(KKOOM) Early education for Korean orphan toddlers

by Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission Vetted since 2010
HyungJun enjoying his new toy car from Christmas
HyungJun enjoying his new toy car from Christmas

When KKOOM’s Chief Administrator traveled to South Korea in December 2017 to plan our annual Christmas parties at Samsungwon Orphanage and Emmanuel Children’s Home, she was most excited to meet the children. Leading up to this trip, the only thing she knew about them were information submitted in applications by their house mothers and photos of the children. Since her winter 2017 travels was her first business trip to Korea as Chief Administrator, she highly anticipated spending quality time at the orphanages.

The week of the Christmas party for 54 children at Samsungwon Orphanage, Grace spent time playing with the children in their individual homes, including our preschool scholar, HyungJun. HyungJun is 19 months old and arrived at Samsungwon in July 2018, weighing about 5 pounds below the average weight of a one year old. He is now thriving in a positive environment.

He loves to shake, shake, shake as he dances to music beats. There was pure joy on his face as he moved up and down to the music, while simultaneously clapping (the boy has rhythm!) Being shy is a part of his personality trait. Typically the only people he allows to hold him is his house mom and the boys who live in the same home. By the second day at the orphanage, Grace was able to hold HyungJun; the staff and his house mom said it was a breakthrough to see him opening up to an unfamiliar face in such a short time.

Although he had a cold during Grace’s visit (it was peak season for the flu), he was in good spirits. He rested peacefully as his house mom held him. While he did shed some crying tears when he received his Christmas gift from Santa, we absolutely love the photo of him on his new toy car that was purchased by our Chief Administrator sponsoring his wish list item through her personal expenses.

HyungJun is dearly loved at Samsungwon Orphanage. The older boys in his home take care of him with strong responsibility, greeting him immediately as they came home from school and wanting to hold him.

Without you, KKOOM could not send HyungJun to preschool. Thank you very much for helping to enrich his life. You play a direct role in supporting his education. As he continues to be supported at the orphanage by staff, house moms, and the other children at Samsungwon, we are grateful you are investing in the lives of toddlers like HyungJun.

With gratitude, 

Grace Lee, Chief Administrator

HyungJun is loved at Samsungwon (youngest child).
HyungJun is loved at Samsungwon (youngest child).
HyungJun - Current preschool scholarship recipient
HyungJun - Current preschool scholarship recipient

The South Korean government does not provide funding for orphans to attend preschool until they are four years old. As Chief Administrator of KKOOM, I know firsthand why preschool education is a necessity, having taught three and four-year-olds last year at a private Christian academy in Georgia.

This educational gap created by not providing the opportunity for orphan toddlers to flourish in a learning and social environment can last a lifetime. It is more than just playtime, napping, and eating together. Life skills are built in preschool, from learning how to wash your hands, to going to the bathroom properly, to staying in line while behaving, and learning your ABCs and 123s. Teaching preschool was one of the most difficult things I have done in my professional experiences, yet also one of the most rewarding. Before my eyes in 180 days, I saw children blossom from being timid entering the classroom to being one of the most talkative asking questions during circle time. I watched a four year old articulately read dinosaur names without having to pause to sound out each syllable, doing a better job than I was capable at his age.

During the first four years of a child’s life, brain development is the highest. Children are like sponges and soak up their environment, so they are able to learn new information at a rapid rate. We must make early education a priority in global education to invest in the lives of every child.

KKOOM helps foster the skills a child needs to further advance in society and realize their dreams by providing access to preschool for young toddlers who would not otherwise be able to attend. Currently, because of changing enrollments at the orphanage homes in which we work, we are funding one child to attend preschool. HyungJun is 15 months old and he recently arrived to Samsungwon Orphanage in August 2017. The photo above shows how much HyungJun has grown since his arrival. We will continue doing our best to make others aware of this opportunity gap and find more opportunities for other toddler orphans to attend preschool in Korea.

We thank you for your strong support to continue educating the next generation. You are helping us invest in our future. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Grace Lee

 

Grace Lee

Chief Administrator

Email: grace.lee@kkoom.org | Cell: +1-678-237-8535

 Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission (KKOOM)

Improving the lives of Korean orphans through outreach and education

www.kkoom.org | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

J.S. enjoying summer activities
J.S. enjoying summer activities

       With the support of generous donors, KKOOM has sent 10 toddlers to preschool in Korea on scholarships. Since the Korean government does not provide funding for toddlers who live in orphanages to attend preschool until they are 4 years old, that is where KKOOM provides funds to narrow the educational gap. We believe in the power of an education, so we provide financial assistance for 2 and 3 year-old Korean orphans to attend preschool for the first time.

       By going to preschool, the three toddlers supported by KKOOM are learning fundamental life skills. They are following a routine, understanding how to interact and get along with others, while building their motor, cognitive, social, and academic skills.

       In our last report, we said we would have updates about J.S.’s first semester in preschool. J.S. is now 25 months old, and his house mother had wonderful updates to share about him. J.S. enjoys playing with car toys, particularly police cars. Eating healthy is not a problem for him as he enjoys eating fruits.

       During summer vacation, J.S. and his classmates went to an overnight water park, for the first time. Swimming and going to the water park is a favorite activity for many Korean children to participate during the hot, summer days. J.S. looks like he had a fun time splashing in the water from the attached photo.

       While he has become quite independent for a 2-year-old, he can be stubborn at times (don’t we all have a little stubbornness in us?). The way his house mother described this personality trait of his is “cute.”

       From the photos shared, J.S. seems to enjoy music too; we cannot get over how adorable the mini violin looks as he is playing it in the photo pictured in this report. Through the candid photos his teacher sent, there is a pure curiosity about the world around him, whether that is touching the nose of a local animal statue, or grabbing snacks with his friends.

       In our next report, we hope to share the cool things the 3 toddlers, J.S., S.H., and J.H. are learning in preschool. I invite you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about our Early Education Scholarships for Korean toddlers. From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you to our donors!

Links:

J.S.
J.S.

This spring, three Korean toddlers, who live at an orphanage in Gumi (about three hours south of Seoul), are able to attend preschool thanks to your individual financial support. The Korean government does not provide funding for toddlers who live in orphanages to go to preschool until they are 4, but curiously, the government does pay for non-orphans to go to preschool as soon as the parents are willing to send them. KKOOM first recognized this need gap several years ago, and since then we've been able to help 2 and 3 year-old Korean orphans go to preschool.

Two of the three toddlers attending preschool this semester with KKOOM's support are S.H. and J.H., whom we've written about previously. Their house mothers have reported that both are doing well, both at preschool and at home.

Starting in March, KKOOM sent our 10th toddler to preschool in Korea. J.S. is almost 2 years old and has been living at the orphanage since January (his family background is unknown to us at this time). His house mother at the orphanage says that J.S. seems timid at first but definitely makes his opinions known! He likes playing with balls, cars and his stuffed rabbit toy. He is a good eater, and especially likes apples. J.S. By going to preschool, J.S.'s house mother hopes that he can learn to get along well with his new classmate friends and have fun.

So far, it sounds like J.S. has been doing just that. Everyone at the preschool says that J.S. has been adjusting well and making new friends. His house mother said, "Thank you so much to KKOOM and all of KKOOM's supporters. Without you, J.S. wouldn't be able to go to preschool for 2 more years, and I don't know what we would have done."

In our next report, we'll let you know how J.S.'s first semester at preschool was and share with you any new developments about our preschool for Korean orphan toddlers program. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you!  Thank you so much for your generous support!

J.H., age 2
J.H., age 2

This fall we have two 2-year-old toddlers, J.H. and S.H., attending preschool with KKOOM's support. We asked their orphanage house mothers to tell us a little about them and comment on how going to preschool has had an impact on their lives. Here's what the house moms had to say:

"J.H. has a bright and charming personality. He is playful and generally healthy. He has a lot of curiosity, shows a few signs of greediness and is also surprisingly easily scared. Going to preschool has helped J.H. meet a lot of new friends his age, and he is no longer bored. He has been able to have a lot of new experiences and is also learning life skills and rules, which are helpful for his development. J.H. especially likes music and dancing. He is also a good eater and likes to copy what his older house brothers do, mimicing their actions. I'm very thankful to KKOOM's supporters for giving J.H. the opportunity to attend preschool."

"S.H. is introverted, but he is also bright and kind. S.H. was neglected prior to coming to our home, and unfortunately, he still shows signs of that abuse. However, attending preschool has helped him get better. For instance, S.H. had severe separation anxiety, but going to preschool has helped him get used to others and make friends with other toddlers his age.  He also suffered from a lack of affection prior to coming to our home, but attending preschool has helped him by receing a lot of attention from his teachers and other friends there. When he is with his other house brothers, S.H. is docile and likes to play. He especially likes looking at picture books with animals and foods. He also likes music and singing songs. I can honestly say that S.H. has improved quite a bit by the opportunity KKOOM has given him to go to preschool, and I think he will continue to do even better in the future. Thank you."

As you can see, your support is making a lasting impact on the these two children's lives by enabling them to attend preschool two years earlier than they would otherwise be able to go. We hope that you will consider continuing to support our work in the future so we can help even more toddlers gain access to early childhood educational opportunities.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions about our work. Thank you.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AIMEE J. JACHYM | Co-founder & President
(e) ajachym@kkoom.org | (skype/kakao) aimeeimnida
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
KOREAN KIDS AND ORPHANAGE OUTREACH MISSION (KKOOM)
Improving the lives of Korean orphans through outreach and education
P.O. Box 973, Portage, MI, USA 49081 | (us-tel) + 1-269-340-0430
S.H., age 2
S.H., age 2

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Organization Information

Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission

Location: Portage, MI - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.kkoom.org
Project Leader:
Aimee Jachym
President
Portage, MI United States

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