Is volunteer work with children in Jamaica right for me?
Are you interested in learning more about early childhood development? Do you want to gain practical childcare experience? Do you want to help those in need at the same time? Childcare in Jamaica lets you do just that.
You’ll get to gain valuable experience in childcare, and can also work on personal skills like leadership, teamwork, and planning. If you love children and have all the energy in the world for them, this project is for you.
You don’t need previous experience. You’ll work alongside local teachers and caregivers, and you can reach out to Projects Abroad staff at any time. We also run regular workshops for all Childcare and Teaching volunteers. Here, you’ll can learn more about childcare, exchange ideas, and discuss challenges.
This project runs throughout the year, and you can join at any time from a minimum of one week. We encourage you to stay longer, so you can have a bigger impact on the children you work with.
What will I do on the Childcare Project in Jamaica?
The specific work you do will depend on your placement. These are some of the main tasks you’ll do:
- Support the work of local teachers by focusing on early childhood development and literacy
- Help increase the quality of life for those living with learning disabilities
- Work at a home for the elderly to provide care and friendship
Your work will focus on these main areas:
Support local teachers by focusing on early childhood development and literacy
Early childhood is extremely important in the development of a child’s life. It lays the foundation for their future learning, wellbeing, and success. At your placement in Jamaica, you can help facilitate activities that allow children to learn. You can focus on areas like counting, the alphabet, and improving hand-eye coordination.
You can also put together learning materials like colourful posters and flashcards. Staff and other volunteers can continue to use these long after you’ve left.
We monitor the progress of each individual child in our Global Impact Database. You’ll update the database based on the work you do.
Provide assistance to local staff working with children with special needs
You can help out at a facility which treats children who have mental, physical, and learning disabilities. The severity of the disabilities varies.
You can help run interactive activities that enhance the growth and development of the children. Some of these children might require physiotherapy, specialised education plans, and may be on individual diets. Staff would greatly benefit from an extra pair of helping hands.
Work at a home for the elderly to provide care and support to its members
The elderly are often neglected and they desperately need extra support. You can play a key role in doing activities with the elderly that stimulate them mentally, socially, and physically. You can do things like:
- Organise games
- Read to the residents
- Engage in conversations
- Take individuals for walks
Where needed, you can also assist with feeding during mealtimes.
Where in Jamaica will I work?
Most of our placements on this project are in the university town of Mandeville.
In Mandeville, you’ll work at a day care centre, pre-school, special needs school, or a home for the elderly. The education-based centres where we work are publicly run facilities. Some are understaffed, with few resources, so they need additional support.
The home for the elderly is a government institution that provides for those who are not able to earn an income due to mental or physical challenges. There are usually around 100 members there at any given time.
Jamaica is famous for its beautiful white beaches, and its lush green interior is equally special. The people of Jamaica are warm, friendly, and extremely welcoming. You’ll get to experience the laid-back culture, and let reggae rhythms guide you through your trip.
During your free time, you can discover majestic waterfalls on hikes or relax on idyllic beaches. Some memorable places to visit include Portland, Ocho Rios, Negril, YS Falls, and Treasure Beach.
What will my typical day be like?
Your day’s activities will depend on where you are placed. You’ll typically work for about five to six hours a day, starting in the morning around 8am. You will work until about 2pm.
Each day will be different, and you can do different activities every day. We encourage you to rotate between fun games and learning activities. You can also incorporate song, dance, and sports into the children’s day.
You’ll spend every evening back at your host family, where you can enjoy home cooked meals and chat about your day’s activities.
During your free time, you can explore the town. You can go on hikes and explore amazing waterfalls, or relax on beautiful white beaches. We also run regular socials for all of our volunteers and interns that you’re welcome to join.
Aims and Impact of the Childcare Project in Jamaica
The main aim of this project is to strengthen the educational foundations of children in Jamaica. This will ensure that children are better prepared to cope with the demands of primary school.
In Jamaica, many communities are severely disadvantaged. This causes many associated social problems, including a lack quality education for young children. Parents can’t afford to send children to daycare centres and pre-schools. With your support, we hope to break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy and other problems in education.
Through our Global Impact Database, we monitor the progress of every child that our volunteers work with. You will help us add to the database by tracking your own work.
This project also addresses the need to support the elderly in Jamaica. Many of the people at the organisation we work with have been neglected, and aren’t able to provide for themselves.
As laid out in our Childcare Management Plan for Jamaica, we’ve identified five sustainable goals we hope to achieve:
- Promote early childhood development
- Improve hygiene levels of the children
- Raise awareness of healthy living, the environment, and family planning
- Improve the quality of life for those living with disabilities
- Increase emotional care and support to each child
Support children in Jamaica as a volunteer and help us work towards these long-term goals.
Volunteering for professionals
This project is also perfect for qualified professionals. With your skills backing up our ongoing efforts, we can make an even bigger difference together. We'll match you to the placement where your skills are needed most.
This means you can share your training and and knowledge with others. You can work hand-in-hand with our partner organisations and local communities to support sustainable development.
If you have relevant skills or qualifications, read more about how you can make use of them with Projects Abroad.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
When you think of the tropical Caribbean, Jamaica is one of the first countries that comes to mind. With its white-sand beaches and vibrant culture, this island nation has a lot to offer. It’s an amazing location to volunteer in, and explore during your free time.
The local cuisine is definitely worth trying, with tasty dishes like Jamaican patties and jerk chicken. You can enjoy these at seaside restaurants and then head down to the sea for a cooling swim in the ocean.
With a rich culture and friendly locals, exploring markets and museums is a must-do. Visiting the famous Bob Marley Museum in Kingston makes for an enlightening weekend trip. While you’re there, you can also tour Fort Charles and the National Heroes Park.
There will be other volunteers working on different projects in Jamaica while you’re there. This means you can choose to explore independently or connect with other volunteers and travel as a group.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Jamaica
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