Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future

by Foundation Phuket Has Been Good to Us
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future
Give 220 Disadvantaged Children a Brighter Future

In March 2022 the second Thai school term came to an end and the disadvantaged children studying on the Phuket Has Been Good To Us English Integrated Studies programme took their end of school year exams. Their teachers were delighted with the students’ results, showing their resilience after yet another difficult school year learning so many of their lessons online due to COVID. After a well-earned break, the new school year started in May 2022 and, after over two years of online teaching due to this pandemic, at last with COVID numbers decreasing, we were able to return to in-class learning.

In their first meeting with the students, their Phuket Has Been Good To Us Teachers discussed “essential classroom agreements”.  The students were involved in planning what their learning would look like for the coming school year. The teachers didn’t give rules but created them with the students.  The children understand why these guidelines are necessary and why everyone’s voice matters. They know in our classrooms, they are in a safe place where they are seen and heard. We know that children thrive and learn in safe environments. We are also helping to teach them at an early age that their presence, their thoughts, and their point of view matters. We exercise their right to ‘vote’ on how they want to succeed together and discuss the possible consequences of their actions. We teach them to think as a class and be accountable for their actions. After we set our agreements in each class we cut out a huge red heart and signed in the “heart of the class”, with each of the students setting their goals for this term. Part of our classroom agreement discussion is knowing what other available learning resources they have in the class, where they are, when, and how to access them, such as how to properly keep the books they borrow from our book corner.

As their English and Maths & Science in English classes started for the 2022/2023 academic year the students were ecstatic to learn something new with their classmates around them again at last. In our English classes these less privileged children will learn not only the Thai curriculum but we will also develop their communication and teamwork skills over the coming year. We are excited for all the learning moments ahead and are hugely grateful to our supporters around the world for making all of this possible for disadvantaged children in Kamala School.

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Since the second Thai school term started on 1st November 2021, the pandemic has unfortunately continued to impact the disadvantaged children’s lives in Kamala, Phuket. About 50% of the term school has been spent online learning only, leaving the children living in school isolated from their families and school friends. The Thai teachers at school have not introduced online learning and so Phuket Has Been Good To Us online classes are the only way the children are able to connect with the outside world and their classmates.  

At the beginning of term we studied online from 1st to 14th November. Following ATK tests for all students and teachers on 15th November, we were happily able to return to school for classes.

Thankfully, our first graders had the chance to step into the classroom. It is amazing how they are able to adapt to the changing times but also at the same time, heartbreaking because it is not what is supposed to be normal for them to experience at their age. For our little 7 year old Primary year 1 students we break large class into smaller groups to ensure more teacher-student contact time. Most of these children have not been to kindergarten because of the pandemic and so 2 to 3 years of learning has been taken away by the special learning circumstances. When we are in school, we try to give them back what they have missed. They are so excited, and very engaged in every simple question and answer activity.

For the younger Primary year students, we try to move around the school, sit in circles in outside spaces; if we can have more experiential learning, using the spaces for the little ones to explore and breathe as opposed to having them just seated in the class at least for reading group sessions to make up for the lost phase of their student life. Eventually they will have to also learn certain rules and routines like when sitting for an exam but there’s plenty of time to train them for that.

The younger children love to read books and ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ is their favourite. It does a wonderful job of teaching colors, animals and rhyme to the children. Easy-to-follow rhyming text captivates students’ attention and encourages them to wonder what they’ll see next!

For the older students it’s great to be in class so they can learn to socialize, work in groups and pairs. For Maths in English and Science in English classes in particular it helps the children experience hands on learning with blocks in mathematics and experimentation in science.

Unfortunately, over the new year period COVID numbers increased and we had to return to online teaching from 4th January onwards.

When our welcome, relaxing circle time at the beginning of class physically isn’t possible in online learning, we have introduced an ‘easy morning talk’. Whilst waiting for the other students to join in, we use the first 15 minutes of our time before the class to check in on our students and ask how they are feeling. Students are allowed to talk and express themselves freely, show things they are excited about with the group, such as a resident cat, and also ask how others are.

We are now entering the third year of teaching during this pandemic. We have been amazed by how quickly our primary year students grasped the essential IT skills needed to fulfill their tasks online. To keep on motivating them in achieving their goals, we keep on exploring and introducing new ways for the students to experience. Gamification of formative assessments through online live and self-paced competitions as well as use of simulations to understand scientific concepts have been introduced. The students love that they can continue learning at their own pace and have a personalized practice time on certain topics they need to work on. It also takes virtual socialization to a whole new level that they all feel very much still a class, a big family team, wherever they are learning.

Thank you to all our supporters for helping to make this possible for these disadvantaged children.

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Since the start of the new school year in June, due to COVID, we have not been able to have sports or cooking at the afterschool Coconut Club or host birthday parties or beach cleanups; the children have missed all these activities. Instead, in the afternoons, after class we set up at safe distanced tables outside in the fresh air, PHBGTU teachers and volunteers spent time with the children. It is a good chance for students to practice their English outside the classroom. In an informal setting we help the students with their homework. Our teachers show support and have positive interactions with the children. When students feel supported, they are more likely to trust their teacher, engage in the learning process and have better academic outcomes.

We want to be close to the students who have to live at school as, living away from their family for much of the year, they need positive role model, support, and someone they can trust. Our teachers believe it is crucial to build a rapport with the students and these relationships are more even important — and more challenging — than ever in uncertain times, like during this coronavirus pandemic.

In mid July Government schools were closed. Over 200 residential children remained living at school, where they are safe. However, they would be bored with nothing to do, so their PHBGTU teachers organized English Enrichment Classes. In the mornings we provide fun outdoor English sessions for small groups of students split according to their age. We set up fun engaging activities with a small number of children: between 5 and 10, in each group. This direct contact with their English teachers every day allows children to grasp and master their English skills faster.

With schools still closed, in August, as well as giving homework sheets, our teachers started Online Learning. This is important for the children living in the village who were missing interaction with their teachers and classmates and who could only revise topics, not learn new subjects. These are the first ever online classes for students attending Kamala School and we are hugely proud of the research and extra work our teachers have done to make them such a success. 

PHBGTU teachers are now teaching English, Mathematics in English and Science in English online lessons for Primary Year groups 1 to 6. Those students able to log on are excited to be learning with their teachers and classmates again. The teachers are thankful to be able to move on to new topics, explaining new concepts to the children and seeking their feedback.  After class the students send photos of their class and homework to their teacher via LINE groups.

Not all children living in Kamala village are able to join online classes. However, we are delighted to have seen an average of 68% of the village students logging in as their parents have, or are able to borrow, devices and wifi.  We are researching how many families need support to get online. Should online learning need to continue next term, we will put out a call in the wider community for second hand devices and lend them to students in need.

We will continue to do all we can to ensure the disruption of the children’s education due to COVID is as minimal as possible.

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Since the World Health Organization declared COVID a pandemic on 11 March 2020 unemployment and poverty has soared in Phuket. Kamala’s Government School offers a safe place for 230 children to stay, whether due to financial difficulties, a broken family or losing their parents.

In class, the children’s time is spent mainly on carefully planned, well-structured learning activities beneficial to their holistic development. While all organized systems genuinely help, the children also need their downtime where they can use their imaginations, choose their modes of ‘fun’, and at the same time, learn through different explorations through free play. That is where our after-school programme, Coconut Club comes in!

At Coconut Club, we set up safe spaces for the residential students to enjoy being who they are – children. They are given the freedom to relax. At our outdoor club they engage in healthy, physical activities through sports, skipping, hola-hoop, dance, twister etc.. They develop their problem-solving skills through puzzles and board games. Tap into their creativity through dress-up, making arts and crafts, and building designs with Lego. Our cooking and Bingo sessions boost their attention span without realizing them it.

Children learn through imitation and repetition. Giving them the opportunity to interact with their PHBGTU teachers and volunteers in Coconut Club enhances their confidence, speech abilities and vocabulary. Free play is also known to help minimize anxious feelings. This is especially valuable for the residential students when they first arrive at school and are still adjusting to their new environment. Their teachers help the children build trauma coping skills and integrate skills in solving conflicts through modelling and roleplay.

Coconut Club is also where we reach out to the children needing emotional and moral support. There are existing rules made with the children to ensure everyone benefits from Coconut Club. With these guidelines in place, the children are empowered to play in ways that feel right for them, as they feel validated with their identities, choices and decisions.

Thank you to all our supporters around the globe.  Your support means the world to us! With your help, we can continue to help the children living at Kamala School enjoy their childhood.

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Cooking at afterschool Coconut Club
Cooking at afterschool Coconut Club

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent tourists from traveling to Phuket more and more jobs are lost. Many families just can't afford to care for their children right now. Kamala School offers a safe place for children to stay, whether due to financial difficulties, a broken family or losing their parents.

Our after school programme, Coconut Club, is a fun place for these children to come to once school is over and their classmates have gone home to their families. The children have fun with cooking, games, crafts and sports. There is always something for the children to look forward to.

For the creative, there are arts & crafts projects and the opportunity to cook (and eat!) delicious snacks. To blow off steam after a day in the classroom the children can try skateboarding, badminton, basket-ball, skipping and much more. There are also quieter moments filled with board games, and the most popular - Bingo!

Due to COVID restrictions we are still not able to leave school grounds, but 80 Senior School students enjoyed a birthday party at school at the end of last year. The children chose between: basketball; a day at the fete games; T-shirt or Tote bag painting; jewerly making; K Pop and African dance! The children enjoyed party drinks, snacks and ice cream too so the children didn't feel they were missing out on a party by still being in school.

Although the students at Kamala School do not traditionally celebrate Christmas, they love to get into the festive spirit! At assembly on Christmas morning our team shared with the children that Christmas is the season of caring and giving.The Coconut Club Christmas party was great fun: we played musical chairs and pin the nose on Rudolf! Each child received yummy Christmas cookies.

We can’t thank our supporters all over the world enough for your support; it is only with your help, that we are able to continue to help children living at Kamala School enjoy their childhood and dream big for their future!

Giving second hand clothing to those in need
Giving second hand clothing to those in need
Coconut Club birthday party at school
Coconut Club birthday party at school
Coconut Club Christmas Party
Coconut Club Christmas Party
Playing Chess at Coconut Club
Playing Chess at Coconut Club
Making mini pencils in Coconut Art Club
Making mini pencils in Coconut Art Club
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Organization Information

Foundation Phuket Has Been Good to Us

Location: Kamala Kathu - Thailand
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PHBGTU
Project Leader:
Tina Hall
Thai registered Children's Education Charity
Kamala Kathu, Thailand
$813 raised of $5,000 goal
 
16 donations
$4,187 to go
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