Volunteer teaching in Costa Rica in a rural primary school
The connections of our in-country coordinator mean Outreach International is privileged to provide volunteer support to two small, rural primary schools in Costa Rica.
Extra curricular activities in sports, arts, drama and activities which offer critical thinking and creativity are now missing from the national curriculum, so volunteers are encouraged to develop and deliver these activities for the children, in addition to supporting English lessons.
The teachers develop and deliver a curriculum in 3 month blocks so with advanced notice a programme of work can be developed with knowledge of the volunteer’s skills and experiences in mind.
The size of the schools mean that a volunteer teaching in Costa Rica will share an intimate experience with the class, and be able to make a real impact. One school has just 10 children being taught in a single classroom, while the other has 55 children aged between 4 and 13 years old, who all get taught between two classrooms.
The children are well behaved and well looked after but not particularly stretched, in part due to the mixed age classes and the ratio of staff to pupils. Located near to each other, a volunteer would support both schools, cycling between them.
This volunteering opportunity is ideal for volunteers with a mature outlook who want to experience the real Costa Rica.
A programme of activities will be agreed locally between the volunteer and the head teachers. You will help the teachers with their general classes which includes working with children of mixed ages and abilities.
Volunteers can be instrumental in delivering English lessons, and importantly giving the children time to practice speaking English with a native speaker. English lessons could for the basis of an after-school club.
If the Spanish skills are adequate it may be possible to teach the whole class. Otherwise the volunteers will act as teaching assistants for the main class activities.
Given the lack of state support, volunteers are requested to help design and deliver extra-curricular activities that provide a creative and sporting ability in the children. Arts & crafts activities, music, drama, and sport activities are all welcomed as providing an alternative to the standard lessons.
The resource limits and state curriculum mean the children are offered a limited education with no cultural, language or sporting opportunities outside of what the volunteer can provide. Creativity is missing from the usual curriculum.
Volunteers therefore bring an added dimension to the school lives of these children, stimulating interests and talents that so many children in more developed countries take for granted. You will helping discover new talents in them, as well as yourself.
I just wanted to let you know that I finished my last day of volunteering here in Costa Rica today. It's been a fantastic experience and I cannot fault anything!, Student, Costa Rica