Chanlina’s* favourite part of going to preschool is playtime. The 6-year-old loves playing with dolls and pretending to sell cakes and ice-creams to her friends. It might not sound remarkable that a child enjoys playing with friends but for Chanlina, this shows just how far she has come since starting preschool in November last year.
Preschool Teacher Kunthea explained that when Chanlina first started, she was shy, withdrawn and uncomfortable answering questions.
“She didn’t want to play with the other kids and didn’t like sharing toys.”
Chanlina was late to start preschool. Her parents left to find work in Thailand, taking her one-year-old brother with them while leaving Chanlina and her two older sisters to live with their aunty. They come back to visit their daughters from time to time.
Since a CCT Social Worker took on the family’s case, Chanlina goes to the CCT Preschool, while her sisters go to primary school and take part in supplementary education classes and activities at our Community Centre.
Being Chanlina’s first time attending a preschool, there was a lot to take in, but it wasn’t long before she began to show her bubbly and sweet-natured self.
“Now she knows how to share and play and she is a good communicator,” Kunthea said.
With her pink uniform on and her hair pulled up neatly, Chanlina said, “I like learning with my teachers, playing with my friends and eating breakfast and lunch at preschool.”
“I’ve made many new friends here.”
Right now, 22 underprivileged children benefit from early childhood education and healthy meals, at the CCT Preschool, giving older siblings and parents more time to pursue study or job opportunities.
Chanlina was one of four children to start at the preschool since the building was expanded to include an additional room, thanks to funding from Jacaranda Foundation. This funding also allowed CCT to hire two new teachers and an extra assistant. Previously, there was one morning teacher and one afternoon teacher, making it very difficult to manage so many kids. These changes had a huge impact on teaching effectiveness and learning outcomes, because they meant the children could be divided in two groups based on age, with the younger children (under 5) in one room and the older children (5 and 6) having more advanced classes in the other, better preparing them for primary school.
* Name changed to protect privacy.