(24TH - 28TH October, 2005)




The training of early childhood facilitators was initiated by UWAS with the help of UNESCO in April 2005. A fact-finding team comprising Brenda Goh, UWAS' President, Esther Joosa, Programme Chair and Khoo Kim Choo, Project Leader, Cambodia. After several communications and a second meeting in August in Phnom Penh by Khoo Kim Choo with UNESCO and the Director of the Early Childhood Education Department, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the project to conduct the training of early childhood facilitators was confirmed.  It was organized by the Early Childhood Education Department, funded by UNESCO, Phnom Penh, for local expenses while UWAS and Lee Foundation sponsored three trainers, all members of UWAS, to conduct the training.


The trainers


The three trainers are experienced in the early childhood sector: Dr Lily Wong, Executive Director of Advent Link-SAUC, a training school for early childhood educators, Ms Esther Joosa, a early childhood trainer and Dr Khoo Kim Choo, international consultant on children and families and consultant/Chairman to the Sunbird Child Development Centre,

Esther                     Kim          Lily



The participants


35 participants from different districts of the Kompot province were selected by the Ministry to attend the training.  Only five were men. Except for a few who were Directors of district education department and senior officers from Phnom Penh, the majority were all community preschool facilitators. Their ages range from early twenties to fifties. Some had come from very remote areas, bringing with them their young children and at lest one brought her husband. A few were illiterate.


The training


The 35-hour workshop on Learning through Play equipped participants with basic knowledge and skills in working with preschool children. It was very much a hands-on, experiential workshop using games, songs, music and movement, art, other activities using low cost, recycled and indigenous resources interspersed with lecturettes. There were small group discussions, presentations, role-play and the making of toys and teaching aids. The focus was to introduce to participants the concept that it is possible to promote children's development and education using low cost, recycled and indigenous resources. Topics covered included child development, language development, mathematics and science, art, music and movement.  Participants worked hard and tried to complete their assignments after and before formal lesson start and end.



Participants showing off the animal puppets they made for story telling.


A participant demonstrating how she made a "car" from recycled material.



Art from nature. Participants learnt to make a mural of leaf printing. Leaves from different trees and bushes make lovely designs. Children learn about colours, shapes, patterns as well as counting and categorizing in the process. They learn how to work as a team to produce a beautiful piece of work.




Not enough teaching material?  Let your fingers do the talking! Participants learnt how to use finger-play for language development.






No storybooks? Make your own! Participants were taught how to write their own original stories for children.  Many illustrated their books beautifully.


One of the participants role-played a story-telling session with a self-made storybook.





An excellent experienced interpreter did a very good job in interpreting for the trainers and the participants. Because the participants could not speak English and as those who did, spoke very little, the interpreter was crucial to the success of the training.


On completion of the workshop, the participants each proudly received a certificate with the logos of the three agencies (MOE, UNESCO and UWAS) signed by their respective representatives.


Applying a science concept


How to create learning aids from rubbish?






"I go to the market to buy ?"- a vocabulary and memory game


Learning from movement.





The venue


Training took place in a large training room belonging to the Department of Education in Chhouk - a district of the province of Kompot.  Every morning, the trainers took an hour of bumpy ride from the town of Kompot where the trainers were staying to the training centre. Training facilities were very basic, surrounded by scenic padi fields, ponds with lotus. and water lilies and cattle and turkeys. One toilet served all - although some preferred to use the great outdoors. When it rained, (which was almost daily) the grounds got muddy.



Fellow travelers we met on the way to training every day


Training room at MOE department, Kompot


View from training room room.






At the end of the workshop, participants completed an evaluation form on the workshop and a representative from the Early Childhood Department presented the results to the group. All the participants found the workshop very useful and applicable. They felt the training was too short and asked for more training on the topics. Most did not find the sessions too difficult. They felt they now know how to use local resources and "trash" to make teaching and learning aids. They planned to return to their respective communities to share with others what they have learnt.


The trainers were satisfied with the participants. We found them very interested, eager to learn and participative in the sessions. We were well-treated and were served snacks and coconuts daily.




During the official opening and closing (the latter was done very informally with everyone sitting on the floor) the role of UWAS was clearly presented. We felt we have made an impression as representatives of UWAS in conducting this training. Participants, officials and UNESCO were all very happy with the process and the outcome.

From UNESCO:  "Thank you very much for your kind support in the training. Everyone was saying it was an excellent training and all of them were very very happy and had enjoyable learning in the training. Congratulations for the very successful training. I hope ECCD Department is preparing a report including all the steps, methods and the result of the training to be able to print"  K.C. Krishna. (Coordinator for the Learning through Play project).


Ultimately, the target of this training is to promote the development and early childhood education of young children living in remote, impoverished areas in and around Kompot. We also hope that the documentation of the process and products will enable more to benefit from this training.






Submitted by: Dr Khoo Kim Choo, Project Leader, Cambodia.