Preschool access should not depend on the status of your family circumstances. The Korean government does not provide funding for toddlers who live in Korean children’s homes to attend school until they are four-years-old. But, in Korean culture, we see that some toddlers are starting their education at the age of two. In a culture heavily influenced by a rigorous education system, the two year educational gap has an impact on their early literacy or developmental skills.
According to a UNICEF report on “Prioritizing quality early childhood education,” children who have access to at least one year of pre-primary education have more ability to develop critical skills necessary to not only succeed in school, but the children are also less likely to repeat grades or drop out of school (“175 million children are not enrolled in pre-primary education – UNICEF”). The education of the whole child (mind, body, heart) is one of the core values that KKOOM stands on. We love being able to fill in the educational gaps for young children through a preschool scholarship so they have access to flourish and thrive in the school setting.
Seth is a new KKOOM preschool scholar who is 34 months old, just under three-years-old. He arrived at a KKOOM-supported children’s home in April 2023. For the past 9 months, we have been funding a preschool scholarship for Seth. It costs 452,000 won or approximately $350 a month to fund his scholarship, a total of 5,424,000 won or $4,200 a year.
Some of Seth’s preschool activities include having a dress up day to explore China for a cultural immersion day and even had the experience of feeding some chicks. Not too long ago, Seth made kimchi with his friends and brought it home. Not only does he like kimchi, but he especially enjoys eating fruits, meat, and chocolate snacks. Seth can always be found at the preschool doing role playing, an essential part of early childhood development.
We directly asked Seth’s house mother about his personality and she said, “Seth is living brightly and happily through play and experiences at the preschool. Seth also likes to play ball and catch. There are many things that he tries to do on his own by imitating what adults say and do. Thank you so much for your support.”
Like UNICEF, we believe in putting education first and prioritizing a quality early childhood education experience for the toddlers we support. The CEO of Chicago Public Schools said it best – “If you’re going to equalize the academic playing field, you’ve got to get the kids in early childhood programs.” Equaling the playing field for vulnerable children in South Korea is our priority. Thank you for believing in our mission and making dreams more accessible through early education for Korean toddlers.