At the end of this past August, the pre-school project just began it’s second term. Seeing the school back in action and how attached all the volunteers have become to the children, reminds me of the commitment we have made to this community.
Since then I’ve spent time visiting the homes of the children and discussing with community leaders about ways we can continue to improve the lives of the children in the area.
I’ve also been brainstorming with a rockstar team of volunteers to put together a plan, budget, and ambitious goals to take our volunteer pre-school project into next year.
Our hope is to expand our teaching to three days a week, enhance our classroom’s teaching tools, and develop our play area into a safer space for all our bouncing children.
We want to extend the pre-school into next year, but will need help to make it happen.
If you know of a company, social group, or religious organization interested to partner with us in 2014, please share the information about our project below.
If you’re unfamiliar about the project or curious to know in detail what we’re doing, have a look below and remember you can email questions or ideas for partnership at dwight (at) insearchofsanuk.com.
What is this all about?
In Search of Sanuk is currently running a twice weekly pre-school class to children in a poor, migrant community in Bangkok. The pre-school program focuses on stimulation and fun, while teaching basic English and math skills. We need help to continue the program into 2014.
Who would do such a thing?
Crazy, I know. But believe it or not, there’s a growing number of people in the city wanting to invest back into less fortunate communities and providing educational opportunities to kids who wouldn’t be able to study otherwise is a great way to do that. Since our project is nearly entirely volunteer run, our operating costs are low and focused on benefiting the community where the school is based.
What do you expect to accomplish?
I’ll tell you what I already see happening.
Children aged 3-6 years who are currently ineligible or unable to afford to attend school come to study with foreign volunteers who commit to teach a few days a month each term. The volunteers engage students intellectually and with constructive play times, preparing them for successful integration into schools when they become of age. The children who have no previous classroom experience build confidence and become oriented to learning, playing, and behaving in a classroom. This is super important because students who adapt by learning to study well in school, have the best chance to use their education to improve their family’s quality of life and that of the larger community.
What are the side effects?
There’s a few because the school is affects adults in the community too. So far, the school has worked to build a bridge with this at-risk community, where the members themselves have identified education as a key priority. As our rapport with the community grows we have gotten feedback from parents on their satisfaction with the school, how it was being conducted and asked for areas for improvement.
Each class also includes a snack and a hearty lunch. This is no small detail because the lunch is prepared by women in the community. This not only provides purpose to the women who are helping out, but some small wage for their time. Finally, the school provides a platform where volunteers can identify students who have learning disabilities, special health needs (most commonly malnutrition), or are suffering from mental anguish (PTSD, depression, etc…).
Unfortunately, not enough people. This community is severely underserved not only in terms of educational opportunities, but also access to healthcare and job opportunities are limited. Those who have been involved with the school have helped us to make a big impact in a short amount of time. This includes volunteer teachers, specializing in early years education, who work to develop the school’s educational programming. They are well equipped to create stimulating and useful lesson plans and provide advice on special needs children. Our other volunteers include people with teaching experience, Montessori training and one is an experienced speech therapist.