Search Results : preschool

A door of opportunity – the importance of a preschool education

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Nov 282017

HyungJun is KKOOM’s preschool scholarship recipient. Look how much he has grown since he newly arrived in August 2017 at Samsungwon Orphanage.

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. 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.

If you would like to give to continue supporting toddlers like HyunJun, we invite you to view our Early education for Korean toddlers campaign. Any donation will help!

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

Chief Administrator

Email: | Cell: +1-678-237-8535

 Posted by at 3:48 pm

Liat’s Preschool Fundraiser


Personal Message from Liat:

A while back, I was honored to be a part of KKOOM’s Welcome Boost fundraiser. With the help of generous family and friends, I raised my goal of $125 which went toward purchasing clothing for an orphan named HyungJun.

As I received pictures and updates of HyungJun, I found myself growing more and more attached to this precious child halfway across the world. KKOOM also holds fundraisers to put younger orphans through preschool. As soon as I heard this, I was determined to gather enough money to put HyungJun through at least a month of preschool.

My fundraising goal is $330, the cost of one month’s preschool tuition. Although not enough for a full semester, I hope to reach (and surpass) at least this much. As HyungJun will be attending preschool this fall semester, any funds raised would go directly toward the spring semester.

I hope you consider donating to help this little boy receive a solid start to catching whatever his dreams may be.

Thank you and with my love,
Liat Meeyun Shapiro

Use the Donate button below to support Liat’s fundraiser!

The views represented on this personal fundraising page are entirely the individual author’s own personal views and opinions; as such, they do not represent the official position of KKOOM. KKOOM will endeavor to use the donations collected through this fundraiser in line with Ms. Shapiro’s wishes, but if funds cannot be used to support Hyungjun’s preschool tuition, for whatever reason, they will be allocated to KKOOM’s general fund and used where the need is greatest.

 Posted by at 4:29 pm

12 Days of KKOOM – Day 7 – Preschool Program

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Dec 202016

The 10 toddlers we’ve helped attend preschool as 2 and 3 year olds since 2011.

For the past 5 years, KKOOM has helped 2 and 3 year old toddlers at an orphanage in Korea go to preschool, a full two years earlier than they would otherwise be able to attend with the governmental support provided. To date, we have given 10 toddlers the opportunity to gain early access to preschool education, the oldest of which is now in 2nd grade.

Intuitively we know that kids who go to preschool do better in school and are more successful in life, and by sending these 10 children to preschool with KKOOM support, we’ve helped these orphan toddlers overcome an important hurdle to their educational success. We’re eager to see how life unfolds for all of them. We won’t be surprised if we one day have our first preschool-support-turned college scholarship recipient.

To find out more about our preschool program, check out our previous posts here. If you’d like to support this work and help more Korean toddler orphans go to preschool next year, please consider making a year-end donation. Thank you!

 Posted by at 6:48 am

Fall Preschool Atendees

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Oct 282016

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., age 2, enjoys going to preschool.

J.H., age 2, is a playful and curious little boy.

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., age 2, has learned and grown a lot since starting preschool.

S.H., age 2, has learned and grown a lot since starting 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 receiving 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.

 Posted by at 12:38 am

12 Days of KKOOM: #9 Preschool Program

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Dec 222015
JY arrived at Samsungwon when he was about 2 months old, and he is now 28 months old. He has been attending preschool with KKOOM's help since March 2015.

JY arrived at Samsungwon when he was about 2 months old, and he is now 28 months old. He has been attending preschool with KKOOM’s help since March 2015.

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.

JY's many facces

JY, 28 months old, has a variety of curious and cute faces.

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.

 Posted by at 7:07 am

Jinyoung Starts Preschool at 19 Months Old!

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May 072015

Jinyoung and his house mom

Our newest toddler 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. 😀

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.


Jinyoung enjoys dinner


 Posted by at 7:31 pm
Dec 242014
NJS (3 years old) has been in preschool for 2 years thanks to KKOOM's support

Jisu (3 years old) has been in preschool for 2 years thanks to KKOOM’s support.

11. Wednesday, December 24, 2014 – Access to Preschool

Those of you with little ones in your lives know how much joy they bring, especially this holiday season. KKOOM’s tiniest angels are no exception, so we wanted to give you an update of how they’re doing in preschool.

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.

Suzy (age 2) has been in preschool this year and will receive another year of KKOOM support to go next year. The government will pay for her preschool the following year.

Suzy (age 2) has been in preschool this year and will receive another year of KKOOM support to go next year. The government will pay for her preschool the following year.

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). The children attend year-round.

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.

KKOOM has helped Minho (3 years old)  attend preschool and receive extra therapy.

KKOOM has helped Minho (3 years old) attend preschool and receive extra therapy.

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.

JY (16 months old) will go to preschool in March

JY (16 months old) will go to preschool in March

 Posted by at 12:15 pm

Access to Preschool Program for Orphan Toddlers

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Oct 022013
2-year-old Korean orphans currently enrolled in preschool through KKOOM

2-year-old Korean orphans currently enrolled in preschool through KKOOM

It is well established that children who attend preschool before reaching school age do better in school. In South Korea, children from regular families typically begin attending preschool at age 2. However, due to lack of funding, Korean orphans are typically unable to attend preschool until they turn 4, when a government subsidy kicks in.

Because of this funding gap, Korean orphan toddlers are significantly behind their peers (who got to go to preschool) by the time they turn 5. This gap persists for the remaining years of preschool and in to elementary school.

To help bridge this gap, since late 2011, KKOOM has provided tuition for 2 and 3-year-old Korean orphans to attend local preschools. Annual tuition for one child is approx. $4,000 USD, but we have been working with private local Korean preschools to lower the cost on a case-by-case basis.

At KKOOM, we believe that sending orphan toddlers to preschool at the same time (age 2) as regular children will help eliminate the access to education gap between orphan toddlers and non-orphans and level the playing field when it comes to educational achievement in the classroom as they grow older.

To date, we’ve had two children “graduate out” of this program (one is now 5 and one is 6), and we have three 2-year-olds currently enrolled in preschool (pictured).  We previously mentioned a few of these program participants in another post, here. In future blog posts, we’ll profile the children in more detail, so please stay tuned!

If you’d like to make a contribution specifically to support this program, you can click the button below to make a donation via GlobalGiving, an online fundraising partner.

 Posted by at 1:49 pm  Tagged with:

Success After High School Graduation

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Mar 272018

Beyond Samsungwon Orphanage and Emmanuel Children’s Home, KKOOM continues to invest in the lives of the children who grow up in South Korean orphanages. Directly, KKOOM financially supports young adults to attend college with a 700,000 KRW (approximately $651) each semester to use towards college funds.

Sunghyun (L) and Taehyun (R) playing together in Spring 2005. Photo courtesy of KKOOM’s President & Co-Founder, Aimee Jachym.

Taehyun and Sunghyun grew up at Samsungwon Orphanage and started college in March 2018. Recently, they were accepted into Oak Tree Project’s college mentoring program. Oak Tree Project is a non-profit organization based in Seoul, South Korea, and its scholarship and mentoring program help Korean orphans after they graduate from high school with emotional support and financial aid. This programs keeps the students accountable and helps them succeed until graduation.

Taehyun and Sunghyun are the 2nd and 3rd students to be accepted into Oak Tree’s program from Samsungwon Orphanage. The Samsungwon house mothers and orphanage staff poured into their lives since they arrived at Samsungwon as toddlers. Taehyun will be attending KyungWoon University with the dream of becoming a flight attendant, and Sunghyun will be attending Chungju National University to study architecture. KKOOM’s President and Co-founder, Aimee Jachym, has known both young men since they were in preschool. She describes them as follows:

“Taehyun was ‘eagle boy’ to me for a number of years. Erika (KKOOM’s other Co-founder) and I were hosting our biweekly playtime with toys purchased by American friends and donors in Samsungwon’s 2nd floor general purpose room in 2005, and Taehyun came over with a bird-like block creation, shouting ‘eagle, eagle, eagle’ and jumping up and down. Erika and I wondered where he had learned ‘eagle’ of all things. It turns out, he had been having some exposure to English at his preschool. Perhaps the reference to flight was a foreshadowing of Taehyun’s desire to build his career serving others as a flight attendant in the sky.”

“Sunghyun, on the other hand, was more quiet and reserved at our playtime sessions. He was clearly the baby of his room’s family at Samsungwon, and his house mom showed a deep, maternal affection for him. He was often more reserved in his interactions, but it was hard for him to hide his curiosity about the world. I think his favorite activity was painting his toenails back in 2005. Now, it’s probably sleeping because of all of the studying and hard work he’s had to put in to gain admission to a national university studying in a highly competitive major (architecture).  For me, one of the most rewarding things to see is how kind and patient Sunghyun is with his younger siblings at Samsungwon; he definitely pays forward the affection and love that he’s been shown.”

“KKOOM is incredibly proud, and so am I, of Taehyun and Sunghyun. In many ways, they were and are ‘our babies,’ young children we’ve been fortunate to support from the start. With the help of our friends and donors, they’ve grown up with positive memories of KKOOM Christmas parties,  summer camps, and field trips. They’ve benefitted from the example of their older orphanage siblings going off to college and getting successful jobs. They’ve overcome immense challenges on their own and with the help of others, including KKOOM. And most importantly, they’re equipped for success, because of what lies within themselves and because of the support they’ve been given.”

Sunghyun (L) and Taehyun (R) enjoying street food snacks in between their interviews in Seoul for Oak Tree Project’s Mentoring Program.

KKOOM partners with Oak Tree Project by providing financial assistance to their programs and events, such as quarterly meetings held for their mentors and college students. We recently sent them funding to plan their 3rd annual retreat to help their iron chef meal activity for 35 young adults, staff, and mentors. We proudly support this organization as they help increase success for Korean high school students beyond graduation and help provide a positive community during their collegiate career. Congratulations Sunghyun and Taehyun on being accepted into Oak Tree Project’s Mentoring Program! 

 Posted by at 4:20 pm

Winter 2017 Update – Thriving in a positive environment

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Mar 202018

HyungJun is loved at Samsungwon as the youngest child at the orphanage.

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.

HyungJun enjoying his new toy car from Christmas

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 have played 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

 Posted by at 12:03 pm