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Football goals help teachers overcome the language barrier

11 May 2016

Football goals help teachers overcome the language barrier

A gift of two inflatable nursery football goals has helped volunteers in the Cambodian village of Prasat overcome language barriers and delight children and teachers, according to Wellington early childhood teacher Maeve O’Neill.

Ms O’Neill has recently returned from a charitable joint venture between Kindercare Learning Centres and Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), where she was part of a team chosen to provide English lessons and support to the teachers and wider village.

The goals were donated to Prasat Kindergarten in the province of Kompong Thom by Wellington-based company Packaworld International Limited.

Ms O’Neill said the goals assisted in helping teachers recognise the value of children learning through play, a concept not often used in Cambodian classrooms, and provided the team with an effective means of overcoming language barriers to build rapport.

“The teachers were impressed and interested, and it was something we could work on together. The fact the goals were easy to set up without the issue of verbal communication really helped.

“I thought it was a fantastic thing [Packaworld CEO] Pete did. The kids had a game of football and they absolutely loved it. I know what it means to these children. Many of them don’t have much of anything at all, and some of them have never had the opportunity to play with a ball before.”

The goals will serve as a lasting asset for Prasat Kindergarten.

Packaworld CEO Peter Roberts said children have the right to play, wherever they may be.

Mr Roberts said he was glad to support a worthy cause, and at the same time enable children to play football when they may not otherwise have the opportunity.

“In New Zealand, we are very fortunate to have the resources and a culture that enables people to play sport when and where they want to. I want to share that, and also help people overcome the issues preventing them from playing, whether that’s in Cambodia or in the garden across the street.”


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