As a visiting volunteer with a background in Education I have spent some time in the past week meeting with the Principals and staff of BBC and SC. One of the recurring topics was the need to establish relevant working curriculum models in the schools. As a beginning point we have looked at the entry level of students and particularly how they are emerging from the pre school environment. It is important that the curriculum reflects relevant educational needs and is informed by the data that can be collected from the classrooms.
With this in mind, and as a starting point, we have studied a model that is used in Australian kindergartens and pre schools and adapted it to make it relevant to Cambodia and particularly the pre schools of Pursat. This model outlines reasonable expectations in the cognitive, physical, language, social and emotional areas of a child’s development. By applying this as a form of assessment we hope to identify individual needs as well as use it as a diagnostic tool to promote a strengthening of the curriculum that is being delivered.
What this means at the grass roots level is that we will assess 4-5 year old children in the pre schools using items such as;
- Speaking and communicating,
- physical skills like;
- climbing, balancing and running,
- toileting, dressing and feeding themselves,
- use of English words,
- interaction with adults and other students,
- basic skills in manipulating writing and other tools.
Initial testing has begun and will continue in the SC and BBC funded pre schools in the coming weeks. Once completed, the assessment information will be collated and both individual and whole school programs will be designed then taken back to the schools for discussion with the teachers. Where required we will also attempt to provide additional materials and resources to promote better opportunities to meet the desired curriculum goals.
Further testing will be done at regular intervals during the year ahead and it is hoped that this program will expand into the Primary Schools as it becomes established and further refined.
Teachers in the schools are working hard and the students are happy and responsive. Many support groups across the world are ensuring that buildings and resources are being maintained and expanded. The volunteers I have encountered are tireless in their efforts to ensure that the children are provided with every educational opportunity. It is a pleasure to be part of that.