Guest blog: What it’s like to volunteer at Pen Green/Kingswood
After my graduation I came to the UK for a 5-month work placement and to volunteer at Pen Green and Kingswood Children’s Centres in Corby. During my time at Pen Green/Kingswood I supported staff in different groups that are run for parents and children from 0 – 5 years, as well as in the nursery school. I felt very welcomed by staff, children and parents. Even though I was a “volunteer only” I felt valued in my thoughts, ideas and opinions. Staff listened to my point of view and to my questions and wherever possible they took time to answer my questions and helped me to reflect on my practice giving me further information for my learning process. Parents shared their thoughts and questions with me and have been very open-minded with me. Being from Germany, my English isn’t as good as a native speaker’s but staff, parents and children have been very patient and kind to me. I felt accepted as an individual person with a different nationality and at the same time I became warmly included in the centers.
“I saw children being encouraged in following their very individual interests and being supported in their developmental processes by exploring a very stimulating and adapted environment. As a result of this, I often sensed children being in a high level of well–being and observed them acting self-confidently.”
To me, Pen Green and Kingswood have become places where I can be my true self, where I am accepted for who I am… and I sensed that parents and children feel the same. I observed so many situations where staff and parents interacted with each other as equal partners. It is not only about words, it is about deeds that express an attitude of esteem, mindfulness and equality. This attitude I sensed not only between staff and parents but also between staff and children, children with other children and parents and children. It is this lived attitude that impressed and affected me most. Experiencing this atmosphere of acceptance towards me as a person, my own attitude was further developed and that is the most important achievement for my professional progress. Back in Germany I am working with families now and what I learned at Pen Green and Kingswood is very central for me in this job. This attitude taken into practice is something I will definitely never forget and I try my best to implement what I have learned from staff, parents and children in Corby.
Social Worker and Occupational Therapist from Germany
If you would like to volunteer with us, you can contact us at email@example.com