Volunteers who dedicate time and energy at a daycare center in Samana have an opportunity to make an important difference in the lives of children even with little Spanish skills!
This voluntary role is very rewarding if you enjoy interacting with children, guiding them as they grow and learn. Volunteers usually perform a variety of duties as they assist a daycare supervisor, teacher or primary caretaker. Our aim is to provide educational assistance and help create an environment where children can be supported through early childhood development (ECD) which refers to the physical, psychological, cognitive and social development that a child experiences between birth and school-going age.
The 6 principles of child development are: Emotional and Social Development, Language Skills Development, Cognitive Skills Development Physical Development, Motor Skill Development, Self Help Development.
ECD often focuses on learning through play based on the research and philosophy of Jean Piaget, which posits that play meets the physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social needs of children. Children learn more efficiently and gain more knowledge and develop cognitively through activities such as dramatic play, art, and social games.
ECD has the capacity to pre-emptively close the educational achievement gap between low and high-income students before formal schooling begins. (Children of low socioeconomic status (SES) often begin school already behind their higher SES peers; on average, by the time they are three, children with high SES have three times the number of words in their vocabularies as children with low SES.)
What to expect
Working hours can be all day but you can choose to assist half days and spend the rest of the day at the beautiful palm fringed beaches of the area! As a volunteer you will help the local staff in providing love, care and much needed attention to the children. Volunteer work varies from day to day but you would be generally acting as mentors for the children, provide individual love and affection for the children, organize different activities for the children, help the local staff in their work and make suggestions to them for improvement. Volunteers spend their time taking care of children, usually playing games and reading them books. Also, volunteers will assist the staff as needed. The volunteers will work from Monday to Friday, at least 4-5 hours a day but are welcome to work full days. At times, the volunteer will work more or less hours, depending on the coordinators needs. Volunteers who dedicate time and energy at a daycare center have an opportunity to make an important difference in the lives of children. This voluntary role requires dedication but it is very rewarding if you enjoy interacting with children and guiding them as they grow and learn.
Activities can include but are not limited to
- Assist with age-appropriate activities like arts and crafts, reading, writing, dancing, singing, playing games
- Take care of children and assisting the local staff in everyday activities
- Help monitoring children to ensure they remain safe as they go about their activities
- Research, plan and prepare educational, development and care-related activities
- Assist stock supplies and help with cleanup of school rooms or play areas
- Help staff during meal times and assist toddlers and preschoolers
- Engage children in interactive activities and read books to them
- Engage the children in whatever activity or skill you possess, such as dancing, singing, painting.
Financial Contribution & Benefits
Aldeas de Paz works hard to keep the required financial contribution to an absolute minimum and to offer financial transparency by practicing an open book policy. The calculation of your financial contribution or donation is set up so that the longer you stay, the less you give per week. We do this to encourage longer stays, recognizing that longer stays lead to more significant volunteer work and more energy contributed in the form of donated time in place of money! The minimum contribution starts at €140 per week and includes Spanish language classes, double room at one of our fully equipped guesthouse apartments, a special program donation as well as a personal welcome service and pick-up at the airport, transfer to the bus, bus fare and free transfer to your placement location in Las Terrenas or Samana. If you wish a single room upgrade add €50 per week and an all in Host Family homestay upgrade is €150 per week, including a private bedroom and two meals per day. For more information about costs and benefits check out our webpage
What is included
- Welcome Service at the airport and transport to your placement location
- Volunteer or Internship placement
- Accommodation of your choice
- Placement introduction, training, supervision, briefings and meetings
- Free regular Spanish lessons throughout your placement
- Free Wifi and use of washing machine at all our facilities
- Certificate, written reference and student credit
- Information about adventure packages
- Full support and 24/7 backup from local staff
Spanish language classes: Volunteers and interns receive free language lessons every week. The classes focus on developing communication skills so that students are able to put their knowledge to practical use as soon as they step outside the classroom. Our teaching method enables students to develop four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The idea is to learn Spanish in a natural and spontaneous way, just as students have learned their mother tongue. Our students are encouraged to speak Spanish right from the very first day, using it in typical real-life situations: the basic syllabus is supplemented by special exercises, such as role-play, situational dialogues and work projects. Outside the classroom, the learning process continues as you are immersed in the Spanish language and the Dominican culture.
No previous experience or special skills are required. Basic Spanish skills are helpful but not mandatory. We provide free Spanish classes on a regular basis, full support and 24/7 backup. However, all that is truly necessary is enthusiasm, self-reliance, patience and an open mind. An ideal volunteer is proactive and result-focused. We welcome individual volunteers, families and groups regardless of age, experience or background. You are welcome to bring some arts & crafts materials.
Volunteer placement or internship
Most of our participants join as volunteers and are free to commit from between 20 to 40 hours per week. That’s up to you! As an intern however you most probably have to fulfill requirements set by your school or university. Please inform us of your school or university internship requirements in advance so that we can work out your personalized work plan together. Also tell us about your personal expectations and goals and we will see how we can help you achieve them.
Time Commitment: A minimum of 2 weeks commitment is required
Availability/Holidays:The Daycare Center remains open all year!
Placement Location: Samana