The S.C.A.O. School I was opened on the 5th of December 2007. Its development causes larger classes, better teaching facilities and the appeal of a ‘genuine’ school. The school is located six kilometers north of Phnom Penh in a district called “Boeng Chhuk” village. Just around the corner you can find the “Center”, where Mr. Sameth and his family live.
The S.C.A.O. School I has two classrooms under one tin roof. There are fourteen English classes taking place daily in the school. These classes educate around 170 students on a daily basis with a higher standard and quality than what they could receive through government school. 4 classes are thought by the young Khmer adults who grew up in the “Center” while the other classes are continuously taught by volunteers.
We teach a lot of different English levels. Starting with the ABC-Beginners, who learn the writing and the pronunciation, to ABC-Advanced, who learn new vocabulary and easy sentence structures while learning how to read. The next level is called English- Beginner. With this level we start to teach with a proper book called „English File 3rd edition“. Every student has a student- and a workbook. The teacher has a teacher book, which makes it easy for him to prepare the classes. The same we have for our Elementary-, PreIntermediate- and Intermediate-Classes, who attend SCAO in the evening, while the other classes take place in the morning and afternoon. Three times a week after the last class is over, we offer a Conversation-Class, where we just talk with the students about everything.
Each class lasts for one hour and most students attend their class every day. On Fridays, the students are taught to work in teams and have fun and be creative whilst learning: This is called “Creative Friday”. The Volunteers and Khmer teachers come up with ideas to combine English lessons with the students own creativity such as drawing pictures, singing songs, making poems and playing games that reflect what the students studied during the week.
In addition there is a German-Class with about 7 students and two Computer-Classes with about 14 students. The Computer-Classes take place in our Volunteerhouse, which is just around another corner aswell. The three buildings (Center, School, Volunteerhouse) are located like a triangle, really close to each other.
In the Volunteerhouse is space for 6 volunteers additionally to the 2 Headvolunteers from Germany. We go to the market, cook for ourselves, eat together, keep the house clean and watch movies in the evening on the rooftop. Because SCAO1 cooks for itself, the volunteers who stay there have to pay 2 dollars more for every day they eat there.
SCAO1 was founded many years ago, that’s why our best English Class is on a quite high level and we have many older students, who you can communicate with. That’s why SCAO1 is perfect, if you want to get to know the Khmer youth. Plus you will be in close contact with the founder’s family and go together on trips, while learning about Khmer tradition and culture.
Even though the most kids are around 16 years old, we still teach very small ones as well. The youngest are 5 years old and still have to learn how to write. Some can’t even write Khmer. If you are experienced or just enjoy working with young kids, you can be a great help by improving our classes or even teach your own. Don’t be afraid because of your English skills. The children have very different levels, we will find the right class for you. You can tell us whether you prefer to teach your own class or you wanna be an assistant teacher for one of our long term volunteers. In any way you would be a great help as long as you are willing to follow the school’s and house’s rules and respect the Headvolunteers as friends as well.
As a Volunteer at SCAO1 you will life in a house with Western standards. The house has 3 floors plus a rooftop, with a big kitchen and big rooms. Each room has an own bathrooms including shower, basin and a flushable toilet with a pumpgun, instead of toilet paper. In addition you are provided with wifi, even though the mobile internet in the city are is very good and cheap as well. The standard is higher than what most of your students are used to. If you want to experience the traditional Khmer lifestyle, you should have a look at SCAO2.
When you arrive, the Headvolunteers will organize a pickup from the airport and show you around the school, the house, and tell you about the rules and the life. You will work in a team together, teach your classes, create your own activities for the children, support SCAO with donation handovers, and help improving our self. In addition you can spend your time in the nearby city during the weekends or go on holiday trips on the long weekends to discover other parts of Cambodia.
More Information and pictures on our facebook album.