At a glance
- Work in kindergartens and primary schools, focusing on helping children who struggle with reading, writing, and counting.
- Play games, hold arts and crafts lessons, or build a puzzle to help build a solid foundation for their education.
- Contribute to our long-term plan in Belize to help solve the problem of low rates of literacy and numeracy in young children.
Completely flexible datesSee Dates
Anyone aged 16 or over can join
Is volunteering with children in Belize right for me?
Volunteer work with children in Belize is right for you if you enjoy working with children, and want to help others while travelling in the Caribbean. You’ll gain plenty of childcare experience, which can help your future career. This is a great way to see if a career in childcare or teaching is for you. Best of all, you’ll become part of our long-term efforts to support children in Belize.
You don’t need any previous experience or qualifications to join. However, you need to speak at least basic English to run literacy lessons.
Don’t worry about being left alone in the classroom! You’ll work with local teachers and caregivers, and you can reach out to Projects Abroad staff for advice and help at any time. You’ll have access to an online database with resources you can use. We also run regular workshops for all of our Childcare and Teaching volunteers. You can exchange ideas, discuss challenges, and more.
This project runs throughout the year, and you can join at any time from a minimum of two weeks. We encourage you to stay longer, so you can have a bigger impact on the children.
What will I do on this project?
You'll be based in one of several kindergartens or primary schools in San Pedro. You'll have a supervisor there who will help you plan activities for the children. Here is what you could get up to:
- Work with small groups of children during literacy and numeracy lessons
- Play educational games and sports to promote overall development
- Track each child’s progress using development checklists
- Make posters, flashcards, and colourful murals, which you can use during lessons
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Teach children to read, write, and count
You’ll work closely with young children, teaching them English and numeracy. For example, you could run lessons with small groups of students. With the help of your project supervisor, you can express your creativity by coming up with exciting ways to make lessons fun for both you and your students. You’ll also personalise your lessons so that you can focus on what each child is struggling with.
For example, you could draw different fruits and vegetables together and use your pictures to teach children about colours and the names of food. Or do addition and subtraction sums using seashells to make learning visual.
Stimulate the children’s overall development through play
Learning isn’t all about words and sums. Children learn through play, so games, sports, and art lessons help their physical and mental development. It’s all about giving children a chance to explore the world and their abilities, and building their confidence at the same time.
You could run arts and crafts lesson to make animal masks and use these to put on a play with the children. Or compete in a three-legged race to teach teamwork and promote physical development.
Assess children and identify specific placement needs
One of the ways in which we keep track of the children’s development and the specific needs of placements is through specially designed checklists. We will train you how to use these checklists. You will assess the status of each child on a daily basis in areas related to:
- Motor skills
- Emotional abilities
- Social skills
During regular workshops with our local team, you’ll upload this information to our Global Impact Database. This database enables us to keep track of each child’s development, and track the work we do throughout the world on all of our different projects. Read more about how the database works.
Improve the learning environment
You'll also create resources to help improve the learning environment. Get out the coloured cardboard, crayons, and glitter glue! Make fun flash cards, put up posters about the importance of hygiene, or design your own educational game. The sky’s the limit for the creative ways you can make educational resources and the placements can continue to use these long after you’ve finished your project.
Where in Belize will I be working?
Our Childcare Project is based in San Pedro, a small beach town in Ambergris Caye, the largest island off the coast of Belize. The town is home to over 15,000 people. As you explore the streets, you’ll see locals zooming past on bikes or golf carts, which are common forms of transport in this area.
The communities you will work in can look drastically different from idyllic postcards, with rough, muddy terrain often littered with rubbish. Volunteer work with children in Belize is challenging but an extremely eye-opening experience.
You’ll work with children in kindergartens and primary schools. They’ll be less developed than the schools you’re used to, making your role there even more important.
A typical day on the Childcare Project in Belize
On a typical day, you’ll wake up with the sound of waves lapping the shore and the calls of seagulls as your alarm clock. Your host mother might have a plate of fresh fruit set out on the kitchen table. You’ll have breakfast with your host family, while they teach you Spanish vocabulary and you tell them about life in your home country.
Your volunteer work will usually take up four to six hours of your day. This is an example of what your week on this project could look like:
- Monday: Work with children in the classroom and gather data for development checklists, which form part of our Global Impact Database.
- Tuesday: Work through literacy exercises with the children in small groups.
- Wednesday: Work through the literacy programme with students and join a workshop about childcare with your Project Supervisor.
- Thursday: Work through the literacy programme in the morning and spend the afternoon monitoring children’s development while running fun activities.
- Friday: Continue working through development activities and monitoring the children. After this, you will go back to the Projects Abroad office to input the week’s data into the database.
You’ll do all of your lesson preparation at our office, where you’ll have access to materials and internet.
Your weekends will be free, giving you the chance to explore Belize. Dive along the Belize Barrier Reef or relax on the white-sand beaches as you watch the sun setting over the sea. Have dinner with your host family, and learn more about the different volunteers sharing in this experience with you.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The aim of this project is to improve the literacy, numeracy, and early childhood development of children in San Pedro.
In Belize, many young students are often immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. They struggle with literacy, especially in English, and need extra support. However, local teachers are often overwhelmed. Classrooms are overcrowded, making it more difficult to give struggling students more attention.
On top of that, many parents are illiterate themselves and work several jobs to keep their families afloat. This means that parents don’t have the skills or time to support young children with learning at home.
As a volunteer, you’ll help us tackle these issues and contribute to our mission to provide children with sustainable educational support and care. As described in our Childcare Management Plan for Belize, you’ll work with us to achieve four goals:
- Increase literacy
- Promote early childhood development
- Raise awareness of healthy living, the environment, and family planning
- Improve English
Help us achieve these long-term goals by joining a volunteer opportunity with children in Belize.
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
Belize is a beautiful tropical country bordered by the clear, blue Caribbean Sea. There are plenty of ways to spend your free time here, whether you’re a beach lover, a culture buff, or an adventure seeker.
During your free time, you can go snorkelling along the colourful Belize Barrier Reef. For a more relaxed atmosphere, you can spend time on one of the white-sand beaches, sipping freshly squeezed papaya juice in the warm sun.
There are also plenty of cultural activities, so you can get a glimpse into the history and heritage of the country. You can visit Mayan ruins or spend the day wandering through an art gallery or museum.
During your trip, you’ll be surrounded by volunteers from around the world. So you can choose to explore independently or with volunteers from our different projects in Belize.
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.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.
Meet the team in Belize
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