Learning Center Assistant

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About

Our learning centers provide a safe, clean, informal environment where children can come and continue their learning in areas such as Maths, Art, Spanish, Computing and Reading. They are stocked with resources not often found in the schools such as books, worksheets, art supplies, educational games and computers.

As a Learning Center Assistant, you will work with local volunteers to support and assist the children as they learn, instigating activities and games, rather than running formal lessons. The objective is to create a fun, interactive and positive learning environment outside of the classroom. The children are willing and engaged, choosing each day which areas of interest they wish to participate in.

This position is available throughout the year and requires a minimum time commitment of 2 weeks. Volunteers in this role should have at least intermediate level Spanish in order to be able to fully engage with children.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

8.75 Rating
based on 12 reviews
  • Impact 8.5
  • Support 8.4
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 12
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Paul
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

La Esperanza, Granada, Nicaragua

I have just had an amazing month here in Nicaragua. I was volunteering with La Esperanza, Granada and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was teaching basic English to grades 4, 5 and 6 four times a week in El Colegio Mercedes Madragón and Spanish with grade 1 students twice a week in José de la Cruz Mena and I also helped kids with computer games in La Amped 2 times a week. The kids come from all types of backgrounds but are so welcoming and always smiling. I really liked the one on one teaching with the grade 1 kids because they wanted to learn and worked so hard. I was able to help the kids improve a little during my time here and hopefully it will be of help to them in the future. I will never forget this experience and all the kids and friends I have made from all over the world.

What would you improve about this program?
I think they could maybe try and setup a sports club or a place for the kids to play sports, which would help the kids stay healthy and they could also learn new skills.
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Led
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First experience as volunteer

I decided to go to Nicaragua because I wanted to do something after my studies.

After some researchers I found this program at La Esperanza Granada where you can become an an assistant for the teachers in the schools. You can participate to English classes, help at the kindergarden,... There is many ways you can help.

As student in communication, I worked at the office and I went to the computer classes 3 days/week.

This was really good to see both sides of the organisation : one more professional and one with the children.

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Leandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Scream like a lion, whisper like a mouse

"MUAHHHHHHH", screamed Kevin, a volunteer in our English team of four and suddenly, a non melodic, but extremely loud choir, consisting of our approximately 40 fourth class students, arose to scream with him. Not only, because we were playing "Simon says" and the game in itself is fun, but because the game allows them to be who they are, cheerful, energetic, crazy, loud and playful kids, or rather, animals. Lions being released.

"Simon says" works as follows:
A volunteer screams into the class room: "Simon says, be a lion!" or "Simon says, be a mouse!" And if the kids have learned the vocabulary of our unit, in this case, animals, they try to mimic whatever Simon told them to be and do. This way, they do not only sit in class and have to copy words from the board, which is great for disciplinary work, don't get me wrong, but not a sufficient tactic for them to actually remember the vocab. Instead, they get to study and learn whole heartedly, with their whole body and more than what you would imagine their whole voice capacity would be.

To teach English by not only being a strict teacher fighting the kids natural urge to move and play, but by finding a balance between the of course necessary discipline, but also the childish playfulness that they scream for without limits, was one of the best, most challenging, educating, frustrating, rewarding and fun experiences of my life. I would do it all over again and recommend it to whomever is interested in screaming out loud like a lion or in whispering silently like a mouse, in challenging oneself and others and in commiting to the craziness of a classroom in a developing country.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved by more volunteers who stay longer than the average length of four to six weeks. I've seen more progress when the volunteers have time to get to know the different kids, their different strengths and weaknesses, manipulative games and actual needs and when the volunteers then as a result, can act upon the given challenges better in a more differenciated way.

Other than that, I think the program does really well and the people commiting to it are incredibly motivated, engaged, solution oriented and reflective of what they do and of what can be improved. They do a great job, especially with the given circumstances and challenges of poverty and the lack of a stable and supportive family background.
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Annabel
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Providing well needed education

There is not only a big problem with street children in Nicaragua but due to the poverty level there is a lack of education even amongst very young children. La Esperanza Granada is a great organisation that looks at the holistic picture with regards to education. Ensuring the facilities, equipment and health of the children is developed in line with the volunteer programme, where volunteers support, tutor and teach english in primary schools.

It gives volunteers an opportunity to see and support some of the poorest children in Nicaragua and really make a difference to their future. They provide cheap housing and there is no cost to volunteer, just some dedication and hard work! The social scene is good although maybe more for the younger gap year students rather than post University and the oldies amongst us!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that it would be good to educate some of the volunteers a bit more in line with them working in schools. Many of the volunteers are fairly young and some see it as an opportunity to just have fun rather than balancing this with some hard work and dedication to the children. It would be good to educate them on issues in Nicaragua, the impact they could have or may not have if they skip school or only get an hours sleep the night before!
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Molly
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Needs Improvements

When you begin this program, you start with a lot of hope. It is a really great idea after all. You will go and assist the teachers in some of the poorest schools in Granada. The only drawback is, unless you speak Spanish, you will do very little teaching. The "Spanish team" is able to provide one-on-one tutoring to the children in these schools where, otherwise, they would barely get one-on-five. The class room sizes are very large and very disorganized because of it. The tutoring is a really great help to the kids who need that extra attention.
The "English Team" and the group that helps in the preschool are more of entertainers than anything else. Maybe a child learns the word "milk" but not much else can really be accomplished.
The best thing for this program is to emphasize the need for more Spanish speakers and more tutors. It is amazing teaching kids the alphabet when you can tell they are far too shy to even ask for the help they need.

What would you improve about this program?
More tutoring options. As many as possible. The children need help in all areas. English speakers could maybe help with the infrastructure of the schools. They could all use a little more color and life.
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Mariana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It's Worth the Effort

I really wanted to volunteer with an organization that actually needed 'hands on the ground'. I do feel that the work I've been doing here is necessary and important. I'm finishing up week 3 of my 10 week stint in Granada with La Esperanza and while there are challenges, it has been a wonderful experience so far. I spend my days tutoring 1st graders in reading, writing, and math and while the going can be slow, nothing beats the hugs and the smiles. Above all these kids need self esteem, and working with them every day really does give you the opportunity to see that evolve.

I will also say that I am impressed with the quality of the other volunteers here. With so many (we have nearly 40 at the moment!), you'd think you'd run across more bad eggs. But really everyone here is wonderful, the housing is basic but nice, and the community fairly vibrant and supportive. Granada is a great place to base out of for weekend travel, but it's also a city that stands up pretty well on its own.

I would definitely recommend La Esperanza to others looking for a fulfilling long-term, low-cost volunteer placement!

What would you improve about this program?
The quality of the ayundantes (local university students placed in the schools to help volunteers) varies quite a bit from school to school. Some of my fellow volunteers rave about their ayudantes, but I've found mine to be pretty useless. It's not so big of a deal to me because I'm a fairly proactive worker, but I think better training would benefit both the ayudantes and the volunteers that depend on them.

Otherwise, the major challenges come from the Nicaraguan school system itself, which La Esperanza stresses in its mission we are not necessarily here to change. I think coming to peace with the 'differences' here is the first step to having a rewarding experience.
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Sean
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer Volunteer

I volunteered for the duration of two months with La Esperanza Granada. I first arrived in June, they had a taxi waiting for me with a key to my house, since I was living in one of the volunteer houses, there was other people waiting for me upon arrival. I spent two months as a communications volunteer working in the La Esperanza office. I also got to visit several schools during my stay, seeing how other volunteers worked and the difference they made. Every volunteer in this organization makes a big difference by raising the self esteem of kids, especially when motivating and encouraging them. Most volunteers (except those teaching english) work from 8-12 Monday through Friday, leaving the weekends to travel. I lived in one of the volunteer houses with around 12 other people, all around my age (21). Everyone got a long great, we all traveled together, ate together and went out a lot as a group. It is an amazing opportunity to travel to Granada, Nicaragua, with such a low cost, especially to the organization. Most organizations have a high cost to volunteer with them but La Esperanza only asks for a one time $20 fee for administration. It was great to work with the organization (which had about 40 volunteers) It's a perfect opportunity to learn more about Nicaraguan culture, learn Spanish, meet other volunteers from around the world, and travel through Central America.

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Peter
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

a retiree's perspective

La Esperanza offers a variety of opportunities for voluntary work. I worked alongside groups coming from other countries who had raised funds for construction work on the schools that La Esperanza supports. As a retiree, although some of the work was physically demanding, it was ery satisfying. In previous years I have helped with the administration of the organisation and with the maintenance of properties used by the charity to house volunteers. For me, the high points include the satisfaction of seeing improvements made in the supported schools and the provision of facilities which would otherwise not exist (the building of a computer room, for example). One challenge was interpreting the instructions of the Nicaraguan builders involved in the projects!

What would you improve about this program?
I have been perfectly happy in each of the four years I have worked with La Esperanza.