Recognizing the importance of early childhood development, Plan International Cambodia (PIC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, has implemented a comprehensive community preschool initiative.

This partnership, spanning over a decade, has resulted in the establishment of more than 340 preschools across four provinces. These early learning centers cater to approximately 7,000 young children annually, providing them with a strong foundation for future academic success.

A Focus on Holistic Development:

PIC’s Deputy Director, Yi Kim Than, underscores the program’s emphasis on two key aspects:

  • Child education: Preschools employ age-appropriate activities and a structured curriculum to stimulate cognitive development, foster social skills, and equip children with basic literacy and numeracy skills. These activities range from playful exploration to focused learning sessions, all designed to prepare children for formal education.
  • Parental education: Recognizing the vital role of family in early childhood development, the program also involves parents through workshops and community engagements. This empowers families to nurture their children’s learning and growth at home, creating a supportive environment for continued development.

Preparing for Future Success:

Than further highlights the significant impact of preschools on children’s future academic journeys. By providing a strong foundation in essential skills like communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking, children are better equipped to handle the demands of primary school and beyond. Importantly, the program also helps bridge the gap for children from underprivileged backgrounds, reducing disparities in early learning opportunities.

Raising the Bar:

To ensure program effectiveness and continuous improvement, the MoE recently introduced guidelines for “model kindergartens.” These guidelines encompass five key areas:

  • Student outcomes: Focus on measurable learning achievements and holistic development of children.
  • Teaching methods: Encourage innovative and engaging pedagogies that cater to diverse learning styles.
  • Community engagement: Promote active participation of parents and communities in school activities and decision-making.
  • School operations: Establish efficient management systems and ensure adequate resources for optimal learning environments.
  • Teacher training: Provide ongoing professional development and support for teachers to enhance their skills and knowledge.

The collaborative efforts of PIC and MoE have undoubtedly made a significant contribution to early childhood education in Cambodia. By prioritizing both child and parental education, the program lays a strong foundation for future academic success and equips children with the skills and knowledge to reach their full potential. As the program continues to evolve and incorporate best practices, it demonstrates the power of dedicated partnerships in building a brighter future for Cambodian children.

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