Welcome Back!

You have Gifts for Good in your basket.

Welcome Back!

Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

A mix of excitement, nerves and sometimes tears – it can be hard to navigate the transition from preschool to primary school. It’s a game-changer for kids, parents and teachers alike. Just ask My and her mum, Thanh, who recently went through one of life’s big changes together. “It’s a big adjustment, but we were prepared,” says Thanh, who lives with her family in Vietnam’s Hoa Binh province.

Last year, both My and her mum took part in ‘Big School Training’ at their local preschool, Thuong Tien Preschool. Parents and teachers from the community learnt how to support young children in the transition period from preschool to primary school. The training focused on strategies to help preschoolers build confidence, make new friends, learn routines, and develop a sense of belonging within a new school setting.

“Starting school might have been scary but it didn’t feel strange because I had already visited and met lots of kids,” says My, now in Year 1.

As part of their training, teachers were encouraged to organise primary school visits so preschoolers like My could experience a ‘Day in the Life’ at primary school, and see what they had to look forward to the following year. My and her friends had the opportunity to visit their local primary school twice before graduating preschool, participating in activities such as decorating classrooms, making toys and music lessons.

Primary and preschoolers students take part in a colouring session together in Vietnam.


“My teacher took me to visit my old [Thuong Tien] preschool. My favourite part was guiding preschool students on how to hold a pen and colour. I like that I get to go back and have preschool students call me ‘big brother’. I’m very happy to help them.”

Loch, 7


As part of their training, teachers were encouraged to organise primary school visits so preschoolers like My could experience a ‘Day in the Life’ at primary school, and see what they had to look forward to the following year. My and her friends had the opportunity to visit their local primary school twice before graduating preschool, participating in activities such as decorating classrooms, making toys and music lessons.

“I remember my preschool teacher taking me and my friends to meet the teachers and students at a primary school,” recalls My. “I also got to see the classrooms and library. My favourite part was all the activities, especially getting to read and sing with the big kids.”

One of these ‘big kids’ was Loc, now in Year 2, who says he has enjoyed helping younger children prepare for primary school, “My teacher took me to visit my old [Thuong Tien] preschool. My favourite part was guiding preschool students on how to hold a pen and colour. I like that I get to go back and have preschool students call me ‘big brother’. I’m very happy to help them.”


Levelling up

Previously, teachers at Thuong Tien Preschool had limited skills organising care and educational activities for students, and they had difficulties in coordinating with primary school teachers, says Ms. Phuong, the preschool’s principal. Instead, they would focus solely on teaching preschool skills.

“I used to only support teachers with basic knowledge and skills such as how to teach children to recognise and pronounce 24 letters and 10 numbers correctly, how to hold a pen, how to colour, and some other skills such as combing and tying up hair and putting on clothes,” she explains. “I honestly did not spend much time coordinating with primary schools to support children during the transition period.”

All that changed when Ms. Phuong signed up for ChildFund’s training courses. As principal, she saw firsthand how kids and their parents were struggling to navigate such a big life change and was eager to make the move as seamless as possible. After two years of hard work, actively engaging in training sessions and workshops, Thuong Tien preschool has seen positive changes for students, teachers and parents in the community.

“I used to only support teachers with basic knowledge and skills such as how to teach children to recognise and pronounce 24 letters and 10 numbers correctly, how to hold a pen, how to colour, and some other skills such as combing and tying up hair and putting on clothes.”

Ms. Phuong


Ms. Phuong says her teachers now integrate content to support children during the transition period into daily school activities and have become more confident in communicating with parents. They also regularly coordinate with elementary school teachers.

Parents have also gained invaluable skills and knowledge to help their children through this tricky time. Thanh says she became more aware of My’s needs and how to best nurture her development both in the classroom and at home, “My told me she gets to draw pictures to help the teacher decorate the classroom. She used to be shy, but now she seems happy and more confident.”

Thanh is proud of the progress both she and My have made over the past year, noting that their bond is stronger than ever. “I always spend at least two hours each night studying with her. I do not pressure her and compliment her when she does something well. I have helped familiarise her with math and physical exercises. I learnt all of this from ChildFund’s training and from a workshop at My’s preschool,” she says. “My is very comfortable at school, and her language skills have improved. She is much more independent.”

Phuong speaking at Vietnam’s provincial level workshop for teachers about how to best support preschool students during the transition period.



It takes a village!

Collaboration and communication – plus the right resources and guidance – are essential when preparing preschool students for primary school. With the support of ChildFund and dedicated educators such as Ms. Phuong and enthusiastic teachers and parents, Thuong Tien Preschool is now thriving. Recently, the preschool was awarded a coveted ‘Level 1 Standard’ by the People’s Committee of Hoa Binh province, a title many schools strive for.

Ms. Phuong says starting school isn’t as daunting for her preschoolers, who are now better at dealing with change. Students are bolder and more confident when participating in lessons and extracurriculars at school, as they are more familiar with the activities and feel supported and nurtured by their teachers and parents.

“To effectively support students in the transition period we need schools, families and children to work together in harmony,” says Ms. Phuong. “All three elements are important. Schools can create an effective learning environment while families help support children’s learning and development at home, and naturally we want children to feel happy going to school and eager to learn.”

Find out more about ChildFund in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s National Child Helpline (NCHL) has been instrumental in prioritising child protection across the country since its launch in 2004. The helpline receives over 500,000 calls annually and has recently upgraded its dedicated app, ‘App 111’ or ‘Tong dai 111’, to reach more communities and enhance its ability to keep children safe.

Vietnam’s dedicated safety app, App 111, is helping to protect children from harm.

Luu (11), from Hoa Binh province, says she feels much safer knowing that she can ask for help with just a click of a button: “It’s like I have another friend to protect me. I use the app to report issues such as bullying or violence. Plus, it’s really easy to use.”

Luu’s friend, Hai (11), says the app has taught them important safety skills, such as ways to deal with conflict, prevent abuse and who to contact if they feel unsafe or see a friend being bullied.

“I can now recognise and stand up for my rights and my friends as well. I have more tools to deal with tricky situations,” explains Hai.

The National Child Helpline has 32 counsellors who work in three shifts, 24 hours a day, to handle a continuous stream of calls related to child protection. However, the volume of calls can be a challenge, and the lack of communication channels and information-sharing platforms makes it difficult to coordinate with local authorities to resolve and support child protection cases.

“I can now recognise and stand up for my rights and my friends as well. I have more tools to deal with tricky situations.”

Hai, 11

To address these challenges, ChildFund Vietnam, together with the Department of Child Affairs, has made important upgrades to App 111 to strengthen and expand the country’s Child Protection System and Service for children and their families. New additions include functions such as the document library where users can access materials focused on child online safety skills and how to prevent child abuse, plus a phone book with contacts of people who can support children and users. AI has also been introduced with a chatbot interacting with users (in the future the callbot function will be added to assist calls).

Vietnam’s National Child Helpline’s dedicated mobile app, ‘App 111’ or ‘Tong dai 111’, is helping children protect themselves against harm and report any safety concerns.


Ms. Thao, the Deputy Head of the National Child Helpline, says the upgrade is a significant step forward in improving the performance and features of the Helpline system: “The changes have created a better user experience and improved our working processes.”

“This app is great! Other than reporting concerns about children, my children and I have also gained child protection knowledge and skills through the document library.”

Mr. Luan

App 111 is not only an invaluable aid to children and Helpline staff, but also to carers and parents like Mr. Luan, who lives in the Kim Boi district, Hoa Binh province.

“This app is great! Other than reporting concerns about children, my children and I have also gained child protection knowledge and skills through the document library,” says Mr. Luan.

In addition to upgrades to App 111, new case management software is gradually demonstrating the power of technology in enhancing the effectiveness of child protection work. Ms. Phuong, a Social Work Officer in Kim Boi district, says the case management software has helped streamline their documentation process.

“It’s much more practical. Instead of sending hard copies of documents, as was traditionally done, the software allows users to export data and store files of current and past cases,” she explains. “Now, I can easily monitor the status of cases and generate reports when required.”

The Department of Child Affairs will continue to enhance and expand Helpline’s App 111 and case management software to help create a safer and brighter future for children across Vietnam.

You can read more about the Helpline app here.