(KKOOM) Early education for Korean orphan toddlers

by Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission
JY has many cute and curious faces!
JY has many cute and curious faces!

In the fall of 2011, we discovered that toddlers ages 2 and 3 (international age) living in Korean orphanages are unable to attend preschool because the government does not provide funding until the children turn 4. With the help of a local preschool in Gumi, we began sending 2 and 3 year olds to preschool at a discounted tuition rate. To date, we've been able to send 7 children to preschool two years earlier than they would otherwise be able to attend without KKOOM fund.

The most recent KKOOM preschool child is JY. He arrived at Samsungwon when he was about 2 months old. He was abandoned on the steps of a nearby hospital and is one of the few "true orphans" at Samsungwon. At first he was very malnourished, but once he began eating regularly and growing healthily, his house mom at Samsungwon discovered that he was quite an active little baby with a lot of curiosity.

Previously, we sent children to preschool beginning at 24 months, but given JY's rapid development, we decided to send him to preschool at 20 months this March. We were a little worried about how he would adjust, but he was very excited to ride in the preschool van with the other older children from the orphanage when it came to pick him on the first day. Ever since then, he has enjoyed riding in the van.

As a result of attending preschool, JY has learned the names of animals, types of cars, and other common items. He's also good at putting together blocks, like Duplos. At preschool, JY also has the opportunity to meet other toddlers his age and learn how to play together.

If JY did not have the opportunity to go to preschool, he would spend the weekdays at home with the Samsungwon staff and would not get to interact with others his age. His house mother predicts that JY would not know nearly as many words and would be behind others his age when the time finally came for him to go to school. After seeing JY and others to go to preschool with KKOOM's support, JY's house mother says she can't imagine how bored JY would be if he had to stay at home all day.

Starting next month, in January 2016, we will send another 20-month-old toddler to preschool. We look forward to sharing more information about him in our next update. 

As always, thank you for your support to KKOOM through GlobalGiving. We appreciate not only your financial gifts, but also your encouragement and participation in our work. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Happy New Year!

Aimee

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
JY is now 28 months old.
JY is now 28 months old.
Minho, US age 4, August 2015
Minho, US age 4, August 2015

Minho is a Korean orphan who was born with special needs. He has very small kidneys, which doctors think is the reason he has developed very slowly. He started walking after he was 2 years old, and now 4, he is still not talking. 

Minho attends preschool with other special needs kids 5 days a week, and he is now old enough to receive the government subsidy, which pays for his preschool. 

Thanks to your support, however, KKOOM has been sending Minho to extra physical therapy sessions on a regular basis for the last 2 years. These extra sessions help Minho build strength, control and confidence in his body.

On a recent visit with Minho in Daegu, he showed a lot of curiosity toward a few small dogs in the park and was generally happy to be outside. He was even happier when we took him to eat one of his favorite foods, bulgogi (marinated Korean beef), at a nearby restaurant. 

Jinyoung is a 2-year-old Korean orphan who was abandoned on the steps of a small hospital when he was just a few months old. From the beginning, he was a very active and healthy baby, and he is doing very well in preschool. As we reported last time, Jinyoung started preschool in March 2015, and he adjusted to the new environment without issue. He now attends preschool for a full day with the older children at the orphanage.

KKOOM's support makes it possible for Korean orphan toddlers like Jinyoung to start preschool before the government subsidy becomes available to them at age 4. Hence, your support of KKOOM is what makes it possible for Jinyoung to develop the basic social and academic skills he needs to succeed later in preschool and elementary school. 

This summer, Jinyoung visited a water park with the other children in his orphanage, and he had a great time, as you can see in a few of the photo collage pictures. He was actually very upset when he was told it was time to get out of the water! He is definitely a strong (and strong willed) (not so) little guy. I predict that he will be quite athletic as he grows up!


We certainly couldn't do this without your support, so thank you, thank you, thank you for your interest in and support of our toddler education program. If you ever have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Best regards,
Aimee

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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
Jinyoung, US age 2, August 2015
Jinyoung, US age 2, August 2015
Minho, US age 4, August 2015 (collage)
Minho, US age 4, August 2015 (collage)

Links:

Jinyoung and his house mom
Jinyoung and his house mom

Thanks to your help, our newest toddler has started preschool this March, and he is doing very well! Jinyoung is just 19 months old, but he is a quick walker (runner) and has a huge appetite. We were worried that the preschool would ask us for additional money to support his lunch expenses -- but so far, they've just laughed it off. :-D

At first, the staff members at both the orphanage and the preschool were a little worried about his adjustment because of his young age. They decided to start him off on half days for the first month to let him get used to preschool. After the first week, everyone -- including Jinyoung himself -- had determined that he was well adjusted, playing with the older kids and following along to the teacher's instruction.

Jinyoung's house mom (pictured with Jinyoung on his first day of preschool) says, "I am so thankful to KKOOM for their support and for sending Jinyoung to preschool. He is a very curious and smart little guy, and I have huge hopes for him to do well. He'll get to experience so many new things in preschool that he wouldn't be able to do at (the orphanage) home."  When asked about his strengths, Jinyoung's house mom says that he has good motor skills. He likes to stack blocks and play (or pound on, as the case may be) the piano; he also seems to have an interest in soccer, kicking and chasing after the ball with great enthusiasm. 

If KKOOM did not send Jinyoung to preschool, Jinyoung would probably be bored at the orphanage home without proper education or stimulation.  Volunteers might come in to play with him one-on-one or teach him at the home, but he would not be surrounded by other children his age. This is because all of the 4 year olds and up go to preschool and regular schools, so he would be left, essentially, home alone with his house mom. Houses parents at orphanages are not generally trained in early childhood education, rather having degrees in children's social welfare, so it is especially important that toddlers like Jinyoung get to go to preschool like the rest of Korean children their age.

Hence, we're glad to be able to give Jinyoung and his energy a new outlet by being able to send him to preschool with your support. We are sure that he is building a solid foundation for his future educational success.

As always, if you have any questions about our work, please feel free to contact me personally. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you again sincerely for your help.

Best regards,

Aimee

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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
Jinyoung enjoys dinner
Jinyoung enjoys dinner

Links:

Jisu (3) has been in preschool for 2 years
Jisu (3) has been in preschool for 2 years

Many of you know that we've been able to send Korean orphan toddlers to preschool starting in the year they turn 24 months old, which is when most Korean children begin. The Korean government, however, only pays for toddlers living in orphanage homes to go when they turn 4, which is 2 years later than all of the other kids. Common sense tells us (and our intuition has been verified by our child development expert friends and volumes of unrelated studies) that the earlier children get access to education, the better off they are in the future.

We started this program about 3 years ago, and so far, we've been able to send 6 (18-month-old to 3-year-old) toddlers to preschool. Through a partnership with a local Gumi preschool, we're able to get a 50% discounted tuition rate, and it costs us about $200 per month per child for all-day preschool (8:30 am - 3:30 pm).

One of first 6 children is starting 1st grade next year in March, when the Korean school year begins. He's already shown early signs of learning disabilities, so he's also been able to receive extra help learning to read and write his alphabet. We'd like to think that, by helping go to preschool earlier than he would've otherwise been able to, some of his learning challenges may have been detected early as well.

Right now, there are two children in Gumi, South Korea attending preschool with KKOOM's support. Jisu and Suzy are both doing very well in their respective classes. Jisu, however, doesn't really like strangers. Recently, he asked his house mom to call the preschool and ask Santa not to come the next day! Santa was due to make an appearance to pass out presents. When asked if he didn't want to receive a present then, he said, "Yes, I don't want a present. Just don't let Santa come!" Suzy, on the other hand, is outgoing and likes interacting with others. She even let an international volunteer paint her face at the Christmas party last Saturday!

KKOOM also supports one toddler living in a special needs orphanage home in Daegu, South Korea and helps him receive special therapy. Minho was born with renal dysplasia (small kidneys) and has experienced stunted development. For 2.5 years, Minho lived at Samsungwon in Gumi and then was transferred to the home in Daegu earlier this year, because the Daegu facility is better equipped to support his special needs. KKOOM's financial aid helps Minho receive one-on-one sessions with occupational and educational therapists to help him on his way.

Next year, Jinyoung, now 16 months old, will start preschool in Gumi in March. He's an active little guy, and when the preschool van comes to pick up his older brothers and sisters every day, he goes out to watch. Sometimes he tries to climb in with everyone else. Soon it will be his turn too.

To ensure the long-term sustainability and success of this program, and so we can help even more Korean orphan toddlers go to preschool, please consider an additional year-end gift to support this program. Thank you for all of your generous support to-date!

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and prosperous New Year!

Aimee

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
Suzy(2) has been in preschool this year.
Suzy(2) has been in preschool this year.
Minho (3) extra therapy help.
Minho (3) extra therapy help.
Jinyoung (16 mos) will go to preschool in March.
Jinyoung (16 mos) will go to preschool in March.
NJS
NJS

This year, KKOOM is able to send four Korean orphan toddlers, ages 2 and 3, to early education preschool thanks to your help. The Korean government provides funding for orphans to attend preschool starting at age 4, but most regular Korean families send their children to preschool starting at age 2. Korean orphans who don't get to attend preschool from an early age are left at a social and educational disadvantage when they join their peers in the classroom later in life.

The teachers of the four toddlers, pictured herein, say that they are making good progress, on par with their fellow classmates. Suzy and NJS have shown themselves to be exceptionally bright and really enjoy learning.

In addition to preschool, JSH is also receiving individual speech therapy after school so he can improve his speaking skills. The children's home mother who is raising him believes that he is developmentally delayed due to the lack of parenting he experienced in the first 2 years of his life (he came to the children's home last year).

Minho, who we've written about in another progress report, is also doing well. Due to developmental deficiencies and other special needs, Minho was moved from the children's home in Gumi to a nearby home for children with special needs. There, he is receiving individual physical therapy in addition to early access to education.

As always, KKOOM sincerely appreciates your support, and if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Very truly yours,

Aimee

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
Suzy
Suzy
JSH
JSH
Minho
Minho

Links:

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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