements of their children. Over time, parents learn to value education, and continue to push their children to come to Phare.
For Sreynath’s mother, the benefits of Phare are obvious.
“Phare gives so many different options to the children. They can take classes in art skills that are not offered anywhere else in Battambang. I only hope that Phare can continue to offer these program, and keep helping the poor families of this community.”
Do you want to make sure children like Sreynath and Sophea can continue to receive top quality artistic education? Make a donation today and give the gift of the arts to the next generation of Cambodian youth.