Tuk Tuk Theatre has always been about kids. The excited running and laughter as we arrive, the fun games we play and of course the chance to sit down and watch a movie at the end chowing down on a piece of fruit. We are about giving the kids of Cambodia back their childhood. With all of the support that we have received and some additional volunteers helping out, we are now able to expand our operations in 2016 to a much needed area that is under resourced.
“Primary school teachers have told us that they notice a big difference between kids that have attended preschool…. (and those that haven’t)” Siep, an employee at a local NGO working with some preschools explains. “The students from preschool settle into primary school much easier and already have basic skills which gives them a big advantage”
Up to 80% of kids in Cambodia don’t have the opportunity to go to preschool and a lot of the preschools that are available in rural areas are underfunded, often don’t have qualified teachers and next to no teaching materials. We have taken on the task of working with 8 preschools in the Pursat district to help with curriculum, resources and teacher training. Incidentally, 3 of these preschools are in villages where TTT currently runs.
So what is our plan?
Well first I would like to introduce a new volunteer on the seen. Robert McCurdy, aka Mr McCurdy, was my primary school teacher when I was young almost 100 years ago. He was a teacher right up until about 5 years ago when he retired after being a principal for the past 8 years of his career. It only took me 3 months to convince him that he needed to be in Cambodia and he needed to work with me on a new project.
Working with his contacts in education in Victoria, Australia, Rob gathered information on the Victorian Curriculum and began modifying it to suit Cambodia. What he came up with was a first round of testing that we do with the kids to see what their levels currently are and where we can perhaps help with teaching aids and other resources. Its important to note that the “testing” is not a pass or fail but just a gauge so that we know where to start. Well so far we have done 2 preschools and still have another 6 to go. Rob will explain in more detail in an upcoming blog post about what we are trying to achieve and how.
With adding the preschools into the mix, Tuk Tuk Theatre is now a full time job. We are out in the preschools Monday to Friday in the mornings and in the afternoons 3 times a week we are still doing the Tuk Tuk Theatre runs. There is swimming lessons on Sundays and the odd ferry of kids for soccer games (Football for you europeans) as well as other odd tasks that pop up on a weekly basis. As always a big thanks to all of our volunteers and supporters that have helped make this project successful.
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