Creation of a practical garden at primary school

Creation of a practical garden at primary school

In recent months at the primary school, a project to create educational, fun and ecological vegetable gardens has emerged in co-creation with teachers from the agroecology school.

This project aims to raise students’ awareness of ecology and the environment, while introducing them in a fun way to simple market gardening practices. Through these gardens and vegetable patches that children draw and design accompanied by their teachers, they can experiment, learn and express themselves at the same time.

Tang Meanrith and bayon school
orientation event bayon school
pastry school orientation

Some educational spaces are designed geometrically and are accompanied by small signs giving the names of shapes in English and Khmer. Learning combines geometry, gardening and language learning, all in a fun way.

These vegetable gardens also aim to supply part of the canteen’s needs. The children therefore find on their plates the vegetables that they have planted, seen growing and harvested. The soups are composed of eggplants, beans, salads, rice, aromatic herbs and a mushroom greenhouse, enough to offer healthy and balanced meals during meals.

Tang Meanrith and bayon school
orientation event bayon school
Art worshops in Bayon schools!

Art worshops in Bayon schools!

We had the great pleasure to welcome Gilles in March, along with his friend Nathalie, for art and creation workshops in our primary school and pastry and bakery school.

Gilles, a young retiree, is passionate about art, especially wood and metal sculpture. As he says so well, “I hurt the metal so that it lives”. Gilles and Nathalie have worked with our students on several art projects.

First of all, at the primary school, the wall of Elodie’s canteen was decorated with fruits and vegetables as well as numbers in Khmer and English. This project was discussed with Vantha, the school director, who wanted to enrich the wall with educational and pedagogical elements. The students can now practice both languages. This project was carried out with students from Grade 1 to 6.

A mural with a natural decor was also created with the help of the school’s pedagogical team who were inspired by the nature present in Cambodia and around the school such as geckos, a beehive, birds, flowers…

The playground of our students was also redesigned, two new structures were created from rubber tires. The students dug the ground to be able to attach the tires in order to create a course as well as 2 racing cars. They then painted these new cars in the colors of Cambodia!

In addition, in the pastry and bakery school art projects took place around the use of wood. The students worked on what pastry and bakery represented for them. Then, they drew their representations on wooden logs and made engravings using a pyrography machine. Afterwards, these creations were assembled to create a composition in the garden of our Coffee Shop.

The students let their creativity run wild and painted our pond with a “nature” theme. They had fun painting water lilies, flowers, fish and turtles.

In a perspective of renovation and improvement of our visibility, the wall that borders the street leading to our Coffee Shop needed a good refreshment. To do so, the students and the pedagogical team of the pastry and bakery school cleaned the wall and then repainted it in the school’s colors! We decided to add a little fantasy by illustrating some of the pastries and drinks offered on the menu of our Coffee Shop.

Art workshop pastry students

For Gilles, sharing with students is always an unforgettable moment. As Charlie Chaplin said, “Children have talent, it’s just a matter of showing it”. These workshops have allowed our students to express their creativity and talents. They are now proud to see their creations displayed in their respective schools. Bayon School aspires to further develop these extra-curricular activities with the aim of stimulating curiosity and developing their ability to imagine and interact.

Once again, we would like to thank Gilles and Nathalie for their time, support and investment at our side. We look forward to seeing you next year for new projects!

Culture and creativity with ក្រូចឆ្មារ – Kroojchmar Magazine

Culture and creativity with ក្រូចឆ្មារ – Kroojchmar Magazine

ក្រូចឆ្មារ – Kroojchmar is the first Cambodian magazine focuses on developing children’s creativity. The magazine format is quite unique, written in Khmer and English addressed to children from 9 to 12 years old (Grade 4, 5 and 6). It’s an invitation to discover through stories, activities or case studies, the daily like of Cambodia. Written and illustrated by Cambodian artists, this magazine also aims to support and promote their work.

Kroojchmar Magazine visuel 2

Thanks to a donation from Section Internationale, an international English school for children from Grade 1 to Grade 12, Bayon School subscribed for one-year magazine for our Primary School’s to Grade students from Grade 4 to 6. They will have in total 6 issues, all on different topics.

Distribution Kroojchmar Magazine
Distribution Kroojchmar Magazine

At Bayon School, we are convinced that art and culture are an integral part of the child’s awakening and development. In 2018, we started the Art, Culture and Sport program, aimed to strengthen the creativity, self-confidence and personal thinking skills of Bayon School students. Through this program, the school wishes to awaken the students’ curiosity and enrich their personal culture, to value and recognize Khmer culture and to encourage the values of respect for oneself and others.

Photo groupe distribution kroojchmar magazine

We are very pleased to be able to subscribe to this magazine. Indeed, their objectives are in symbiosis with the aspirations we have for our students. This magazine is a tool to stimulate children’s curiosity and develop their ability to transform, imagine and create. The pedagogical approach responds to our desire to increase their autonomy and interactivity. We are as well proud to support local initiatives.

A warmly thank to Section Internationale and ក្រូចឆ្មារ – Kroojchmar

OPEN YOUR EYES : to each his own camera !

OPEN YOUR EYES : to each his own camera !

Penelope, who has been in charge of communication for the past year, has set up a photography project at the primary school, with the idea of sharing her passion with our students and getting them to practice in turn. She explains us what motivated her to set up this activity.

How was this project born?

If today’s children all have access to a phone and the camera that goes with it, our primary school students have few opportunities to be the ones taking the pictures.

After noticing that they were often photographed without their permission, I wanted to give them the opportunity to express themselves on the world around them and to testify by themselves of their own reality.

I have been practicing photography for many years, and particularly silver photography, and I have noticed, with time, that this medium is a real means of expression, and that an image often speaks more than words. I wanted to share with them this passion which animates me and teaches them to take the time to observe around them what visually allows to tell a story.

Photography often allows to testify about a particular subject, and the silver photography has something unique, because the pictures are visible only at the development. The surprise of the results is always a moment that I particularly like and I wanted to share it with our students!

What is the pedagogical approach proposed?

Elèves à la bibliothèque pour l'atelier photographie

The Art, Culture and Sport program at the Bayon School allow us to reinforce the creativity and confidence of our students. Several workshops are held each week and are essential to the learning process of each student. With the idea of developing this curiosity and their openness to the world, the “Open Your Eyes” project was born from this desire to offer them a new field of learning and artistic expression.

Having very little access to this medium in their everyday lives, we wanted to give them the opportunity to understand what it is, and to practice it.

The workshop took place in two stages:

A first day of presentation on what is photography and how it works. The basics to know before taking a picture (the light ? the framing ?) and the differences between digital and film cameras (what is a film and how it works ?).

It was also an opportunity to introduce them to some of the names of Cambodian photographers known for their pictures throughout the country. This allows our students to identify with these people and to have in mind that they too can tell a story through images.

The second part of the workshop consists of giving each student a disposable camera, with a few ideas for themes that allow them to express themselves freely about their vision of the world. This approach aims to highlight the context in which they live, letting them express themselves about their daily life and how they perceive it themselves.

Atelier photographie avec les élèves
Slide expliquant la position de la lumière
Davann présente l'atelier aux élèves

What do you expect from the results?

Once scanned and developed, the objective is to ask the students to explain their pictures and the story behind them.

Each student was able to take about 30 photographs and we hope to have some nice surprises!

In addition to the photographs taken at school, I hope to have images of their families and villages, so that we can have a representation of their daily lives. These children have grown up in the Angkor temples and know this area better than anyone else: they are, therefore, the most able to photograph it! I am curious about this reality, and I hope that they will feel comfortable enough to explain to us what their images represent. I also know that some of them wanted to go for a walk in the temples. I wonder how they perceive them. For them, these temples are simply a place to live rather than a world-famous tourist attraction. I especially hope that the images will be readable because I know that at the beginning, many are too dark or overexposed.

How was the project set up?

To realize this project, I looked for partners in Cambodia, because I know they are few to practice photography and I found it relevant to work with local companies.

Among them is the laboratory to which I send my personal films, We Film Lab, in Phnom Penh. The quality of their development has always been very good, and I like their approach and their communication on their networks.

Then there is also Rob Thort, who I discovered on Instagram. This account has a great visibility and defines itself as a community to promote photography in Cambodia. The idea is to make this practice accessible: they regularly have cameras for sale and also offer many films. I like this idea of offering to everyone the possibility to practice photography, whether as an amateur or a professional. Everything is always well explained and presented, and I thought that our project would surely find its place with them.

I exchanged with them, and they were immediately very enthusiastic and found the idea relevant. Rob Thort contributes to the project by providing us with the 35 disposable cameras, and We Film Lab takes care of the development of the images. It is thanks to them that I can now bring the project to the school, and I thank them greatly for their support.

Ronouch, Social and Health Program Coordinator: a key role with our beneficiaries

Ronouch, Social and Health Program Coordinator: a key role with our beneficiaries

Ronouch is the new coordinator of the social and health program at the Primary school. She tells us about her daily life and the actions she carries out throughout the year, including the annual family visit.

What are the main actions you implement in the Primary school?

Distribution Kits d'Hygiènes Ecole primaire

At the Primary school, I am involved in many different things. I take part in the class councils that take place every term to review the needs of each student and the results of the evaluations. I also take care of the health and hygiene follow-up of each student (management of the annual budget for the purchase of hygiene kits, management of the distribution of the kits, working with the partner clinics and hospitals, facilitating and organizing the stay of the children who are treated outside of Siem Reap province).

I support and stimulate the good attendance of the students by making a regular control of the absences and I encourage them in their learning by trying to find a more professional solution if the student does not want to come to school anymore.

My role is also to supervise and coordinate the recruitment of students for the Bayon Primary school (collecting applications, selecting students), to ensure the annual visit of families (creating a schedule of visits to families’ homes, filling in the database, reporting back to the Primary school team), to engage families in the process of their child’s schooling through meetings, workshops, and food or medication support when needed.

Can you explain the annual family visit that takes place each year?

We conduct the family visit once a year. During the academic year 2021-2022, we have 253 students and 184 families with an average of 2 children in our program. The purpose of this visit is to learn more about the family situation of our beneficiaries and its evolution in order to determine their social level for the new school year. At the end of all the visits, a meeting with the whole team is organized to present the social situation of each family and thus establish a social level.

What questions are asked to determine this social level?

We have 6 kinds of questions to ask each family in order to analyze their social level.

First, we ask them questions about the family, how many members are there in the family now, have there been any births or deaths? Do they have a job now and if so, what is it? Are the family members in good health?

Then come the questions about the housing and their different belongings, to know with what kind of materials are their houses built? How is their sanitary installation? How do they have access to water? Do they have access to electricity? Do they have their own field or land next to their home and what is the price? How big is their house and land? How many motorcycles do they have? Do they have animals? Do they have a car, tractor or other vehicle?

Finally, there are questions about income and expenses. We seek to establish an average of their material and financial assets that allow us, at the end of the visit, to match these answers to our criteria and thus evaluate their current standard of living.

How does each visit work?

Ronouch en visite chez une famille

First of all, we have to establish a schedule of annual visits with the date and time. We always try to combine the visits of families who live in the same village. Three to four visits are scheduled per half day and we visit each family’s home. After we finish visiting the families, we present the results during an evaluation meeting to discuss the social level of each family and to inform each team member of the situation of each family.

What is the most challenging part of these visits?

As the families are all scattered in villages around the temples of Angkor, it is sometimes difficult to remember where our 184 beneficiaries live knowing that they have no postal addresses. The area of the temples is a huge forest whose ground is not always easy to master. It takes time to get to know them better and always warn them of our visit beforehand.

What are some ways families can contact you to report a complicated situation?

When I took over as the Health and Social Program Coordinator at the Primary school, I introduced myself to each family and gave them a number to contact me at any time. If I am not reachable, the family can always contact the Primary school team and they will pass the information on to me.

The place of art in education: an indispensable element?

The place of art in education: an indispensable element?

At the Bayon School, we are convinced that access to quality education also requires the practice of extra-curricular activities, which are an integral part of the child’s awakening and development.

This is why we offer primary school students an opening to arts and culture from grade 1, which they do not have access to through their families: art classes, dance and traditional puppet classes, cultural outings. Three hours per week are dedicated to physical activity as well as cultural and artistic awareness.

Educational games and books are also made available to them in the library to give them a taste for reading.

Why is it important to encourage art education at school?

Théâtre d'ombres à l'école primaire

The presence of artistic activities in the school stimulates students’ commitment to their academic success, increases their involvement and motivation in class and is also an important element in developing a sense of belonging to their community. In addition, art allows students with the most difficulties to gain more autonomy, to express themselves freely and to discover new skills.

Art, in all its forms, offers students the opportunity to express their creativity and learn to work as a team while having fun.

The arrival of the Art, Culture & Sport program at the Bayon School

Started in 2018, the Art, Culture & Sport program aims to strengthen the creativity, self-confidence and personal thinking skills of Bayon School students.

Class trips are also organized to allow students to visit places they would never have had the opportunity to discover in a family setting. This is an opportunity for them to enrich their knowledge and learn in a different way.

Finally, sports classes are offered each week to develop skills that are not taught in other classes.

Through this program, the school wishes to awaken the students’ curiosity and enrich their personal culture, to value and recognize Khmer culture and to encourage the values of respect for oneself and others.

Enfants de l'école primaire qui jouent au foot
Danse APSARA à l'école primaire
Enfants de l'école primaire à la ferme aux papillons

In order to enhance the symbols of Khmer culture, the Bayon School has set up classes in traditional Khmer music, dance and puppet show.

Cambodia is the cradle of one of the richest cultures in Southeast Asia. Cambodian arts such as music, dance and theater date back to ancient times, especially during the Khmer Empire (802-1431) under the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism.

However, during the Khmer Rouge period, all forms of art disappeared due to the brutality of this communist regime which prohibited the practice of activities.

Cambodian art must therefore flourish again, and the Bayon School participates in the transmission of these important symbols of culture through classes in Khmer instruments, APSARA dance and Khmer Shadow Theater.

Enfants de l'école primaire qui jouent de la musique

In Cambodia, music gives rhythm to ceremonies, celebrations or rites using traditional instruments. Our music teacher Phlong Poeun teaches our students to play various Khmer instruments such as the Tro Saun, a two-stringed vertical fiddle with a hardwood body, the Takhe or Krapeur, a three-stringed, crocodile-shaped, floor-standing zither and percussion instruments.

The essential art of Khmer culture is the traditional Apsara dances. Once reserved exclusively for kings and their courts, these bewitching dances have their origins in India. The apsaras would be nymphs from the churning of the ocean of milk that is the origin of the universe, according to the Hindu religion. This art is taught in Primary school to both boys and girls by our two teachers San Theany and Run Marin.

Danse APSARA à l'école primaire
Théâtre d'ombres à l'école primaire

The shadow theater in Cambodia, “Sbek Thom” in Khmer, is registered since 2008 by UNESCO as intangible heritage of humanity. It features puppets of varying sizes (up to two meters high), made of carved cowhide. Considered a sacred art during the Angkorian period, puppet shows were only performed during famous events (Khmer New Year, the king’s birthday and veneration of illustrious figures). Today, the Skeb Thom has gone beyond this purely ritual framework to become a symbol in its own right of Khmer artistic culture. At the Bayon School, our teacher Keo Kea is in charge of keeping this tradition alive among the children.

Our goal is ambitious: to give a performance of all these artistic teachings at the end of the school year.