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Heritage for Kids Report
Cambodian school children have been putting the basic concept of heritage into the life of their communities.

Living in a remote community, ninety Cambodian school children at Banteay Chhmar Primary School are playing an innovative role in the implementation of the “Heritage for Kids” Program.  This program provides one of several measures to protect the famous architectural, historical, and cultural site of Banteay Chhmar from destruction caused by illicit trade in cultural properties, illegal looting activities, and land-used development.

Why does Heritage Watch focus this training on school-aged children?

Children often more easily acclimate to their surroundings and the willingness to learn. It is often said that it is much easier to learn a language when one is young. The same idea is applied here toward cultural preservation.  In this regard, we are starting to educate on heritage values, protection, and preservation at an early age, in hoping this becomes a life-long aspiration to protect and preserve the heritage treasures of Banteay Chhmar.  Importantly, the children will apply their new knowledge of heritage throughout their families and communities.

90 kids with the 16 high school-aged students in front of Banteay Chhmar temple

Heritage for Kids Objectives

  1. Provide heritage education to school-aged children who were born, attend schools, and live within the cultural heritage environment of Banteay Chhmar. Through this program, they will understand their long-standing ties to the cultural heritage of the site.
  2. Design lesson plans for and implement the heritage education program at the primary and secondary school level in Cambodia, the pilot program being at Banteay Chhmar.

Methods

The Heritage for Kids Project chose ninety (90) children from two classes from the 5th Grade of Banteay Chhmar primary school.  The students are all between 10 and 15 years old. The project provided the kids with basic concepts of heritage, both tangible and intangible.  Activities included colouring and reading comic books on Cambodian heritage, site and museum visits, and other hands-on activities. 

Lesson plans and educational activities were introduced to the teachers in advance, in order to get them directly involved in helping their students perform.

The project also encouraged the children to begin thinking about the different forms of heritage, in terms of how looting affects the site, in what other ways the site is destroyed, and to assess the lack of local knowledge about the site and what can be done to address these problems.

 

The Education Program

            The group followed an agenda which allowed everyone to understand certain meanings of heritage, culture, and other important terms used in the field. The following presents some of the activities conducted during the training program.

1.     Define “heritage.”  What does it mean to you?

2.     What are the different forms of heritage

3.     Examples of natural heritage: mountain, sea, river, lake

4.     Examples of Cultural heritage:

4.1           Tangible cultural heritage

4.2           Intangible cultural heritage

5.     What is local heritage: archaeological sites, burials, ancient mounts, kiln sites, excavation sites and tools, artifacts

6.     Heritage at the museum: preservation, conservation and management

7.     Colouring heritage comic books and site visit

8.     Trip to visit Banteay Meanchey museum

9.     What can we do about preserving the heritage of this site? Why is Cambodian heritage so important to you?

Note: The heritage education classes normally occurred on Saturday afternoons with two sessions, one hour per session.

In-class activities

Involving the 16 students of Banteay Chhmar High School

Sixteen high school students (Grades 11 and 12) of Banteay Chhmar High School joined the Heritage for Kids project as mentors, to pass on their knowledge and experience of heritage and the site to the children.  The high school students had been trained in heritage and research methodology through the Khmer-Thai research team of the Cultural Relationship in Mainland SEA Project (CRMA). These older students had previously conducted training research at the Banteay Chhmar site. They led the children around the many historical sites throughout the Banteay Chhmar community.

 


The children worked together in groups at the site


Colouring

Visiting Banteay Meanchey Museum

Closing Ceremony

On 19 July 2015, the Closing Ceremony of the “Heritage for Kids” Project was organized in Banteay Chhmar Primary School with over 150 participants. These included dignitaries such as the General Director of Heritage: Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Governor of Banteay Meanchey province and representatives of provincial departments, and local authorities, as well as delegates from Thailand.

The Closing Ceremony was to congratulate the children’s understanding of heritage and inspire them to start applying this knowledge and experience in their local communities.

 


H.E. Kousoum Saroeuth, governor of BMC and H.E. Prak Sonnara, General Director of Heritage, MoCFA, appreciated an implementation of “Heritage for Kids”, and promised to support the project and provided gifts to the children

Program Recognition

This project, supported by many different groups and individuals around the world, recognizes that these children are custodians of Banteay Chhmar’s future, and that they have an important role to play in protecting, preserving, and developing their own cultural heritage for generations.

The children’s activities are being noticed by local people as well as beyond Cambodia’s borders. Many tourists have taken photographs of the school activities and have shown genuine interest. Typically, they see it as a good way to educate young people to think and to solve the problems themselves, and to be aware of the common benefits to the public. This program has also been recognized on an international level, through Heritage Watch.

With a success of the “Heritage for Kids” in step 1, we will proceed with the Heritage for Kids in step 2 “Training in Heritage and Environment” in next January 2016.

Who sponsors the project?

The Heritage for Kids Project was sponsored by donors throughout the world (via Kickstarter) with direct implementation by Heritage Watch in cooperation and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, APSARA National Authority and the CRMA Project as well as with strong support by Banteay Meanchey Provincial Hall and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

 
Cambodian School Children have been putting a basic concept of heritage into their lives in their villages.
 Living far from the center of Cambodia in a remote community, 90 Cambodian school children at Banteay Chhmar Primary School are taking an innovative role in their education.  They are taking part in a “Heritage for Kids” Program in an effort to protect the famous architectural, historical and cultural site of Banteay Chhmar from deterioration caused by illegal looting and poor land- used development.



Why has Heritage Watch started training young children?

Young people easily acclimate to their surroundings and need to be oriented towards meaningful relationships. The kids’ understanding of their heritage values should include protection and preservation.  In Banteay Chhmar Primary School the children apply their knowledge, interpreting their understanding to others in their villages and visitors from other countries. 

Objectives

  1. To provide heritage education to the young school children who were born, attend schools and live within the cultural heritage environment at Banteay Chhmar, so that they understand their own long-standing cultural heritage and values.
  2. To design lesson plans and course material that implements the heritage education program at the levels of primary and secondary schools in Cambodia.

 

Methodology

The Heritage for Kids Project involves 90 young school children from two classes at the 5th Grade of Banteay Chhmar primary school.  They are between 10 and 15 years old. The project provides the kids with a basic concepts of tangible and intangible heritage and, through activities—such as using coloring and reading comic books, historic site visits, and museum visits—provides opportunities to explore important ideas.

The lesson plans and educational activities are introduced to the teachers will in advance in order to get them involved in promoting their students’ performance.

The project encourages the kids to start thinking about some of the problems related to looting and the unintended consequences of activities that cause the destruction of the sites.  The students learn that the ignorance about the value of the historical sites gives rise to problems that they can help address. 


The Contents of the Heritage for Kids Program

1.     Defining the terms.  What is heritage?

2.     Different forms of heritage

3.     Natural heritage (features such as a mountain, sea, river, and lake, fauna and flora)

4.     Cultural heritage:

4.1           Tangible cultural heritage

4.2           Intangible cultural heritage

5.     Local heritage: archaeological sites, burials, ancient mounds, kiln sites, early industrial sites and artifacts

6.     Preservation, conservation and management of heritage, in a museum and in the community

7.     Using the coloring book on a site visit

8.     Visiting the Banteay Meanchey Museum

9.     What can we do?  Why is Cambodian heritage so important to you?

The heritage education program normally took place on Saturday afternoons with two sessions: an hour.


The Students of Banteay Chhmar High School

16 students in Grades 11 and 12 at Banteay Chhmar High School, who have been trained in heritage and research methodology by the Khmer-Thai research team of The Cultural Relationship in Mainland SEA Project (CRMA), have researched the archaeological sites at Banteay Chhmar.  These advanced students have joined the Heritage for Kids Project to pass on their knowledge and experience to the younger kids. The advance students led the kids in different groups to historical sites in Banteay Chhmar community.

The Closing Ceremony

On 19 July 2015, the Closing Ceremony of the “Heritage for Kids” Project was organized in Banteay Chhmar primary school with about 150 participants that included the General Director of Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Governor of Banteay Meanchey Province and representatives of provincial departments, local authorities, and  delegates from Thailand.

The Closing Ceremony celebrated the kids’ understanding of their heritage as they start applying this knowledge and experience in their villages.




Being Noticed by the Outside World

The project recognizes that the kids of the villagers are custodians of Banteay Chhmar’s future, and that they have an important role to play in protecting, preserving and developing their own cultural heritage.

The kids’ activities are being noticed by local people and the outside world. Many tourists have taken photographs of the school activities and have shown genuine interest. Typically, they see it as a good way to educate young people to think and to solve the problems themselves, and to be aware of the common benefits to the public.

 

Who sponsors the project?

The Heritage for Kids Project was sponsored donors throughout the world and implemented by Heritage Watch in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, APSARA National Authority and the CRMA Project as well as with strong support by Province of Banteay Meanchey and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

 

With the success of the “Heritage for Kids” in Stage 1, we will proceed with the Heritage for Kids in Stage 2 “Training in Heritage and Environment” in January 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
GET BEHIND OUR KICKSTARTER
 Heritage Watch has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund our Heritage for Kids initiative. As well as launching a curriculum we are hoping to reprint our famous comic book, Wrath of the Phantom Army and our children's book, If the Stones Could Speak.

Please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/164208000/heritage-for-kids to make a pledge!


 
Heritage Watch and MoCFA Museum Exhibit
The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts with support and cooperation from Heritage Watch launched Ancestors of Empire at the Provincial Museum in Banteay Meanchey on Oct. 20th. 

The displays highlight research done in the province by the MoCFA and Australian Researchers at Iron Age sites in Northwest Cambodia. The display is now part of a permanent exhibition!
 
Heritage education for Thai and Cambodian kids
Heritage Watch has just completed the 6th heritage education for students at Banteay Chhmar.

Heritage Watch provided the training materials for the Khmer-Thai Students Seminar on 16 November 2014 at Banteay Chhmar temple. 

The main aim of this heritage education program is to provide the chance for the young students who live within cultural heritage area to learn their own culture, get better understanding of Ethno-Archaeological field and survey methodology with high tech equipment, and to instill them to preserve, protect and manage their own culture heritage in their communities for the future.
 
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"The looting of prehistoric sites across Cambodia has reached epic proportions..."

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