If you have the time, I recommend volunteering. It’s great to have the opportunity to use your time to help others, and potentially make a big difference to someone else’s life. Last year I volunteered with the charity Coram Beanstalk, as a ‘story starter’. The role was based at a local primary school, and I volunteered in the nursery. I read to 3 children on a one-to-one basis, twice a week, for 20 minutes each. I really enjoyed the role. Coram Beanstalk volunteers provide one-to-one literacy support, in both early years settings and primary schools, to children who have fallen behind with their reading. At Coram Beanstalk you can volunteer as a Reading 321 reading helper or a Story Starter.
A Reading 321 reading helper volunteers for 90 minutes, twice a week, for 30 weeks. In this role, you support three children, aged between 5-11 years.
A Story Starter supports three children, aged between 3-5 years, on a one-to-one basis. They use play and stories to help develop and enrich the children’s use of language. The role involves volunteering at a local nursery/early years setting for one hour, twice a week, during nursery hours.
(Note: it is possible, in some areas, to offer a once a week volunteering opportunity, where you ‘buddy up’ with another volunteer who goes in on another day)
To find out more about volunteering with Coram Beanstalk, click on the following link: https://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/Pages/Category/about-volunteering
This academic year, as I am in the final year of my Early Childhood Foundation Degree, I felt that I could not commit to volunteering over 2 days; however, I knew that I would still like to volunteer. I had a look at what my options were and that is when I found out about ‘Warwick Volunteers’. I hadn’t even heard of Warwick Volunteers before that point! I had a look at what volunteering opportunities were available (and there are loads!) and I decided to sign up as a ‘Right to Read’ volunteer. In this role you can be placed in a primary or secondary school. I chose primary, as I am interested in the early years, and I have been placed in a local school listening to and supporting Year 1 students with their reading. This is my third week and I’m really enjoying it. The staff at the school have been really welcoming and the students are just lovely. It’s such a great experience and I would recommend it, if you have the time. Volunteering is a great way to give something back, and I think that you gain so many skills at the same time.
To find out more about volunteering through Warwick Volunteers, click on the following link: https://warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/
Also, it is worth mentioning, if you don’t have that much free time but you are still interested in volunteering, Warwick Volunteers offer a ‘one-off volunteering program’, which doesn’t require a regular commitment. For more information on ‘one-off volunteering’, follow this link: https://warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/volunteering/oneoffvolunteering/