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Childcare Volunteer Project in  Costa Rica - San Jose

Childcare Volunteer Project in Costa Rica - San Jose

Excited to do Childcare volunteering in Costa Rica - San José? International Volunteer HQ’s Childcare project empowers volunteers to help in community centers, daycares, and schools that care for and entertain children outside of school hours. This is an important service in Costa Rica where many schools are overcrowded and only run in either the morning or afternoon. Volunteers will gain childcare experience while assisting local staff to provide a safe, structured and fun environment where kids can grow and learn.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from $445 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Care for children before and after their short school day

  • Enjoy Costa Rica’s warm and beautiful beaches

  • Learn about life in San Jose by staying with a local family

Key information

Provide a safe space for children to learn
Based in and around San José
Local homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Fully hosted experience from $445 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 24 weeks
Spanish language lessons available
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Energetic volunteers who enjoy playing, talking and laughing with children and are interested in education. You’ll have the support of the local staff so experience is not necessary.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Overcrowded classrooms in low-income parts of Costa Rica mean students often only attend school in either the morning or afternoon and are generally left to their own devices for the rest of the day. Community centers aim to fill this gap with further education and games so that children have a safe, stimulating and structured learning environment for a longer period of time. This gives children the opportunity to build skills and support networks and increase their chances of continuing education to later gain employment.

As a Childcare volunteer you’ll assist local staff with their efforts to care for and entertain a large number of children up to the age of 11. Yours will be a hands-on role providing much-needed support in general activities. Much of the time is spent outside, as classrooms are often small and crowded. Childcare volunteer work can vary but usually involves:

  • Setting up games and activities
  • Helping with homework
  • One-on-one interaction with children
  • Teaching basic hygiene skills
  • Assisting with meals
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 San Jose with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with children in San José you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to education for children in San José
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining childcare experience
  • Immersing yourself fully in Costa Rican culture
  • Exploring San José, Costa Rica’s lively capital

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 volunteering without a parent or guardian can volunteer for a maximum duration of 12 weeks.
  • 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.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

AH
Annabelle Hawkins
14 Feb 2024

I would say I gained confidence from this project because I came as a solo traveler who was a little nervous about what I was going into but I left with so many friends and awesome experiences. I gained the confidence to travel solo and not worry about the unknowns and just go with whatever life throws at you. If you are looking to join a program where you get both fun experiences and get to help and be a part of the local community this program is amazing and you will be in such great hands. I felt completely safe and the staff are always there for you so you have nothing to worry about. It is something to do if you want to discover more about yourself or step out of your comfort zone while still having the reliability of the team around you.

...
SP
Samuel Piazza
11 Oct 2023

I highly recommend volunteering abroad, it is one of the best things one can do in life. Remember: it is more blessed to give than to receive!

...
SM
Silvia Mezzina
06 Sep 2023

I really lived a "Tico" (Costa Rican inhabitant) life in my volunteering weeks, and this was achieved also thanks to my attempts to speak Spanish as much as possible. I learned a lot of words in Spanish that are common in Costa Rica but not in Spain (where I learned Spanish).

Since I volunteered in a Childcare project, now I know a lot about the Costa Rican education system, and I discovered that there are a lot of interesting differences with my country. I discovered the existence of "centros infantiles", and their important work and function, especially for children who live in unprivileged social and economic conditions.

I really recommend this program, but don't forget to travel if you can during the weekends and to visit some points of cultural interest in San José (the Capital city), such as the National Theatre that gives a beautiful surprise during the guided tour (I can't spoil it!).

If you can, I suggest staying some days more in Costa Rica to visit Manuel Antonio Park and beaches, and the Nicoya Peninsula and book some unforgettable tours to Poás Volcano, La Paz Waterfalls, Coffe Farm, Canopy Experience, and Arenal Volcano.

Don't miss the salsa and cooking lessons organised by the local team!

Pura vida!

...
AL
Angela Lampert
01 Sep 2023

IVHQ was wonderful to work with. Everything from start to finish was well planned and executed.

...
BS
Beth Salem
08 Dec 2022

I did not think that I would be able to make an impact in one week. However, when I arrived at the childcare center, they had an autistic child in the classroom that they did not know what to do with. Having had a background in special education for seven years, I was able to provide them with much-needed advice, support, and skills. I feel as though I was able to provide a different life trajectory for this one child and her teachers.

Getting to experience another culture and way of life with my teenage daughter was my favorite and most memorable moment of the volunteer experience. For anyone thinking about volunteering abroad, I can say, do it! IVHQ is a safe, friendly, accommodating, and wonderful organization.

...
NC
Neha Chugh
10 Aug 2022

My daughter and I volunteered on a childcare project in Costa Rica and the best moment was seeing affection and empathy from a little child's viewpoint. There was a moment where a 5 year old helped his playmate recover from a situation by teaching him to take deep breaths to overcome his anger. There are such simple ways to bring empathy and love in this world that adults forget.

Take the plunge. My daughter and I had an amazing experience. We grew as an individual and learned so much from the cultural immersion. It will stay with us for the rest of our lives. 5 stars to IVHQ and the Local Team in Costa Rica.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

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Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica San Jose with IVHQ

Location

San José is Costa Rica’s modern, metropolitan, cultural hub. The capital city has been hailed as one of the most visited destinations in Central America and is the central point for tourists arriving in Costa Rica. It’s got excellent eateries, an interesting variety of museums, markets, shops, parks and nightlife and is only a short trip to any of the numerous natural attractions and adventures in the region.

Arrival and orientation

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José on the Sunday before your start date.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in San José. This is included in your Program Fee.

We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation. If you are traveling in Costa Rica prior to your program, the local team will pick you up at your San José accommodation the day before your orientation.

Your check out is at 11am on the last Saturday of your program.

The compulsory program orientation is hosted by our Costa Rica team at their offices in San José on Sunday or Monday.

Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Costa Rica – an introduction to Costa Rica, its customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Costa Rica, 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 socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

First day

You will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays

During the week, you will have a morning or afternoon shift, which will last around 3 to 5 hours. Your volunteer work and hours are dependent on the location and type of project you are participating in but a typical morning schedule is as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast with your host family.
9:00 AM Leave home and travel to your placement. You will join the local staff and will receive a duty roster and plan for work.
12:00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.
1:00 - 6:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, go sightseeing or take Spanish lessons.
7:00 PM Dinner with the host family.

Weekends

Whether you want to explore or relax on your weekends in San José , there’s plenty of opportunity to do both. Stroll down the bustling Central Avenue in downtown San José and take in a museum, listen to street performers or do some shopping. Then check out the stunning architecture of the National Theater of Costa Rica, taste-test the city’s fabulous coffee or sample a brew from San José ’s blossoming craft-beer industry.

It’s worth noting that Sunday is a religious day of rest and many stores and restaurants will be closed. Costa Ricans tend to devote Sundays to spending time with their family. If you wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

On long weekends you may choose to travel around the rest of Costa Rica and the many cities, volcanoes, jungles, coffee plantations and beaches which are more than worth a visit. Many of these are only a short trip from San José .

Most IVHQ volunteers choose to take advantage of our Costa Rica - Travel and tour add-ons in their free time. Please note that volunteers on more remote projects such as Turtle Conservation and Eco-Agriculture Conservation will only be able to join these activities before or after their program.

Accommodation and WiFi

In San Jose volunteers are accommodated in homestays with local families - it’s an immersive experience that connects you with an authentic insight into the Costa Rican way of life. You will find living conditions are comfortable and you can expect your accomodation to have electricity, drinkable running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers are common and the water is not always heated. Bedrooms have single and bunk beds with bedding provided. You can expect to share a room with up to six other volunteers of the same gender in most homestays It is possible for volunteers to upgrade to a private room (double bed, shared washroom) for $62 per person, per week.

If you are traveling as a family, the local team will place you in a separate homestay to ensure all family members are accommodated together.

Please note, volunteers under the age of 18 who are traveling solo will be accommodated separately from those over the age of 18. If there are other volunteers under the age of 18 participating at the same time, the local team will do their best to ensure they are accommodated together.

WiFi is available at the homestays, and you will also have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in San José.

Meals

Volunteers are provided with breakfast and dinner at their accommodation. Breakfast typically consists of toast, fruit, eggs, rice and beans accompanied with tea or coffee. Dinner usually includes: meat (typically chicken), starches and vegetables. Costa Rica’s national dish, Gallo Pinto, is made of rice and beans and served with nearly every meal. Lunches are not provided to San José -based volunteers, as they are typically away from their accommodation at midday. Budget between $5 and $10 per day to buy lunch.

If you have specific dietary requirements, our local teams and homestays can cater to you, however keep in mind that as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
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 $445 Equivalent to $64/day
2 weeks $735 Equivalent to $53/day
3 weeks $1,015 Equivalent to $48/day
4 weeks $1,260 Equivalent to $45/day
5 weeks $1,465 Equivalent to $42/day
6 weeks $1,670 Equivalent to $40/day
8 weeks $2,080 Equivalent to $37/day
10 weeks $2,490 Equivalent to $36/day
12 weeks $2,900 Equivalent to $35/day
16 weeks $3,720 Equivalent to $33/day
20 weeks $4,540 Equivalent to $32/day
24 weeks $5,360 Equivalent to $32/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • 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.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Costa Rica generally find US$150 - US$200 per week to be sufficient for expenses. For Turtle Conservation and Eco-Agriculture projects, volunteers can bring less spending money as the location is remote and all meals will be provided.

Free-time experiences & tours in Costa Rica

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

Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio

Immerse yourself in Manuel Antonio’s stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities on this 6-day adventure

$920
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose

Embark on a full-day adventure exploring La Paz Waterfall Gardens, an animal sanctuary, and a Poas Volcano Tour, followrd by a Coffee Farm experience.

$220
Mini Adventure  - San Jose
Mini Adventure - San Jose

Experience a comprehensive 6-day Mini Adventure, featuring Arenal Volcano, the Britt Coffee Tour, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, whitewater rafting, and a visit to the pristine Tortuga Island.

$1255
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio

Immerse yourself in Manuel Antonio’s stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities on this 6-day adventure

$920
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose

Embark on a full-day adventure exploring La Paz Waterfall Gardens, an animal sanctuary, and a Poas Volcano Tour, followrd by a Coffee Farm experience.

$220
Zipline, Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable - San Jose
Zipline, Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable - San Jose

Experience an adrenaline-filled journey through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest on a heart-pounding canopy tour, featuring the “Tarzan Swing,” “Superman Cable,” and the “Elevator,” xperience an exhilarating journey through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest on a heart-pounding canopy tour, featuring the “Tarzan Swing,” “Superman Cable,” and the “Elevator”.

$144

Spanish language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Costa Rica program, however, learning basic conversational Spanish will help you maximize the benefit of your program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Please note these lessons are not available on the Holiday Experience, Eco-Agriculture or Turtle Conservation projects.

San Jose Language Lessons:

  • 2-hour Small Group Classes: $145 (approximately $145) per week
  • 1-hour Private Classes: $225 (approximately $225) per week
  • 2-hour Private Classes: $455 (approximately $455) per week

Check what's required to visit Costa Rica

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 San Jose
Population 5 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time zone UTC−06:00

Weather and climate: Costa Rica is unequivocally a tropical country. Although you get much cooler temperatures in the mountains, the average annual temperature for most of the country lies between 71°F (21.7°C) and 81°F (27°C). The coolest months are from November through to January, and the warmest months are from March through to May. San Jose stands at approximately 1170 meters altitude and has a mean annual temperature of 69°F (20.6°C).

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