Harmony, KKOOM’s Preschool Scholar, arrived at a KKOOM-supported children’s home twelve months ago in March 2021 when she was 24-months-old. This will be our last month providing her preschool scholarship as she is now eligible to receive government funding starting in March 2022 (age three in American society, age four in South Korea). We asked her house mother to give us a snapshot of Harmony’s growth, inside and outside the classroom. We translated her answers into English.
1. When Harmony first arrived at the children’s home, what was her personality like?
She had short hair and was wearing dresses in size small. She felt a bit anxious about the separation, but after meeting the other children at the children’s home, she was relieved. She expressed herself without any hesitation, which sometimes led to sudden outbursts at times.
She had a strong desire to eat, no matter the food. She ate kimchi, which is not typical for children her age to eat, and ate fruits better than adults.
2. Harmony started preschool immediately when she arrived in March 2021. What was her biggest challenge in the classroom?
At times, she would cry loudly interrupting other children’s classes because she had a difficult time with self-control. She wanted to do everything and have everything she saw. She exhibited stubbornness to get what she wanted.
When other children were playing with their toys, she grabbed their toys and ran away with them.
3. What improvements has Harmony made being in school, one year later?
She now understands that there are rules and she knows how to better articulate what she wants. She learned how to wait and became more patient in the classroom.
She came to understand that I have to ask permission to use other people’s things.
4. How has Harmony’s personality improved at the children’s home?
She was very assertive when she first arrived and insisted on doing what she wanted to do no matter the circumstances. Now, if you explain the situation, she understands and accepts the words of the other person.
In March 2021, she slept a lot and had trouble sleeping, so she was very irritable when sleeping or waking up. Now, when it is time to go to bed, she is happy and brings a children’s book. When she wakes up in the morning, she wakes up feeling good on her own.
5. Are there favorite things Harmony likes to do at home? Or at school?
At home, she likes to play house with her sisters. She loves to draw and ride the kick-board scooter in the children’s home yard. She likes snacks very much, and eats so well leaving a mess on her face and clothes.
One of her favorite things to do in preschool is playing with blocks. More play in a positive manner has been more possible at school.
6. How helpful is the KKOOM scholarship to children like Harmony?
This was such a positive experience to improve her social development to play with other children and observe what they are doing. It gave her the opportunity to imitate faster positive learning outcomes in the classroom. It has helped increase her language comprehension and physical movement.
[At this age], it is a period in which the brain undergoes rapid changes according to experiences, and the human brain develops rapidly during the first two years of life. This age is the period when the density and formation level of synaptic networks that connect neurons to each other are at their highest.
7. If you could say anything to the KKOOM donors and supporters, what would it be?
Due to living in the social welfare system, Harmony had no choice but to wait to receive an education. Thanks to the KKOOM scholarship, she was able to receive the same education as her peers starting at two-years-old.
Thank you for making all of these experiences possible. I think the KKOOM scholarship played an important role in Harmony’s social, emotional, and physical development. I am very grateful and I think it is something to be grateful for.
Two-year-olds have twice as many synapses as adults, according to Edutopia.org. This enables the brain to learn faster at this age than at any other time of life. A child’s experience at this age has a lasting impact on their overall development. During the most important time of Harmony’s brain development, you stepped in to provide a life-changing experience for her. Harmony was given the opportunity to attend school for free through the KKOOM scholarship, a year of transformation for her social and brain development.
Thank you for playing a pivotal role to eliminate an invisible achievement gap for toddlers living in Korea’s social welfare system. Together, we are changing lives and making futures brighter for Korean children through an education.
-Grace Lee, Executive Director