Tam’s day starts at 4:45am. She gets up early because she needs to leave for school at 6:30 and she has a lot to do before she leaves. Tam is vice principal of the Tong Bat Preschool where she has taught since 1993.
Tam lives in a semi-rural community in Ba Vi District about 1 1/2 hours northwest of the Hanoi city center in Vietnam. Most (90%) of her community make their living from farming. Though Tam has a good job as a preschool teacher, the salary doesn’t fully support her family so she raises animals to supplement their income.
In 2008, the leaders of her community met with YWAM Mercy Vietnam staff to identify needs in her community. During the assessment they discovered the need to develop the community the preschool program by both training the staff and upgrading the facilities.
The assessment revealed preschool teachers in the area lacked training in different teaching methods and didn’t know how to make toys or activities that were educational for the children. Attending preschool is required in Vietnam and children must attend preschool before they are allowed to move into primary school.
Later that year, Tam and all the teachers at Tam’s school were enrolled in the first Early Childhood Development class organized by YWAM Mercy Vietnam. Tam and the other teachers were excited to learn how to teach the children more effectively and better manage the classroom. Since 2008, they have attended many follow-up training sessions.
The ECD training gave Tam the tools to excel as a teacher and caregiver for the children in her classroom. She learned teaching methods, classroom management skills, first aid, nutrition, and how to make educational toys.
Since implementing the training Tam has seen a change in her students. Her students are more attentive when she is able to combine basic math ideas with stories. Providing more nutritious food has helped the children develop and learn.
Noticing the changes, more parents have decided to send their children to preschool. This means more children in the community are beginning their education.
In August of 2014, Tam was promoted from preschool teacher to vice principal at her school. In her new position she is now responsible for transferring her knowledge and skills to new teachers who join the staff. This helps the school provide a consistent quality of education and care to the children.
Tam enjoys spending time with children. It is easy to see how she loves working with them and getting to know each individual child. She dreams of a time when all the children in her community will be in school and all the schools will be equipped to help them succeed.
Photo Credit: Sharing Dots