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Gap Year Childcare Volunteering

Volunteering with children can be a valuable and rewarding gap year experience. If you think this type of work appeals to you, our guide will help decide whether to apply for a project.

Is a Childcare project the right type of Gap year program for me?

Childcare projects are all about helping to improve the quality of life of impoverished children through teaching life skills and giving them the love and attention they crave.

This can be done in many ways, from coaching sports activities to providing care and support in orphanages.

Most of these projects do not require you to have any relevant skills and experience, although you need to have a passion for helping those less fortunate than others, as well as be understanding and open-minded to different cultures and attitudes. 

It also helps if you are kind, patient, caring and enjoy being around children.

There are many children around the world who are orphaned or neglected, and a care work project is an opportunity to take part in a worthwhile activity by making a significant and positive impact on the lives of underprivileged children.

This type of project is also great for sharpening your skills if you are considering a career in childcare or care work in general, not to mention good experience on your CV when you start applying for jobs.

What will I do during my Gap year project with children?

This depends to a certain extent on exactly which childcare project you choose to volunteer for and where it is.

However, most projects will require you to aid with several or more of the following:

  • Teaching academic subjects in classrooms at either nursery, primary or secondary school level
  • Teaching sports
  • Running after-school activities such as music, drawing, and painting
  • Assisting with basic daily care of children, including cooking, feeding and cleaning
  • Maintenance of schools and orphanage/childcare centres
  • Educating children in social skills and personal hygiene

There are likely to be other duties involved that vary between different projects, so check the details on each individual project webpage or contact the gap year company for more specific information on what you’ll be up to.

How long can I volunteer for?

For most projects, you can volunteer for as little as 1 week, or up to 12 weeks.

There are even some that allow you to volunteer for 12 months, although be careful, as some projects require you to volunteer for a minimum amount of time (usually 2 weeks or 1 month).

The length of time you spend volunteering may be determined by your budget, or if you have other gap year plans you wish to fit around it, such as retaking A levels or travelling.

Either way, it’s entirely your decision how long to spend on a volunteer placement.

How much does it cost?

This depends on how long you wish to volunteer for, where you go and which gap year agency you choose your project with.

You can expect to pay anything between £500 and £1000 for a 2 week period and up to £1,800 for a 12 week stay.

It’s a good idea to look at different companies that offer the same or similar project you would like to do, and compare prices in case one happens to fall within your budget.

However, whichever one you decide on, it is important to check what the cost includes.

Beware that fees for most projects will not include flights, visas, travel insurance, food and any extra activities or excursions during the programme.

So work out how much more money this will be on top of the project fee before booking a placement, because if it turns out to be more than you’ve budgeted, then you could lose your deposit if you have to pull out.

Check out our gap year guide for more help on deciding which gap year agency to use.

Where can I volunteer with children?

Due to the large number of gap year companies now in operation, there are opportunities for taking part in childcare projects all over the world.

However, most are run in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America, where they will be more beneficial to local children.

Projects range from teaching English in Sri Lankan primary schools, to caring for street children in Peru, so whatever you fancy, there’s bound to be something suitable for you.