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Information about ESC in Šiška

ESC in Siska

We would like to offer you ESC volunteer´s position in forest kindergarten Siska in Brno, Czech Republic. If you are enjoying outdoor activities and want to learn something about pre-school pedagogy check the description of SISKA project and contact us via e-mail evs_siska@luzanky.cz

We host ESC volunteers in our forest kindergarten, because we believe that we (and especially children) can learn a lot from each other. We can offer to the volunteers the background of our community and share with them the idea of living in touch with nature. We are trying to build up the space for meetings, common activities, enviromental education and civic initiatives. We believe that there is a space to support the volunteers to take part of the initiative and discover something new about themselves and how can they influence their environment. There are several czech volunteers cooperating with our association on different activites (forest kindergarten, enviromental workshops, gardening…) EVS volunteer can cooperate with. On the other hand we know that close contact with someone from different country opens the mind of the children and broaden their horizons. We want them (as well as our Czech volunteers and community of parents and friends) to meet other cultures and gain experience from this exchange. Volunteers can bring another point of view, their own ideas and skills into our activities (e.g. do with kids their favourite sports or hobbies). Invite new people for our events and if interested organize their own activities in our garden.

Siska has been hosting already 10 volunteers from different countries. We cooperate with the coordinating organization (Luzanky – Centre of Leisure Time) so „our“ volunteer is also part of their ESC team. We believe that with the support of Luzanky we can offer to the volunteers interesting learning opportunities and safe background.

Description of the organisation

Lesní klub (Forest club) Šiška, z.s. is a non profit non governmental association, established in 2012.
Our main aims are supporting active and responsible parenthood and education of children, supporting families and working parents, running forest kindergarten, building space for common activities and public events, informing about forest kindergartens and enviromental education. Lesní klub Šiška, z.s. is a member of Association of forest kindergartens (Asociace lesních mateřských škol) and cooperates on working on standards of this kind of pre-school education in Czech Republic.

Our main activites are:
– forest kindergarten – open daily 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Monday till Friday during school year (1st September – 30th June), there are 18 children aged 3 – 6 in the group;
– camps for children during summer holiday (daily 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Monday till Friday), cca 25 children aged 3 – 12;
– public events (festivals with games) for children and their parents, educational and experience events (mainly for adults or families), enviromental education (workshops and courses) – cca one afternoon during the weekend monthly.

The association consists of cca 35 members – parents of children visiting the kindergarten, teachers, co-workers and volunteers. The staff consists of the chairwoman, 5 teachers, 1 economic worker, 5 workers that alternate in helping during the lunch time and a few volunteers that help with different tasks and also with adminitration.

Since 2014 we have already hosted 10 foreign volunteers (of age 18 – 30) for long-term projects, usually for 12 months, starting in September (according to school year).

Project environment

Brno with about 400 000 inhabitants is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. There are five universities and thanks to the high number of students (almost 100 000) the cultural life is very various here. There is always a lot of possibilities to visit exhibitions, to see concerts, theater, music, to do different kinds of sports, visit pubs and restaurants etc. More information about Brno you can find for example here: www.brno.cz or brnonow.com

Lesní klub Siska is located in the garden in one of the residental parts of Brno, Kohoutovice. Kohoutovice is safe and popular among the inhabitants because of the small distance to nature and good connection to the city center (15 minutes by public transport). Our garden is in hilly terrain next to the forest. As a background serves a Mongolian yurt, kitchen and caravan. The main activity of Siska is running the forest kindergarten during the school year and organizing camps during summer holidays (when kindergarten is closed).

A forest kindergarten is a type of preschool education for children between the age of three and six that is held almost exclusively outdoors. Whatever the weather, children are encouraged to play, explore and learn in a forest or garden. The adult supervision is meant to assist rather than lead. The kindergarten is held outdoors in all seasons and under most weather conditions. Forest kindergarten is composed of a group of 18 children and two pedagogues + volunteer. There is always one person whose role is to help volunteer with the process of integration, answers questions, explains him/her how the kindergarten works and who gives him/her support when needed. There are also local volunteers helping with program, cooking etc.

Volunteer will be also in touch with our czech volunteers and local community – not only families of the children from kindergarten are visiting our garden, but also people living nearby and visitors of our public events opened for everyone. The community meets mainly during the week (while comming with the children in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon), during numerous festivities and working days (appr. twice a month) and weekend trips (once a month). The community is quite open and consists not only of the families (parents, relatives etc.), but also of czech volunteers, supporters and lectors.

Volunteer can count on his/her tutor in Siska – a member of staff ready to help with the integration process in the working place. Volunteer meets the tutor every week in Siska on individual meetings and spends with him most of his/her working time in Siska. Also the other collegues and workers in Siska are ecouraged to comunicate actively with volunteer and cooperate on common activities. ESC coordinator from Luzanky is also visiting the meetings of volunteers and their colleagues at the workplace from time to time.
Volunteer will meet the ESC coordinator and other volunteers in Luzanky every week, together they will solve the course project, practical matters, accommodation, meals, transport, etc. and possible problems. All volunteers will participate in on-arrival and mid-term trainings organized by the Czech National agency.
Each volunteer will also have his/her own mentor (a young local, who can accompany them in his/her spare time). Volunteers are linked with their mentors already before the project starts, so they can discuss with them anything regarding living in Czech Republic.

Volunteer´s profile and recruitment process

We are looking for a volunteer who is motivated to work with children outdoors, in touch with nature. Sometimes it may be difficult to stay outside when the weather is not good. Please be aware that because of the conditions (activities in garden and forest, presence of animals in kindergarten) the project is not suitable for people with allergies. Volunteer´s personal experience with outdoor activities, scouting, woodcraft etc. is welcome. We will appreciate an active volunteer willing to propose his own ideas and projects. This interest and motivation to work particularly in our project is the most important for us regardless the nationality, gender, language knowledge or personal skills.

We will choose the volunteers in cooperation with our coordinating organisation Luzanky – Centre of Leisure Time. The call for volunteers and the full description of the activities for the project will be published in the database of the European Solidarity Corps on the European Youth Portal, on their website solidaritycorps.luzanky.cz, on Facebook and other places if needed. At the first level our decision will be based on a CV and motivation letter, and at the second level we will decide after a skype call. We are interested the most in volunteers who are motivated to do particularly this job in this branch, those for who this job could be beneficial and who, we believe, we can educate informally. The coordinating organisation Luzanky will take care about publishing vacancies, the hosting organisation Siska will lead the selecting process.
We prefer to cooperate with the sending organisation from the very beginning (during the process of choosing the right person), especially in cases of applicants with fewer opportunities. We are open to all possible partners.

Practical arrangements

ACCOMMODATION
Volunteers will live in rented single rooms, some of them may share the flat. There will be internet acces in each flat. We want to provide each volunteer with own private room even if this makes the costs higher – in our opinion and from our experience the volunteers need some private space, where they can „hide“ when they are tired from the new/different environment of the foreign country. We also try to find accommodation for the volunteers with consideration to the place of work of each volunteer and at the same time reachable distance to the centre, where the meetings with ESC coordinator are held and where most of the cultural events for their leisure time is on display. If there is also a Czech person living in the flat, we prefer that they are a young person willing to live in international atmosphere, so he/she can get along well with our volunteers.

POCKET MONEY, FOOD, TRANSPORTATION
Every volunteer gets monthly pocket money according to the rules of the project and also the money for the food which they take care of themselves. They can make their meals at home or at work (there is equipped kitchen at the work place) or go to the restaurant with colleagues. Volunteers are provided with card for local transportation or with a bike (according to their wishes), so they can move within the city easily. There is a good public transport in Brno and good connection to other places in Czech Republic and abroad (European capitals Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava are nearby).

DAYS OFF AND VACATION
Volunteers will have two consecutive days off per week and 2 days of holiday per month for the duration of the project. Rarely, we need volunteers to work during weekends. In that case, they will get days off during next working week.

Volunteer´s activities

Role of the volunteer:

Volunteer in Lesni klub Siska works mainly as the assistant of pedagogues.
He/she assists during common activities, accompanies with them children in the forest, assists in regular courses for children (music, arts, sports, handcraft etc.) according to his/her interest, during occasional events and summer camps. Volunteer also helps children while putting on clothes, dining etc. and may be asked to help with practical tasks connected with the running of kindergarten – cooking, washing the dishes, cleaning and gardening. Volunteer is supported to bring his/her ideas and organize his/her own activities for children. Volunteer is given tasks according to his/her competences. The degree of independence and responsibility for them has an upward trend, but these are never 100% individual tasks. Volunteer never stayes with children on his/her own, there is always a responsible person present. Volunteer can count on methodical help and experience of pedagogues of Siska.

The volunteer will have many learning opportunities in these areas:
• Pedagogy and didactics – volunteer will experience the pedagogical work in our forest kindergarten and get to know the methodology (Outdoor education, Enviromental education, Montessori Education, Waldorf education, Woodcraft etc.)
• Permaculture and sustainability – volunteer will be in touch with permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture and have opportunity to take part in workshops we organize for public on these topics
• Practical skills – volunteer will gain practical skills according to his/her interest and needs – sports, handicraft, arts, playing musical instruments, gardening…
• Digital competencies – volunteer will take photos, make videos, prepare the leaflets and posters, social networks, campaigns
• Project management – preparing the project on his/her own or together with volunteers from Luzanky, he/she will be supported to plan, organize and evaluate his/her own events and projects
• Language skills – volunteer will have access to Czech language course, use English especially at the beginning and may use his/her own language while working with children (and teach them)
• Communication and culture – volunteer will be in touch with people of different age, social and cultural background

The working time of the volunteer is 35 hours weekly including the meetings with the ESC coordinator, Czech language course and time for personal project. The volunteer will have regular shedule.

Activities in Siska:
The volunteer in Siska works mainly as the assistant to pedagogues and may be asked to help with practical tasks connected with the run of kindegarten. The volunteer is supported to bring his/her ideas and organize his/her own activities for children. If he/she is willing to use his/her pedagogical ambitions, he/she can be involed in creating the programs for children.
Morning program in kindergarten consists of a morning circle, common activity on different topics, snack, walk and games in forest. After lunch children have a rest in yurt, listen to stories, songs etc. Afternoons there are different activities: music, arts, drama, sports, handcraft, gardening etc. Volunteer will assist the pedagogues during the activities, or can prepare and offer his/her own program to the children according to his/her abilities and interests. Pedagogues are prepared to support and help the volunteer in realizing the program and leading the group of children. Every month we organize feasts or workshops, which are outside the opening time of the kindergarten and volunteers can help us or coordinate it and realize it. Volunteers can also be involved in the administrative or promotional activities. They can help or even realize the garden works, repairs or smaller construction (building) projects.

Activities in Luzanky:
Meetings with ESC coordinator and other volunteers, Czech languague course, common activities of volunteers (promotion of ESC etc.). Volunteer can visit some of the courses (circus, handcraft, arts etc.) or activities organized by Luzanky workplaces or other cooperating organizations according to his/her interest.

Personal project:
Volunteers have 5 hours weekly to develop their personal project. At the beginning of the activity they are working 5 hours a week together with the ESC coordinator and volunteers from Luzanky on tasks connected with their integration and presentation of their presence in Brno. Common trainings organized by Siska or Luzanky outside Brno are possible. After 3 months volunteer can use this 5 hours weekly to prepare and realize his/her own project.

Risk prevention, protection and safety

Volunteer will be provided detailed info kit about the working conditions and neccessary equipment (outdoor shoes, clothes etc.) in advance. The volunteer´s involvement into outdoor activities will agreed according to their condition and we will make sure that volunteer feels comfortable regularly. As we are organization working with children, we have to respect a lot of rules concerning work safety, hygiene rules or responsibility-taking at work. At work, all the working rules concerning risk prevention will be presented to the volunteer by his/her tutor.

The important phone numbers and contact persons in case of health or other problems will be given to the volunteer. In case of crisis we can count on experts from Luzanky´s associated help line (professional psychologues). All the volunteers can rely on support of at least three persons: the ESC coordinator, the tutor and the mentor. The aim is to avoid situations when a volunteer finds himself/herself without any help while getting into troubles. In case of some problems or conflicts with one of the three persons, there are still two others, who the volunteer can ask for help.