Saskia, a teaching assistant - and our volunteer of the year in 2016, explains why she enjoys volunteering at PLP.
“Volunteering gave me the chance to show my kids (and I guess my husband as well, if am being totally honest) that I could be something else as well as a Mummy. Not that being a stay-at-home Mum was not good enough … I just wanted to show them that I could also have responsibilities outside our home! And you should have seen them when I showed them my class … I think I needed to prove myself that I could work again.
I was really looking forward to having colleagues and making my brain function in a different way!
Volunteering also gave me the opportunity to give something back to PLP. It is not a regular English school but a great community/ family … especially when you arrive from abroad and you do not know anyone in the area!
A year after we started coming to PLP I decided to offer my time! I was so happy with my kids’ experience in PLP, with what volunteers brought to them that it came naturally for me – I wanted to make a difference in other kids’ lives! What a blessing it has been so far… I have met amazing people: kids, parents and board members. It is so rewarding to see these little ones struggling with the phonics at one point and then being able to read!
Regardless of your motivation, you will find volunteering in PLP both challenging and rewarding! Welcome to this amazing adventure where you will develop new skills or build on existing experience or knowledge!”
Do I need to be a teacher to volunteer at PLP?
Not at all! We provide training for our teacher volunteers. And there is a wide range of volunteer roles available. If you want to volunteer and are unsure what you can do, get in touch!
How much time will volunteering take?
We know that families with young chidlren are extremely busy and often juggle multiple roles and activities, including paid work. Therefore, we aim to make volunteering at PLP as easy as possible. Class preparation is minimal as we provide the detailed curriculum and all teaching materials. Weekly themes, craft materials and support for playgroup are also provided.
Most parents volunteer whilst their own children are in class at PLP; our enrolment policy in any case requires a designated carer to stay at PLP during the full session for safety reasons. To provide continuity for the chidlren, we do ask volunteers to commit for a whole academic year.
What support will I receive?
All materials such as the curriculum, weekly lesson plans and teaching materials are provided following a curriculum planed by our Curriculum Coordinator. All volunteers attend a training day in September. We also provide on-going support during the year, including informal monthly meetings that volunteers can choose to attend for guidance or support and to share tips and advice. Our Director, Curriculum Coordinator and Literacy Coordinator are also there to provide support whenever it is needed.
I am not an English native speaker. Can I help? What about my Nanny?
Yes! You do not need to be a native English speaker. You just need to be fluent, willing to learn and like children! If you employ an English speaking au-pair or nanny, they may relish the opportunity to get some practical teaching experience.
When can I become a volunteer?
Volunteer positions are usually organised alongside our annual registration process (in May-June).
Sometimes vacancies arise during the year – so please let us know if you are interested in volunteering. Specific positions may be advertised here.
I want to volunteer! How do I sign up?
You can indicate that you want to volunteer on your enrolment form when you register for PLP. You can also use the enrolment form to let us know if you have any specialized skills or experience that you think could be of help,
You can also contact us for more information.
Each playgroup has two volunteers who collaborate to lead and organise the sessions. In addition, to the 90 minute playgroup session, the volunteers may require a limited amount of extra time to communicate with the parents and the PLP board.
How can I volunteer in the literay classes?
Each literacy class has a two literacy volunteers who teach the class as a team. For each PLP session, we also have one “floating” volunteer who helps with the library or other tasks to support the literacy classes.
How long will it take?
As well as committing to attending the 90 minute class each week, we estimate that volunteers would require around one hour of additional time each week for class preparation and to send a weekly email to parents and to read communications from the PLP team.
Usually, people volunteer whilst their own children are attending classes at PLP.
Do I need teaching experience to volunteer in the literacy classes?
We welcome volunteers with a teaching background, but this is not a pre-requisite. In some cases, our volunteers have embarked on teacher training and a career in teaching following their experience at PLP!
Does PLP provide training for the volunteers?
PLP provides a structured training and support programme for all our teachers and assistants to simplify class preparation and to make teaching fun. Three sessions are held throughout the year to learn about PLP and the phonics programme and to share tips and ideas.
How does PLP support its volunteers?
Our volunteers are not alone! They are all part of the PLP team.
We provide ongoing support :
PLP is entirely run by volunteers. These roles are flexible and involve ad hoc tasks related to the area of responsibility and, in some cases, attendance at board meetings, rather than regular attendance at PLP. These roles take place behind the scences and are vitally important to keep PLP runnign smoothly!