Our volunteer Augustin decided to write an article to give his advice to future volunteers in kindergarten. He is 19 years old, from France and he is volunteering in kindergarten for 7 months. That's the reason why after some months there, he wants to share his experience.
It has been 7 months since I've started working in the kindergarten "Mali Artyści", based in Stargard.
In this article, I will relate to my first days of work in this place and my daily life over there. I'll also explain why I wish everyone (who own a minimum of patience and calm) to try once working in the area of education. I hope to be able to convey how much this place has been rewarding for me.
First of all, I would like to note that I had never experienced this kind of work before. However, to my opinion, it exists a contrast between the field of education and the others. In this sector, we can find a model in our past: we all have been in school, we (almost) all have met a good teacher. So here comes my first advice: if you feel stressed on your very first working day (or later), try to chill out by thinking "let's behave like him/her".
When I arrived in the different classrooms of the kindergarten to meet the children & teachers, some of the kids just came around me and hugged me. This move may seem trivial to you. I can tell you that while you feel kind of apprehensive, at this very moment, it is the sweetest thing.
Another fear that I believe, everyone felt, comes from the language barriers. Indeed, we are European volunteers coming from different countries. None of us do speak Polish. Moreover, this language isn't known as the easiest. When we had enough to complain about it, we have to go through this pain as we can survive all along the year.
In Mali Artyści, I'm helping two different classes. My children are from 3 to 6 years old. My approach with the younger kids has to be different from with the older ones. The contrast between them about autonomy and communication skills is real. But if you stay patient, focus, and careful, you'll manage everything well!
My tasks in this place are various. What I daily do is basically playing with them, teaching some English or french basic words (they even teach me some polish in return!), cuddling them during naptime, helping kindergarten's staff, singing songs with them, etc. Take advantage of your skills: if you can draw, play music, dance or anything, imagine and build an activity around it.
7 months have passed, and I've already seen them growing up and this is so pleasant. This experience is unique because you are learning while teaching. If you feel like involving yourself in this project, don't be afraid or hesitant. You are going to learn and achieve much more than you expect.