Saturday, July 26, 2014

Community preschool improves transition to primary school for Ut Voy

By Rowena Campbell

8 year old Ut Vov attends primary school in Beng Primary Sschool, rural Prey Veng province, about 90 km East of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Ut is now in grade 2 at primary school, two years after leaving Beng Community Pre School. Ut joined the pre-school when he was 4 years old. Despite battling autism, he learnt to play with other children, draw, and recognize the alphabet under the influence of his teacher, Ms. Sokhom.

©UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Rowena Campbell
8 year old Ut Vov now attends primary school after the dedicated teaching and support of the Community Pre School teacher

‘When he came to my preschool I was often by his side using nice, encouraging words to motivate him, comfort him and engage him. He made real progress the two years he was here. I showed sincere affection so he learnt to trust me and play with me,’ says Ms. Sokhom. When he’s with his teachers he can recognize the alphabet and some numbers. ‘Sometimes I go and see him in his home to see how he is doing at primary school and see what he can remember.’

His mum, 40 year old Srey Soth grows rice and vegetables to support the family. She is proud that her son is at primary school and knows that he wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the preparation and support from the pre-school and his teacher. ‘I’m happy that Ut is at school. It’s difficult for him but he is making some progress. Since going to school he enjoys drawing pictures of school and flowers,’ says Soth.

‘I like going to school, I want to be like my teacher,’ says Ut.

The dedicated, passionate work of Ms. Sokhom and the engaging environment of the Community Preschool, made possible by UNICEF and IKEA, has given Ut and hundreds of other children the best possible start in life.

©UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Rowena Campbell
8 year old Ut Vov with his mother Srey Soth

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