Volunteer to work with pre-school children in Galapagos
The Galapagos have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. They offer some of the most interesting and most beautiful places in the world for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Yet the impression you get as a hosted tourist is deceptive. Most of the locals still live with very basic facilities and low income. The significant income generated from tourism does not trickle down to the majority of island residents. Many of the tour boats and hotels are owned/operated by tour companies and individuals who take the money back to the mainland. The majority of the island population are forced to cope on low wages from menial jobs, while suffering the high prices that come from necessarily importing the vast majority of goods.
Improving social welfare programmes mean that kindergartens/pre-school nurseries are available free of charge to all families. This helps free the women to work to boost the family income. The level of care is at a minimum, however, with perhaps one staff member being responsible for 20-30 children, aged 3-4 years – something that would not be accepted in our home countries.
Through our extensive network of island contacts Outreach International has a number of options for volunteer kindergarten placements across all three islands, including the opportunity to volunteer at an indigenous nursery school, providing an added cultural dimension.
This project is suitable for volunteers taking a gap year, volunteers under the age of 18, those wanting to work with children, teach English as a foregin language and learn Spanish. It is also a chance to experience living in Ecuador and experience the local culture.
Kindergartens for children aged 3-6 years old are available for volunteer participation in all three islands. Volunteers would assist the existing staff in all duties; running activities and games, arts & crafts, basic English lessons and Spanish lessons, plus helping with the feeding, cleaning and general care of a lively group of children.
This is definitely a role where attitude counts – volunteers need to be proactive and step forward and help in all things, given the large number of children in each class. Some of the nurseries are keen to provide basic English lessons to the children and volunteers can play an important role in this.
All the kindergartens have minimal staff ratios and volunteers enable more activities and a higher standard of care to be offered to the children. More attention can be offered to each child and a much greater level of stimulation and engagement offered, providing a better start in life for these children. All of the schools want to promote English even at the very young age, so volunteers can help provide basic English lessons and give the enthusiastic children a chance to practice with a native English speaker
My fondest memory will be just being in such a beautiful place surrounded by so many amazing people, my family, other volunteers, tourists and locals! To be honest there are too many amazing memories to recount!, Teaching in Galapagos