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Supporting Local Playschemes

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 8 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Playscheme Children School Holidays

Have fun and help out children and parents in your area by volunteering with a local playscheme.

Playschemes usually run after hours and in school holidays.

They offer children education and entertainment and provided a much-needed service looking after them while parents are working or in need of a break.

Not only are they a rewarding way to make new friends and get involved in a team they can provide valuable experience if you are considering a career in nursery care, teaching or working with children.

Who can Volunteer?

You should be over 18 and either a parent yourself or have some experience in looking after children. Ideally you will have experience in offering activities or in running a children’s group. You may already have a qualification such as an NVQ in Childcare. As most playschemes run during the day you will need to be available then.

You should like children and relate well to them and will be patient, sympathetic and reliable. As you are working with a vulnerable group you may be asked for references and will undergo a Criminal Records Bureau/Disclosure Scotland background check.

Who can Benefit?

Children gain the chance to try new things and to have fun with new friends. This helps them to develop life skills and grow in confidence. You will also be helping out overstretched parents and families. Often parents cannot afford to take time off during the long school holidays or they may not be able to finish work early enough to collect their children after school. You will be providing them with much-needed support in caring for their children.

What is Involved?

You will be offering children a chance to take part in activities in a safe, secure, friendly environment. They will learn social skills and have the opportunity to build self-esteem and make new friends.

Playschemes most often operate during the school holidays, especially the summer break, although some may run as after-hour schemes for children whose parents cannot collect them immediately after school. Training will usually be provided and you may get involved in planning and structuring events and activities.

Playschemes will conform to National Standards and may be aimed at a specific age range for example under eight year-olds or 10-15 year olds. They may rely on volunteers to ensure that there are sufficient adults to safely supervise the group. As well as working with general groups of children you could opt to work with specialist groups such as disabled children or children with learning difficulties.

During the day you may get involved with group activities or spend one to one time with individual children. You may play games, play sport, read to the children or spend time chatting with them.

Other activities could include painting, drawing and arts and crafts and there will also be quiet times and relaxation. Many playschemes also offer children outings and trips to local museums and attractions when you will accompany and supervise them.

Overall you will look after the wellbeing and safety of the children and ensure that they feel happy and secure. In doing so you and they can share a lot of fun and you will discover the rewards of helping out with such a fulfilling and worthwhile role.

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