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Childcare Volunteer Program in Jamaica - St Mary

Childcare Volunteer Program in Jamaica - St Mary

Excited to be a Childcare volunteer in Jamaica? International Volunteer HQ’s Childcare project empowers volunteers to assist in early childhood education centres in St Mary’s Parish. Volunteers gain experience caring for children and ease the workload for local staff by helping with daily tasks that support children to learn and grow in a fun and nurturing educational environment.

  • Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
  • Affordable fees from AU$824 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, daily breakfast, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Offer support, care and informal education to young children

  • Enjoy Jamaica’s laid-back atmosphere

  • Stay with other volunteers near James Bond Beach in St Mary

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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

Key information

Provide a safe space for children to learn
Based in kindergartens in St Mary
Dormitory-style volunteer house
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Fully hosted experience from AU$824 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 4 weeks
Blue Hole and other tours available
Up to 4 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers with plenty of energy and enthusiasm for interacting with young children, as well as an interest in early childhood education. You’ll be working closely with local teachers so you don’t need any training or experience to join this project.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Kindergartens are busy places, often with many children with many demands on the few staff working there. As a volunteer on the Childcare project in Jamaica, you will play an important role in assisting local teachers with informal learning and developmental activities. The children are aged between 3 - 5 years old and are full of energy and an enthusiasm for learning.

Childcare volunteer work can vary but your tasks will likely involve:

  • Assisting with arts and crafts
  • Singing songs
  • Reading stories
  • Arranging outdoor games
  • Preparing snacks

You’re encouraged to come prepared with ideas to bring to the classroom, which you can also discuss with the local team.

Please note that during school exams and holidays during early January, April, July to August, and late December, this project closes temporarily. You will need to choose another project to support if you can only travel in these times. Animal Care and Business and Community Development are available year-round, or volunteers can assist in a local summer camp for children between July and August.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

More than half of all children and teens do not meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Quality education provides an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment and is key to preventing poverty, securing long-term employment and improving quality of life.

Why do Childcare volunteering in St Mary with IVHQ?

When you’re a Childcare volunteer in Jamaica you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to early childhood education
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining childcare experience
  • Immersing yourself in Jamaican culture
  • Discovering the relaxed beauty of Ochos Rios

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Batsheva Myers
26 Apr 2024

I gained a deep appreciation for the inner child. I came to Jamaica hoping to grow, and grow I did. I learnt from the kids how to be unapologetic, unfiltered and follow my instincts, knowledge often lost into adulthood. I advise anyone who wishes to volunteer to come humbly, and without expectations, because such an experience will call for being present and open-minded. Volunteering challenges what you think you know about yourself, ultimately allowing you to get to know yourself in a new and wholesome way.

Jensine Matson
18 Sep 2023

This was my first solo trip, so I gained a stronger sense of independence. I would explain to someone hesitant about joining this program that you are protected and supported during your experience.

Heather Horsley
11 Jul 2023

The best part about the program was the connections I made. Connections with the students, the other volunteers and those involved with the program. We made lasting memories and more importantly, lasting friendships. I learned that I can step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I say just go for it. You won't regret it! Take the chance to learn something new about yourself, something about a new place and meet some new people.

Chaise Goris
23 Mar 2023

The local team was so wonderful! I felt right at home! They were always easy to communicate with and always checking in on us! I feel like I grew as a person and learned to live like a local. I feel much more confident now.

Matilda Knight
23 Mar 2023

The amount of guidance I received from IVHQ was fantastic and it made me feel much more confident when I started my trip. I loved proving to myself that I’m capable of travelling alone and also seeing some aspects of life in Jamaica - it made me very grateful for my family and schooling in the UK. It may seem scary to fully immerse yourself in the culture but it was the best way to actually learn about the different ways things are done in other countries! It also will take a couple of days to set in so don’t let a wobbly first day change you’re mindset.

Mallory Davis
26 Feb 2023

My favorite moment was getting to school on the first day of my placement and being accepted immediately by my teacher and students. They welcomed me with open arms. The biggest impact for me was the relationship I grew going to school everyday by teaching the students. I was crying happy tears on my last day saying my goodbyes to them. They made my trip so worth it! If you are hesitant or nervous to volunteer - I was too! But that feeling leaves immediately when you meet your housemates. I've volunteered with IVHQ twice now, both times have left me with friendships and memories to last a lifetime.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

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Volunteer Abroad in Jamaica with IVHQ


On the world stage, Jamaica is the star of the Caribbean. Home to the Rastafarian religion and culture, reggae music and known for its sporting efforts, it also boasts dazzling beaches, plentiful wildlife and being the backdrop for many James Bond films. It has long been a popular tourist destination. But despite all of this, Jamaica has a history of slavery, unemployment and slow economic development that are still in the process of being remedied today. Volunteers are needed to provide support for people who face the challenges of living in low-income communities and to help address socioeconomic inequalities so this island nation can continue to grow and prosper.

Tucked up on the stunning north-eastern coast is the parish of St Mary where IVHQ’s Jamaica program is based. Volunteer projects are located in St Ann and St Mary, within 10 to 50 minutes from the volunteer accommodation and close to the port town of Ocho Rios, which is a resort and cruise ship harbor and has plenty of restaurants and craft markets which volunteers can explore in their free time.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month and volunteers need to arrive in Jamaica on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Sangster International Airport (MBJ) which is the closest airport to the volunteer accommodation. Airport pick up is provided on Sundays only.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in St Mary (around 1.5 - 2 hours away). Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Jamaica prior to your volunteer program, you will need to liaise with the local team to arrange a pick up from your location, or make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.

Orientation is provided by our Jamaica team at the volunteer accommodation. Orientation begins at 9:00 AM Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Jamaica – an introduction to Jamaica, Jamaican customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Jamaica, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

First day

You will be taken to your placement by a local team member and introduced to the placement staff.


You may have a morning or afternoon shift, or both, and can expect to work a minimum of 3 hours, Monday through Friday. Start time and daily workload depends on your chosen project. A typical daily schedule would be as follows:

7:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8:00 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.
12:00 PM Break for lunch.
1:00 PM Work at the placement commences if you have been assigned with an afternoon shift.
3:30 PM You are free to travel back to the volunteer house to relax, visit the nearby beach, go sightseeing or do some shopping.


With weekends free, you’ll be able to explore all that St Mary, Ochos Rios and wider Jamaica have to offer, including the country’s distinctive food, music and culture.

The area is a popular destination for resorts and cruise ships, and you can expect to discover beautiful beaches, waterfalls and art galleries within close proximity of the volunteer accommodation. Snorkeling, hiking and other adventure activities are also popular with visitors to Jamaica. You can also visit notable spots like the Firefly Estate which once belonged to Sir Henry Morgan - of Captain Morgan rum fame - and then English playwright Noel Coward; or the Castleton Botanical Gardens which are among the oldest in the western world.

The team in Jamaica also have a range of tours that you can book directly with them, either before or after you arrive in Jamaica. These include but aren’t limited to a Kingston city tour where you’ll visit the Bob Marley Museum, an eco-community and a have cultural music lesson; a Black River safari on which you cruise down the Black River and see alligators, tropical birds and mangrove trees in their natural setting; and a surf camp.

Accommodation and WiFi

You’ll stay in a dormitory-style volunteer house. Living is comfortable with electricity, running water, WiFi and western bathrooms. There is no air-conditioning in the accommodation, however fans are provided.

Bedrooms have bunk beds and you can expect to share a room with one to three other volunteers of the same gender. Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is usually not heated. You should bring your own toiletries and towels.


A basic daily breakfast of toast, spreads, tea and coffee is included and you’re free to help yourself to these each morning at the volunteer house.

For lunch and dinner, you can cook for yourself in the communal kitchen at the volunteer accommodation - this has a gas hob, oven, kettle, microwave, fridge, freezer and pantry space. Alternatively, you can buy lunch and dinner from nearby restaurants for between US$5 (approximately AU$7) and US$25 (approximately AU$39) per meal.

For volunteers who would like to have their dinners provided, a home-cooked weekly dinner plan (Monday - Friday) is available for US$79 (approximately AU$124) per week. You can book this via your MyIVHQ Checklist once you have registered for the Jamaica program. Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for, however not all diets can be covered. Please let your IVHQ Program Manager know about any dietary requirements you have before you book the dinner plan.

Tap water in Jamaica is generally safe to drink but please check with your accommodation host if you are unsure. We encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle to refill so you can avoid buying plastic water bottles.


  • USD
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $525 Equivalent to $75/day
2 weeks $924 Equivalent to $66/day
3 weeks $1,290 Equivalent to $61/day
4 weeks $1,634 Equivalent to $58/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$516) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Jamaica generally find US$400 -$500 per week to be sufficient for additional expenses.
  • Light breakfast supplies
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Lunch and dinner
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in St Mary

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in St Mary! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ St Mary program.

Blue Hole Excursion
Blue Hole Excursion

Spend an afternoon cliff jumping and swimming in a natural series of waterfalls and swimming holes.

Green Grotto Caves & Luminous Lagoon Excursion
Green Grotto Caves & Luminous Lagoon Excursion

Tour to the historical caves of Green Grotto, once home to the first inhabitants of the island.

Jamaican Cooking Class
Jamaican Cooking Class

Learn to prepare Jamaican dishes from a local expert in this 2.5 hour cooking class.


Check what's required to visit Jamaica

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Kingston
Population 2.9 million
Languages English
Currency Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
Time zone UTC-5:00

Weather and climate

The climate in Jamaica is typical of a Caribbean climate - warm days year-round with rainy winters and dry summers. The pleasant Jamaican climate makes travel possible at any time of the year. The rainy season is generally from May to November. Average temperatures in Jamaica range between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 28°C), with July and August being the hottest months and February the coolest.

Other projects you may be interested in

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!