Early Childhood Education Volunteer

Salvation Army - San Jose, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-293 Location: San Jose, Costa Rica Sector: Education Category: Non-Formal Teaching Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate
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Volunteer Job Description

The Guarderia Madre y Hijo Centre in San Jose provides education and daycare for a severely underprivileged population of children and mothers. Children attending daycare come mainly from single parents and low income families.

Guarderia Madre e Hijo receives children between one and twelve years old. There are two classrooms for toddlers and two teachers for the 20 children.A daycare teaching assistant volunteer at this placement would be working with toddlers helping the teachers with the early educational needs of the children in order to stimulate their brains towards learning.

Studies show that children who grow up in an enriched environment – one with lots of new experiences that engage their senses – have larger, more active brains than those who grow up without adequate sensory stimulation.

A daycare teaching assistant volunteer at this placement may be asked to assist with the lessons, play games, read stories or at times just provide support and affection to these needy children. These kids usually come from homes where little attention has been able to be given to their emotional needs and a volunteer's efforts to involve the children in fun games and sport activities is most welcome and appreciated by all.

Daycare teaching assistant volunteers do not need to have had any specialized teacher's education but previous experience working with children is mandatory and a conversational level of the Spanish language is necessary.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Teacher Assistant

A daycare teaching assistant volunteer would be expected to assist the teaching staff in the daily activities with the younger children at the centre. The classes are focused on brain stimulation through music and games.

Create Games

A daycare teaching assistant volunteer would be expected to create games where the children can play with things in a variety of shapes, textures, colours, sounds and weights. Some of the required supplies and materials may be found at the centre but others the volunteer may have to improvise.

Read Stories

Reading out loud is one of the most important things that a daycare teaching assistant volunteer can do to help children build their vocabulary, stimulate their imagination and improve their language skills. It also gives the volunteer an opportunity to socialize with the children and through discussions about the reading material perhaps bring out concerns that some children may be having.

Feed Babies / Nap Time

A daycare teaching assistant volunteer would be expected to help the kitchen staff and teachers to organize the children and take them to the eating area for their morning snack and lunch. After lunch help to settle the children for their nap. Volunteers may also be asked to help feed the babies.

Host Organization Details

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a non-governmental relief agency. They are usually among the first to arrive with help after a natural or man-made disaster. They work to alleviate suffering and help people rebuild their lives. The Salvation Army is an integral part of the Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice.

This organization's objectives are: “The advancement of the Christian Religion as promulgated in the religious doctrines which are professed, believed and taught by the Army and pursuant there to, the advancement of education, the relief of poverty and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.”

The Salvation Army's stated, "MISSION", is to perform evangelical, social and charitable work and bring the Christian message to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs. The organization states that its ministry extends to all, without discrimination.

As of 2010 they operate in over a hundred and twenty countries and provide services in a hundred and seventy-five different languages. In San Jose and other provinces around Costa Rica, they deliver several programs including: heavily subsidized education and daycare for low income families, outreach in prisons, a homeless shelter and outreach for people living on the streets.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

This organization has religious affiliations with the Christian church. (Protestant)

Volunteers working with the Salvation Army should be prepared to meet personal with a strong Christian Faith; however, it is not necessary to be of any particular faith to work with this organization.

When They Were Founded

The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up the comfort of his pulpit and decided to take his message into the streets where it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute.

His original aim was to send converts to established churches of the day, but he soon realized that the poor did not feel comfortable or welcome in the pews of most of the churches and chapels of Victorian England. Regular churchgoers were appalled when these shabbily dressed, unwashed people came to join them in worship. Booth decided to found a church especially for them,"The East London Christian Mission." The mission grew slowly, but Booth's faith in God remained undiminished.

In May 1878, Booth summoned his son, Bramwell, and his good friend George Railton to read a proof of the Christian Mission's annual report. At the top it read: THE CHRISTIAN MISSION is A VOLUNTEER ARMY. Bramwell strongly objected to this wording. He was not a volunteer: he was compelled to do God's work. So, in a flash of inspiration, Booth crossed out 'Volunteer' and wrote 'Salvation'. The Salvation Army was born.

The San Jose, Costa Rica chapter was opened in 1907 but not legalized until 1975.

How Are They Funded

The Salvation Army in Costa Rica receives funding for administrative issues from Great Britain. Financial support for their local projects are raised through fundraisers in Costa Rica and internationally as well.

Donation Requests

They are especially in need of clothes (warm clothes mainly as it gets very cold at night in many areas of the country) and school supplies.

Placement Location Information

San Jose, Costa Rica

This organization is located in the city of San Jose. San Jose is an active city with art, culture, and international events. Considered a big metropolitan city, volunteers can find a mix of the Costa Rican culture with international influences as well. There are several restaurants that include traditional Costa Rican food, Mediterranean restaurants, latin-american restaurants, stores with brands from all over the world, four public banks and several private ones, bars, discos, museums, theaters and a long list of places to go and see.

The building for the daycare and school offered by the Salvation Army is not conspicuous, for privacy reasons. The outside facade is that of a regular house; once you enter, the school opens up into a back courtyard. There are two classrooms for toddlers, a small patio with a playground and the administration office located all on the first floor. Upstairs, there are three more classrooms for older kids and a dining-room with a kitchen.

The area around the daycare is semi residential with a few doctor offices.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp house, you have to walk to the main street which is two blocks away to take the bus to San Jose. You will need to get off at the Morazan Park, which is the second last stop. Turn to your left and walk two blocks to Central Avenue, turn to the right one block then turn to the left and walk seven blocks. At 16th Avenue turn to the right and walk 2 1/2 block. The daycare is on the left side.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 5 km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:45

Weather in the Area

San José City lies in the Torrid Zone and is in a tropical rainforest. However its elevation gives it a mild climate. Under the Köppen climate classification it features a tropical wet climate that borders on a subtropical highland climate.

The temperature ranges between 17 and 30 °C (63 and 86 °F). Relative humidity averages 68.2% (with extremes of 55% in March and 78% in October) and the daily range tends to be between 60% and 90%, with the humidity typically dropping to the lower end of this range near mid-day and rising again during the night.

It rains on an average of 170 days per year but half the rainfall pours down on only 15 of these days. The rainy season is from May to mid-November, but cloudiness and rainfall can occur during the dry season. There are approximately 2040 hours of sunshine per year. The weather is also very windy.

City/Village Description

San Jose is situated in the central valley and is home to one third of the population of Costa Rica. It is the political, transportation, and entertainment centre.

San Jose is a hub of art, culture, and international events. There is a large system of inter-city parks, full of rare breeds of trees and plants, as well as statues of important figures in Costa Rican history. Festivals happen regularly, providing a unique look into contemporary Costa Rican culture. There are many opportunities in San Jose to learn to salsa, meringue or samba. San Jose has some incredible restaurants serving local and international fare, and has several cinemas showing Latin American films. The night life in San Jose is happening, and there are many great clubs in which to dance the night away.

San Jose, is a fascinating city from a political perspective: as the only democratic nation to decline a national army (instead choosing to allocate funds to public health care), the capital has long been a centre for Central American peace talks and forums. A politically active city, San José, serves as the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Hospital San Juan de Dios
Street 20 Central Avenue
Paseo Colón
San Jose
TEL 1: 2257-6282

Placement Address

Salvation Army
Del Parqueo Clinica Biblica 200 Este
San Jose
Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Costa Rica at our BaseCamp Center in San Jose. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Costa Rica. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Costa Rica you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica
BaseCamp Costa Rica Address

Ave 16 St. 39&41
Los Yoses Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica Contact Details

Tel: 506-8763-9595
Tel: 506-4030-1891
Mobile: 506-8763-9595

Take a Tour of BaseCamp
Accommodation in Costa Rica

All volunteers on our program in Costa Rica start out at our BaseCamp Center. The center is located in the capital city San Jose, and is a fantastic place from which to start your adventure.

Once volunteers have finished their orientation, where they live depends largely on the location of their placement. If their placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minutecommute from BaseCamp, then the only accommodation option may be host families or volunteer lodges in the national parks. However, if the placement is within a 1 hour 15 minute commute, then volunteers can choose whether or not to stay with us at BaseCamp or live with a host family.

BaseCamp Costa Rica is located in the province of San Jose at Los Yoses area. This is a fantastic area closed to the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro Mall, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, embassies and stores. Walking distance to down town and only 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria Airport.

BaseCamp has four bedrooms and three wash-rooms. The beds are mainly bunk beds in dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is a large common area where movies, books and games are available to our guests and there is a patio with a nice set up. This is an ideal setting for reading, studying Spanish or just some quiet relaxation.

BaseCamp is where volunteers first come when they arrive in Costa Rica and where they live for at least the duration of their orientation and training. The meal plan at the centre is based on a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This meal plan allows volunteers to gain comfort and familiarity with both Costa Rican food and meal etiquette before making the transition to living with a host family.

Orientation and language training sessions take place in the BaseCamp Center. Each day of orientation blends some workshops and lessons with a mixture of outings to explore and become familiar with transportation and knowledge regarding the city.

Living With a Host Family in Costa Rica

Living with a host family in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Costa Rica.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Costa Rica

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Costa Rica wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • December

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Oct 01, 2021 Nov 05, 2021 Dec 03, 2021
Jan 07, 2022 Feb 04, 2022 Mar 04, 2022
Apr 01, 2022 May 06, 2022 Jun 03, 2022
Jul 01, 2022 Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022
Oct 07, 2022 Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022
Jan 06, 2023 Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023
Apr 07, 2023 May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023
Jul 07, 2023 Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message