English programs in the primary schools are not part of the public school curriculum, but English is mandatory through all 6 years of secondary school.
PLF sets up extra curricular English classes at the primary schools so that students can get an early start to learning English, a language incredibly important in business and tourism sectors in Cambodia as well as being necessary for higher education. The PLF pays teacher’s salaries for these classes as well as provides English instruction books.
The PLF supports libraries at each of our schools stocked with plenty of Khmer books as well as some Khmer to English books so that students can practice their reading in both languages. PLF buys all of the books and pays a librarian as well as provides games such as chess, legos, and puzzles so that students can engage their minds with not only books but stimulating games. Libraries also provide the youngest students a place to grow their interest in learning.
In light of new data supporting the connection between early childhood development and entrepreneurial capacity later in life, the PLF has become more focused on the addition of creative activities to the enrichment program.
PLF needs to keep simple art supplies like paper, crayons, colored pencils, paint and paintbrushes and various other craft supplies accessible to students who want a change from their rote learning and want to stimulate their minds in a more creative way. Supporting the Art Project means we can keep a good stock on these treasured items.
Primary school students do not have access to sports teams and usually play sports and games with each other in their villages, if at all. PLF provides uniforms to formed teams, as well as equipment such as soccer (football) balls, volleyballs, baseball bats and balls, etc. in order for students to be exposed to team sports and release some of the energy that comes along with being a kid!
Each of our schools has a large vegetable garden and during the right seasons, they contribute heavily to the vegetables for student meals. PLF provides seeds, hoes, shovels, and watering cans for these gardens to which the students tend as part of a larger “Lifeskills Training” project.
Cambodian public schools are not equipped with science labs or hands-on science learning. We recently launched our first science program at Knar School for students studying in Grade 6. Our curriculum mirrors the government curriculum but expands topics in biomes, physical science, and human anatomy and includes a host of interactive experiments. In an effort to move away from learning science by ROTE, this program helps students work towards a broader scientific understanding and encourages critical thinking and problem solving.
Music programs at Cambodian public schools are equally sparse, so we began Ukulele classes for 40 students at Tchey and Knar schools. Our students are learning Khmer traditional and western songs, exploring their talents and finding their musical groove. This program brings another important creative element into our students’ education and allows them to share their music with the community by performing at PLF events.