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Introduction to Ximeng “Little Sun Preschool” Project

Source:Humana People to People ChinaDate:2015-12-07 00:00:00Click:2068

The Ximeng Wa Minority Autonomous County boarders Myanmar in the West and the majority of the population are from the Wa ethnic minority. The county is governed by Pu’er city. It is located in Southwest Yunnan. Ximeng County is a designated “National poverty county”. There are still 54,292 people with net income per capita of under 2300 yuan/year. This is 77.43% of the total farming population. In the poor counties of West China, the limited early childhood education input is mainly provided at the county capital and in the townships, there is basically no access at the village level. There is one year pre-primary education only in the central primary school. In average only about 1/3 of rural 3-5 year old children have the opportunities of receiving preschool education. In Yunnan, 800,000 of 2 million children lack preschool education. 

Huang Yicong Charity Foundation visited HPP Yunnan Zhenkang Preschool of the Future Project from March 11 to March 13, 2014. Both parties agreed to implement a Preschool of the Future Project Pu’er City of Yunnan Province together after the visit.

Project model

Little Sun Preschool of the Future Project aims to prevent poor children to become poor adults. It is a non-profit education project with its long term roots in the community. The purpose is to provide fair education platform for the poor minority children, bridge the gap of unfairness due to geographic location, eliminate differences of education between children in rich areas and poor areas and reduce poverty to be passed on from generations through early childhood education for the vulnerable children in impoverished areas.

The project also emphasizes children’s health and nutrition issues. It provides nutritional breakfast to children and helps to develop children’s good hygiene habits in the preschool. Project sustainability is to develop community capacity, including capacity building of local preschool teachers and villagers to participate in the community issues. The project liberates community women. It helps women who have preschool children and in the mean time work outside or in the field to have more time and energy to participate in income production activities for the family, so that poverty alleviation objective in poor minority community can be achieved.  

Preschool location: natural villages in the remote poor areas are selected as preschool sites, so that local children do not need to walk for a long distance before they can receive preschool education. In the long run, the preschool can also become a window for communication between the village and outside world.

Community oriented organization: parents’ committees participate in operation and key decisions of the preschools. On one hand, it is to ensure the project to be accepted by local people, on the other hand, it can help with developing parents’ capacity and community sustainability capacity.

Local teacher: preschool teacher is a local people recommended by parents’ committee. HPPC provide comprehensive trainings to them from knowledge to teaching methods. When the project completed, they will become community seeds spreading out in each community to facilitate community development.

Teaching methods: HPPC teachers’ training emphasizes on student oriented teaching methods. Not only traditional reading and writing is taught, students’ comprehensive capacity development is also emphasized from their personality, learning capacity to their interpersonal interaction.

Project sites: Wengake Town, Mengka Town, Ximeng County, Yunnan Province.

Direct beneficiaries: 540 3-6 year old local children, their parents and 20 local recruited teachers.

Project goal:

Break poverty cycle: help children to develop social interaction and recognition capacity; lead them to the healthy development road, create more opportunities for their future and ultimately prevent poor children to become poor adults; every child should form a good hygienic and living habits, they learn how to brush teeth, wash face and hands on their own; parent’s receive trainings about child care, nutrition and hygiene so that they could actively participate in study and growth of children; improve local preschool teachers and primary school teachers’ teaching capacity; reduce children’s malnutrition rate through providing nutritional breakfast every day; strengthen communication among parents, teachers and villagers through discussion meetings,performances and cleaning activities; assist with and facilitate comprehensive community development.

Project activities: 

1. Successful implementation of baseline survey
Because implementation of the project (including recommendation of teaching sites, evaluation of the venue, teachers’ training and teaching practice) needs support and coordination of local Bureau of Education, in late May and early June of 2015, project staff held a meeting with director and deputy director of Ximeng County Poverty Alleviation and Development Office. It was explained that the project work needed cooperation with Bureau of Education, which was understood and supported by the Poverty Alleviation and Development Office. The director then took the initiative to contact government leaders of Wengake Town. The office also reported the officially initiated baseline survey activities to county government, who approved its implementation. In addition, the project got approval and support from County Bureau of Education. It is a significant step for successful implementation of the project in the future.

On June 1-26, 2015, the project staff visited 8 villages of Wengake Town, 2 villages of Xinchang Town and 1 village of Mengka Town to know about student’s information, potential teachers, potential preschool location and held parents mobilization meetings. The meetings included introduction to HPP, Huang Yicong Foundation, project partners, project theory, conditions for opening preschool classes, procedures for opening classes, Preschool of the Future Project model, class scale, payment of teachers’ salaries and reasons, eligibility and training of teachers, children’s insurance and safety issues. The meetings also explained to the parents about payment of children’s lunch. Sustainability of the preschool classes was also emphasized. 

In late June, after confirmation of the 5 teaching sites, project staff visited the project again to confirm how well the preschools were repaired, how much money was needed, eg. for the kitchen and toilet facilities. Materials were procured in July. The classes were repaired and beautified then.

2. Successful implementation of teachers’ pre-post training
From July, project staff had started teachers’ interview in the villages which had confirmed to be the location of opening preschool classes. 5 preschool teachers and 1 teaching assistant were confirmed with recommendation from parents and village committees. On August 11 to August 28 of 2015 (18 days), the project provided pre-post training to these teachers. The training was conducted in Longling County PMO. Longling County Poverty Alleviation and Development Office Director Bi Hongan, Deputy DIrector Mr. Wang and Section Chief Kuang Jiashang were invited to participate in inception meeting of the trainings. Trainers included HPP YO preschool educator Xiao Yang, HPPC Ximeng County Preschool of the Future Project Manager Huang Min, and HPPC Longling County Preschool of the Future Project Manager Fu Jinfang. In addition, we invited Longling County kindergarten teacher Cun Na and Yang Qiurong to provide professional training. There were 9 teachers who participated in this training, including Chen Jie from Bannong Village, Wengake Town, Xinmeng County, Na Shou from Poyong of Banyue Village, Chen Nawo from Yingbulong of Longkan Village, Na Wei from Wulong of Yingla Village, Na Yong and Na Xiang from Banzhe Village of Mengka Town and three teachers Cun Jurong, Li Jinxian and Yang Yanmei from Longling project.

3. 5 Little Sun Preschool classes were successfully opened
Through 3 month hard work, with joint efforts of all parties, on September 9, 2015, class opening ceremonies of Bannong Preschool Class, Wulong Preschool Class of Wengake Town and Banzhe Preschool Class of Mengka Town were held. Secretary General Mrs. Su from Huang Yicong Foundation also participated in the opening ceremony for the three preschool classes. PMO also invited Deputy Director of Ximeng County Bureau of Education Chen Yanxiu, Preschool Education Section Director Xu Min, Major and Deputy Mayor of each town and township, heads of central primary schools, village committees and parents to participate in the ceremony. During the ceremony, school bags and stationery boxes were distributed to each student. Class plaque awarding ceremony was held in the mean time. Leaders also explained the importance of preschool education to children. On September 14, opening ceremony of Poyong Preschool Class was held. Banyue Village Committee was invited to attend the ceremony. Each student was provided with a school bag and stationary box. Plate awarding ceremony was held. On September 15, opening ceremony of Yingbulong preschool class was held. Village Committee was invited to attend the ceremony. Each students was provided with a school bag and stationary box. Class plate awarding ceremony was held. The importance of children’s nutrition was explained to the parents.

Preschool children washing faces and hands on their own after taking a nap.

4. health check for children
On October 28, the project worked with Ximeng Maternal and Child Healthcare Center to conduct health check for 84 children from the 5 preschool classes.

5. Donations from donors
In early November, all of the children of Ximeng “Little Sun Preschool Class” including the 5 classes Poyong, Bannong, Banzhe, Yingbulong and Wulong received at least one new clothing item.. These were from the generous donation of Huang Yicong Foundation. 120 children’s clothes in total were donated.
The joy and gratitude from receiving the clothes!

Teacher of Banzhe Preschool Class was teaching in the class.

Falling asleep

Children tidying up the classroom

Dancing together

It’s lunch time!

This project is supported by Huang Yicong Foundation