Children play on the swings under the supervision of a volunteer working with children in Costa Rica

Volunteer with Children in Costa Rica

Live in central America and prepare children for school by teaching important early childhood development skills

Volunteer with children in Costa Rica and work at a kindergarten, care centre or special education centre. Here, you’ll plan and run educational activities that support early childhood development. This way, you’ll become part of our ongoing efforts to support children in Costa Rica.


The centres and kindergartens we work with are often overcrowded and understaffed. Teachers are unable to provide individualised attention for each child, so struggling students fall behind. You’ll act as an extra pair of helping hands for local teachers and caregivers. With your help, the children who are struggling will be able to learn in smaller groups. You can also help support disabled children at a special needs centre, or help at a centre for the elderly.


While in Costa Rica, you’ll live in the gorgeous city of Heredia with a local host family. They’ll introduce you to this so-called ‘city of flowers’ and can give you advice on the best places to visit during your stay.


Children aged 3-14 must be accompanied by at least one adult paying full price

We offer discounts for families and groups of friends travelling together. Call us on 1 877 921 9666 for more info.

When you apply you only pay $295, which comes off the total price.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 1 877 921 9666 to see if we can offer a discount.

Project Overview

Start Dates:

Completely flexible dates

Minimum Duration:

Two Weeks

Placement Location:

Heredia (Read More)

Accommodation:

Host family Read More

Requirements :

Anyone aged over 16 can join
You will need to speak basic Spanish to work with children with special needs.

What's included in the price?
  • Accommodation

  • Food (three meals a day)

  • Travel and medical insurance

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off

  • Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival

  • Transport to and from your work placement

  • In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff

  • Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team

  • Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources

  • Training and workshops from our experienced local staff

  • Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns

  • Access to our local office with internet connection

  • Certification of project completion

  • Access to our alumni services and discounts

  • Visa support and advice

  • Fundraising support, including your own personalized fundraising website

  • Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor

  • Personalized MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination

  • A free cultural awareness course

  • Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch

  • Support to help you complete registration or internship documents, if applicable

What's not included?
  • Flights

  • Visa costs (where applicable)

Is volunteer work with children in Costa Rica right for me?

If you have loads of energy, and enjoy the antics of little ones, Childcare in Costa Rica is perfect for you. You’ll support our early childhood development goals, which will give you practical childcare experience. This is especially useful if you’re planning on working professionally with children in the future. 


If you have no experience in childcare, no problem. You’ll be supporting the work of local teachers and caregivers. Projects Abroad staff members will also be close at hand to help you. Throughout your stay, our staff will host regular workshops to help you. You’ll also have access to our database filled with educational resources like games and arts and crafts.


This project runs all year round, so you can choose when you would like to join from a minimum of two weeks. However, we recommend staying longer, so you can make a bigger impact on the project.

Volunteer opportunities include reading books with children in Costa Rica

What will I do on the Childcare Project in Costa Rica?

Your primary role will be to provide additional support to the local teachers and caregivers at kindergartens and care centres. Here are a few things you can expect to do during your time there:


  • Focus on basic education
  • Plan fun activities that teach the children basic development skills
  • Assist with important day-to-day practical tasks to help run the centres more smoothly
  • Work with disabled or special-needs children in a special education centre, or volunteer at a centre for the elderly


Your volunteer childcare work in Costa Rica will focus on the following areas:


Increase literacy and numeracy


Reading, writing, and counting are essential skills. You’ll help children learn these skills, so they’re better equipped to cope with the demands of the first year when they start school. You’ll focus on those who are struggling by teaching literacy and numeracy to small groups.


Contribute to early childhood development


Fun activities that teach children basic skills are a fundamental aspect of a child’s development. By making your lessons entertaining, you’ll keep the children engaged in what they’re learning.


You’ll help the teachers and caregivers organise:


  • Physical activities that encourage teamwork and the development of fundamental movement skills (like catching, throwing, and balance)
  • Music lessons that encourage creativity
  • Arts and crafts that teach the children about colours and shapes, and how to use their imagination


Assist with day-to-day care centre tasks


You’ll often be asked to assist the local staff with day-to-day duties such as serving food, washing up, and cleaning. This is essential to the daily running of the care centres.


Alternatively work with special needs children or with the elderly


Apart from working with younger children at care centres, you can be placed at a special needs centre. Here, you’ll help care for babies, children, and young adults with disabilities such as Down's Syndrome. You’ll provide much-needed support to the staff.


At the centre for the elderly, members are aged between about 65 and 90 years old. They really appreciate the company of our volunteers. They enjoy activities such as light physical exercise, card games and bingo, and arts and crafts. You may also be asked to help out with fundraising events and administrative and maintenance tasks from time to time. If requested, you might even be able to assist in the centre’s physiotherapy sessions.

Where will I work in Costa Rica?

Heredia

Childcare volunteer work in Costa Rica happens in and around the city of Heredia. Heredia is just 10km from northern San Jose at the foothills of the extinct Brava Volcano.


One of Costa Rica’s most historical cities, Heredia was founded in 1705. It’s renowned for the many beautiful gardens and wonderful flora found around here. Located in central Costa Rica amidst vast coffee plantations and lush greenery, the city has a well developed tourist industry. However, poverty is a challenge many people face. There is always a need for extra assistance at local care centres, many of which lack resources.


If you’re interested in working with special-needs children or the elderly, there are also various suitable placements. Many of these placements are basic and understaffed. This means that the children often don’t receive the individual support they need.

AIRPORT PICKUP, FLIGHTS AND VISAS Costa Rica

When volunteering in Costa Rica, your arrival airport will be Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). You will be met at the airport by a Projects Abroad staff member. You can find more detailed information on flights, arrival airports, orientation, and visas, on our Costa Rica Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day as a Childcare volunteer in Costa Rica

Your day will start with a traditional Costa Rican breakfast, enjoyed with your local host family. After this, you’ll catch a bus to the placement where you’ll be working. On your first day, our staff will accompany you on your work commute. They’ll ensure you’re comfortable and know your way around.


A typical day will run from about 7 or 8am to 5pm, coinciding with kindergarten and daycare centre hours.


The aim of each day is to contribute to the development of young children that will help them succeed in the school system. You’ll do this through:


  • Reading and role play activities that teach basic English
  • Counting games that teach basic addition and subtraction
  • Sports that improve kids’ balance and other fundamental movement skills
  • Arts, crafts, or music lessons that enhance creativity and imaginative thinking


Evenings and weekends are your free time to relax and explore with new friends. You can easily reach the impressive Poas and Irazu volcanoes on a day-trip from Heredia. Elsewhere, numerous popular tourist destinations, such as Arenal volcano and Monteverde cloud forest, are only a few hours bus ride away.


You’ll also never be too far from the coast in Costa Rica. Spoilt for choice by the number of idyllic beaches, you'll have plenty of opportunity for water-based activities like surfing, swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving. The laid-back life of Costa Rica is infectious and you’ll find it hard to leave!

Volunteers and the children play with colourful balls as part of their Childcare volunteer work in Costa Rica

What are the aims and impact of this project?

The aim of this project is to improve early childhood development in disadvantaged communities in and around Heredia. We do this by helping local teachers and caregivers offer young children a well-rounded educational experience.


In Costa Rica, kindergartens and care centres are often overcrowded. This means local teachers and caregivers struggle to divide their attention equally. Because of this, certain children are not able to get the extra support they need.


We’re working to change this with the help of volunteers like you. To guide our work, we’ve identified five sustainable, long-term goals that you’ll work towards:


  • Promote early childhood development
  • Increase literacy
  • Increase numeracy
  • Raise awareness about healthy living, the environment and family planning
  • Improve the quality of life for those living with disabilities


Help us achieve these long-term goals by working as a Childcare volunteer in Costa Rica.

A Projects Abroad volunteer with children in Costa Rica, helps a young boy with his balance

Management Plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.


Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring Our Impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.


Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION

You'll stay with a host family in Heredia. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica and have a truly unique experience.


We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.  


Your programme fee includes three meals a day.


Find out more about our accommodation.

LEISURE ACTIVITIES AND FREE TIME

With more than 25% of its land protected in national parks, Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise. It has everything from volcanoes to tropical rainforests, and magnificent waterfalls to beautiful sandy beaches. This tiny country is also renowned for its biodiversity and boasts an array of wildlife.


The vibrant city of Heredia, where most of our projects are based, is situated in the heart of Costa Rica’s coffee-growing country. With its large student population and close proximity to the exciting capital city of San Jose, Heredia has an active cultural and social scene.


You can easily reach the impressive Poas and Irazu volcanoes on a day-trip from Heredia. Many other popular tourist destinations, such as Arenal volcano and Monteverde cloud forest, are only a few hours bus ride away.


You're never far from the coast in Costa Rica. Spoilt for choice by the number of idyllic beaches, you'll have plenty of opportunities for water-based activities like surfing, swimming, or scuba diving in your free time.


There will likely be other volunteers in Costa Rica with you. So you can choose to explore on your own or as a group.

SAFETY AND STAFF SUPPORT

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.


Find out more about safety and backup.

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