This project, located in José León Suárez, was born in 2001. The founder, Liliana, had previously worked with youths and realized that many had to bring their children with them to work and that the neighborhood lacked a place for parents to take their children during the day so that they could study or work. The kindergarten was opened to provide a safe place that parents needed, a place where their children could play, learn, and eat a healthy lunch.
This is how in 2007, the kindergarten was created for kids between the ages of 1 and 5 years old. Here they give them a safe place, food, and activities while the parents are at work or at school. Nowadays, this place also works as a soup kitchen later during the day where they help provide food for 50+ families. Right now they work with the municipality and they supply them with food and materials but something that needs to be taken into account is that this is not always the case and that everything changes when a different administration comes into office.
Why is this project important for the community?
The area where the kindergarten is located is relatively new and still developing. A majority of the workers that live here, work in construction, therefore they try to urbanize the area altogether. A major issue is dealing with waste, which is abundant and generates illnesses. This problem is also since the waste companies are private, therefore, the community inhabitants cannot afford to hire them and the government does not pay that either. Right now they consider their biggest issue is the amount of helping hands they have. It is very difficult to keep this place running with a small staff and a small budget as well. Hence the importance for them in receiving external help, such as volunteers, as their main objective is to take care of the children. It needs to be highlighted that they work with migrant families who are more vulnerable. Most families that go to the project are from Paraguay, Uruguay, Perú, and Bolivia who work in Buenos Aires.
In the past, the kindergarten has moved to various rented buildings, but on the 1st of August 2016, they could build the current place. When the land for the current building was first bought, it had little more than two walls, and although now the land has a proper building on it, the site is still in construction. The kindergarten currently has around 50 children aged 8 months to around 5 years old. The children are separated into 3 different rooms depending on age. There are 6 members of staff in total, ladies from the local area, 4 working in the rooms with the children, and two that prepare the food and other tasks.
Role of the Volunteer
With around 50 children to care for in slightly difficult surroundings, the kindergarten is always in need of a helping hand!
Here is what an average day would look like:
At 8 am the children arrive and the first thing that they do is eat breakfast all together at the tables in the main room.
After eating breakfast, the children go into their separate rooms to play. They play and do different activities until 10 am when they have snack time.
Snack time also takes place in the main room and all the children come together again, sitting at the tables and eating crisps, fruit, biscuits, crackers, or other small snack foods and drinking juice.
After snack time the children play more and often do craft activities like painting or coloring.
At around quarter to 12, all the children have lunch, again in the main room at the tables, the lunch is usually pasta or potatoes, meat or empanadas.
After lunch, the majority of the children take a nap. The children leave at various different times after lunch.
Here is a list of the different tasks available to volunteers:
Most often the kindergarten needs help in the rooms with the children helping to play. The volunteers spend time playing with the children, with toys or with craft activities and other games, and help keep the children entertained and safe. The activities vary depending on age and new activities introduced by the volunteers are very welcome!
Help to prepare lunch for the children- the lunch is prepared in the kindergarten by the kindergarten staff and each day they cook and prepare enough to give each child a good healthy meal; Helping to serve lunch- preparing the plates and giving them out to the children; Helping to clear up after meals- children can be very messy eaters! After the children have eaten the volunteer can help to clear the plates and clean the tables and floor.
What can you learn as a volunteer?
Volunteering at this kindergarten will give volunteers an opportunity to practice their Spanish, either in conversation with staff for those speaking a higher level of Spanish, or learning basic vocabulary with the children. Volunteers will quickly learn colors, animals, numbers, and dates, as well as useful phrases for helping and organizing children. You will also gain valuable experience caring for young children, keeping them safe and entertained with certain activities from observing how the ladies at the kindergarten care for the children. Volunteering at this kindergarten also offers the volunteer a chance to reflect on the differences compared to kindergartens at home, and experience the incredible work of the ladies in these areas.
Long term volunteers can apply for a soft skills certificate from GLORE, a Project from the EU. You can choose up to 5 skills to certificate according to your experience and will.
These are the soft skills that kindergarten volunteers are most likely to develop during the volunteer period:
- Critical Thinking
- Ethics and Work Commitment
- Learning to learn
- Multicultural Awareness
- Self Awareness
For this project volunteers will leave at 8 am and travel by public transport to the kindergarten, arriving at around 10 am. Volunteers will stay with the children until 12:30/1 pm.
Location and first day at work
The Center is located in Jose Leon Suarez, about 50-minute far from the center of Buenos Aires and accessible by public transport. On your first day, the volunteer's tutor will take you to the project so you learn how to travel by train, present you to the main coordinator and the teachers so you are confident to go by yourself the following days.
- Valid Passport & Visa: Most travelers do not need a visa to enter Argentina. Volunteers enter the country as tourists and can stay for up to 90 days. Extensions on visas are possible; our coordinators will advise you on this process.
- Medical Insurance: Voluntario Global requires the volunteer to have adequate medical insurance for the duration of the program and must be provided with details of such insurance coverage at the time of confirming their placement.
- Spanish Level Required: Spanish is not required, although it always helps to be able to communicate in Spanish on site.
- Minimum Stay: 2 weeks