We rely on both paid and volunteer staff to support our work and we are always keen to hear from people who have previous experience of working with children and young people or students and trainees just starting out in their careers and are looking for some experience. If you are interested in working with us, please get in touch so we can arrange a visit for you. So you have some idea of what our expectations will be and what you can expect from us, please take a look at the following.
As a volunteer you are required to:
• Attend every children’s session in the programme and every training day unless there are unavoidable circumstances or prearranged dates where you cannot attend. We ask that you let Terri know at the beginning of a programme when you are unable to attend so suitable cover can be arranged for you. It is very important for our children that the adults they build relationships with are there as consistently as possible.
• Be punctual. Whether you are escorting a transport or helping prepare for the session, it is important you arrive on time and are not flustered or rushed when the children arrive.
• Be observant, available for the child/children and attuned to the child/children during the session. You will be asked to be responsible for one or two children throughout the programme. You are encouraged to get to know these children as quickly as possible and build a trusting, secure and warm relationship with these children. This will require good observation, careful tuning in to the child in their play and activity, and being constantly alert to when the child needs your help, attention or reassurance. We will ask that you observe the children carefully and keep detailed notes of the changes/growth and development that you see in the child’s developing resilience. At the end of each session every adult completes an observation sheet for each child they are responsible for which tracks these changes. You will be required to keep these sheets up to date each week.
• Communicate well. It’s important that you pass on information, questions or concerns as quickly as possible to the team leader. If you see or hear anything that you find concerning or simply that you are not sure about, the best policy is to talk about it as soon as you can. It is not appropriate to discuss the children whilst the session is running, but if there is an urgent concern you will need to ask the team leader to step away from the children whilst you pass on the information or ask the question that concerns you. Other less urgent communications can wait until the after session reflection time but must be passed on the same day.
• Be a reflective practitioner. Every member of the adult team, irrespective of experience and qualifications needs to engage in reflective practice in order to develop their professional practice, their skills, knowledge and understanding. Time is set aside every session to reflect on what has happened as a group or individually with the team leader. This time is also used for writing up our notes and reflection should become an integral part of the evaluation process, when both evaluating the children’s development and our own professional or even personal development. At times the work with the children can be challenging and intense. Things that happen in the sessions may cause concern, upset or challenge your values. It is very important that you speak about this to the team leader, or if you feel comfortable to do so, with the team. In this way we can support each other effectively, problem solve together and reframe our understanding of the children’s needs.
• Respect confidentiality. All our children are vulnerable and come from vulnerable families. We need to share confidential information about the children and their backgrounds to provide them with the support they need and to gain an understanding of their behaviours. All information shared about the children in either written or spoken form is highly confidential and should not be shared with anyone other than members of the Nature Nurture team. This includes conversation with family, friends or acquaintances as well as any written communication. Nature Nurture has sought permission from the families to take photographs of the children. No photographs taken during the session should be shared with others either personally or on social media. Nature Nurture has permission from some of the parents to use photographs of their children on their website and Facebook page, but this is permission given to the Project Coordinator only.
If you are interested in volunteering on any of the current children’s programme’s that Nature Nurture proves, please contact us on:
Project Coordinator and Team Leader’s
The Project Coordinators and Team Leaders for the groups you will be working with are Terri Harrison and Daniel Harrison. They are responsible for the overall running of the Nature Nurture project and the safety and wellbeing of all the children and adults in the programmes.
• They are also responsible for ensuring the organisation and effectiveness of each session.
• They will challenge poor practice and give advice on how this may be improved.
• They will ask volunteers to leave the project if poor practice continues despite support, advice and warnings.
• They will ensure that all volunteers receive the support and guidance they need to develop their practice.
• They will provide training to ensure that every volunteer has the opportunity to develop and improve their professional practice, their knowledge and understanding of each of the children.
• They will provide support and supervision though out the sessions and will engage in a reflective process with each team member after the children’s session.
• They will be available to answer questions and to listen to concerns or observations at any time during working hours before or after a session when they are not in a children’s session.