SVE en Varsovia – Polonia!

Przedszkole Specjalne Nr 245 dla Dzieci Slabowidzacych «Sowy Madrej Glowy»

Description of the organisation

Our kindergarten is a specialized institution that takes care of visually impaired children from 3 to 6 years of age. At present
there are 54 children with various visual defects in our kindergarten. They are divided into 4 age groups: 3-year-olds, 4-yearolds,
5-year-olds and 6-year-olds.
Apart from the didactic and educational functions our kindergarten also fulfils prophylactic and therapeutic functions. We
perform oculist diagnoses and provide visual treatment for our children. Such treatment is particularly important in case of
small children whose eyeball muscles are still very elastic and easy to be changed. That is why orthoptic and pleoptic therapy
in the kindergarten brings very good results. We provide oculist treatment for children who have been diagnosed with different
visual defects, squint eye or lazy eye. Our oculist tests children, diagnoses them and prescribes appropriate optic exercise. This
exercise is then carried out under the supervision and with the assistance of the orthoptic specialist. We have a well-equipped
room in which children under professional supervision perform their orthoptic exercise using specialist equipment. We also
provide professional psychological, logopedic and educational therapy. Our specialists take care that the progress of childrens’
abilities is both harmonious and homogenous. After this kind of treatment children can successfully carry on learning at school.
Apart from regular activities we also organize extra activities, e.g. musical lessons, gymnastic, art, dancing, English and dog
therapy classes. In our kindergarten function three following work-rooms: art, computer (IT) and the room of empirical nature
observations. Using these work-rooms children have a possibility to extend their knowledge and experience in a much wider
range. Especially arranged rooms give our children also an opportunity to have some fun and enjoy what they do. Additionally,
we organise music concerts and theatrical performances for our children that take place in our institution once a month. In May
and June we offer also a special course of adaptation to the kindergarten environment for new children and their parents.
The people who work in the kindergarten are well-prepared professionals: special pedagogues for visually impaired children,
psychologist, logopedic specialist, instructor of sensory intergation, educator specialist, etc. There is also an oculist who
diagnoses children and prescribes adequate treatment for them, as well as an orthoptic specialist who takes care of this
treatment in our everyday care system. Of course there are supporting and assistance staff members working in our institution.
Such include teacher assistants, janitors, kitchen workers, keepers and administrative personnel.

Motivation and EVS experience

The Special Kindergarten No 245 for Visually Impaired Children has been involved in the EVS since 2009. We have hosted
volunteers from France, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Ukraine. The work of volunteers is very important for
us and for children with more severe visual impairments and also blind children. They require much more individual attention
and asistance. By involving volunteers in our kindergarden, we aim to achieve a change in our work and thus provide better
condition for our children. We want to conttinue our policies and cooperate with people who are ready to work with blind and
visually impaired children. Our children need a lot of assistance and EVS volunteers definitely provide an additional hand.
Moreover, we are confident that the presence of motivated young people diminishes the sense of exclusion that our children
sometimes get by being different from their peers. Apart from individual assistance and support in the group volunteers help us
enrich the range of proposed activities for our children, as they have so far. Our volunteers are encouraged to pursue their own
initiatives and ideas, which we follow within the scope of our possibilities.
Involving EVS volunteers in our activities we also focus on the learning process of our volunteers. They have the opportunity to
learn a new language, get to know a new culture and discover the life of Warsaw. Working in our kindergarten, volunteers have
a chance to learn more about different ways of work with visually impaired children and therapies we involve our children in.
Through individual escorting volunteers learn a lot about the daily life, problems and developmental specifics of our children.
We would like to offer a nice working atmosphere, cooperation with a team of creative young professionals that are opened to
new people.

Project enviroment

A. PROJECT ENVIRONMENT

The kindergarten is placed in the northern part of Warsaw, the Bielany district. Bielany is a residential district, known for
being peaceful and quiet. There are plenty of retirees and young families living in Bielany. One can find all necessary public
institutions (e.g. hospital, medical centers, libraries) as well as popular entertainment facilities such as shopping complex or
cinema in Bielany. Buses, trams and the underground make Bielany very reachable and well connected in the city.
The kindergarten has a very good location, as the building is situated next to the Warsaw metro station called «Slodowiec». The
kindergarten is a low one-storey building. All playrooms for children, big hall, bathrooms, specialists’ offices, director’s office
and the kitchen are all located in the ground floor. The cloakrooms, the oculist’s office and then orthoptist’s office are located
on the –1 level. The kindergarten has a big, beautiful garden with a lot of equipment and accessories.
Smoking is banned on the premises of the kindergarten and we would expect the volunteers to follow the rule.
The kindergarten is open from Monday to Friday, from 7:00 am until 5:30 pm.
The plan of the day is the following:
07:00 – 08:00 am – children come to the kindergarten.
08:30 – 09:00 am – breakfast
09:00 – 12:00 – educational activities
12:00 – 12:30 pm – dinner
01:00 – 03:30 pm – non-compulsory activities and teatime
01:00 – 02:15 pm – rest for the youngest children
03:30 – 05:30 pm – play time, children go home.

B. PROPOSED ACTIVITIES FOR EVS VOLUNTEERS

The main role of the volunteer that we would like to invite to our daily-care place would be based on direct work with a blind
child and assisting the child during its stay in the kindergarten. Our kindergarten is addressed to visually impaired children.
However, due to the current social needs, we do admit blind children. They practically require full-time assistance in performing
most of their daily activities. Work with a blind child includes getting the child to know the world around him/her, moving within
the kindergarten spaces, teaching the child to use the equipment available on the premises, assistance during the teachermanaged
classes, additional activities, as well as helping the child with typical self-care activities, such as personal hygiene,
help at eating (assisted eating), dressing and undressing. The work during the classes is connected with preparing under the
direct teacher’s supervision special aid materials that may be necessary for tasks to be performed. Such aid materials need to
be adjusted to the specific child’s visual abilities. The volunteer would strictly cooperate with the teachers working in particular
groups as far as the work with a given child is concerned and would also exchange his/her observations and reflections, while
at the same time complying with the teacher’s requirements in connection with group activities.
The volunteers would have an opportunity to take part in all cultural and social events organised in the kindergarten, such as
theatre performances, concerts, balls and other holiday-related events (Family’s Day, Grandmother’s Day, Grandfather’s Day),
as well as in trips outside the kindergarten.
Considering the described activities in which the volunteers would be participating in we believe that they would have the
possibility to develop their pedagogical skills in the area of working with children with special needs, as well as participating in
various workshops and trainings organised by and/or in the kindergarten. We are confident that volunteers can gain a lot of
knowledge and practical skills they will be able to use in the future.
Furthermore, we hope volunteers will also suggest their own ideas for activities and we wil provide mentorship and supervision
for them to inmplement them. They will be able to count on the support of our staff. We are also aware of the fact that working
with visually impaired or blind children is very demanding and that volunteers would need specific guidelines and training to
prepare them and help them with their work. The working and learning process of the volunteers would be monitored on a
regular basis.
Verbal communication between the volunteers and the children is very important, especially that our children due to their visual
impairment cannot rely on non-verbal communication so much. It is for this reason as well that we would put special attention
on the knowledge of Polish language of the volunteers. Polish language support would be provided with the mentioned goal
as well as the aim to make the interaction and communication between the volunteers and the kindergarten staff easier. We
would also like to introduce voluneers to the Polish culture, history and tradition and we believe that we can all achieve this by
volunteers’ involvement in our kindergarten.

C. VOLUNTEER PROFILES AND RECRUITMENT PROCESS

Since the volunteers would be working with a little child that is blind or whose eyesight is impaired to the point in which verbal
communication becomes the basic form of contact available to them, it would be good for the volunteer to have basic knowledge
of Polish. It is not, however, a demand from our side. At the same time, it is important that volunteers would be eager to learn
Polish, at least the basics that are necessary for communication.
The Polish Robert Schuman Foundation as the support organization would organize the recruitment process. We are opened
to cooperation with different sending organizations, volunteers from different countries and of different backgrounds. Nationality,
religious or political beliefs, social origin, sexual orientation, gender or economical circumstances will not be a defining factor in
our selection of volunteers. The most important characteristics that we would be looking for are the following:
-that the volunteers like children and working with children
-can easily establish contact with small children (3-4 years old)
-openness and open-mindedness.
– declaration to learn at least basic Polish before starting their Service (volunteers are going to work with blind or visually
impaired child, who is able to comunicatemostly by speaking. Our experience shows that there is a need of verbal comunication
to begin any relation with visually impaired children. Therefore volunteers’ motivation and help from sending organization are
necessary. Of course we will provide guidance for language learning before arrival and also support organization, Polish
Robert Schuman Foudnation, will provide additional materials and suggestion. Sending organization must also declare to help
the volutneer in the preparation phase – with guidance, tips and language learning materials or possibilities.)
Pedagogical experience and/or explicit pedagogical predisposition/skills/carrier aspirations would also be welcome but are
definitely not a requirement.
Selection would be carried out on the basis of CVs and motivation letters sent by the candidates or their sending organizations.
Sometimes short interviews would be conducted with the candidates over the phone or instant communicator. The final decision
would be made after thourough consultation with the staff of the Special Kindergarten No 245 for Visually Impaired Children.

D. NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS HOSTED

2

E. SPECIAL NEEDS

We are able to host volunteers with lower opportunities in the following areas:
1.Geographical obstacles: young people from remote or rural areas; young people living on small islands or peripheral regions,
young people from less serviced areas (limited public transport, poor facilities, abandoned villages).
Warsaw is a large city. We will help volunteers to get to know the city . We will teach them the topography of Warsaw and how
to use different kinds of city transport: tramways, underground, buses. We will give them a chance to see cultural life of Warsaw
and show them where they can find cinemas, theatres etc. Volunteers can use the internet in the kindergarten. If there is a
need we can also teach them how to use a computer.
2.Economics obstacles: young people with a low standard of living, low income and longtime unemployment;
There are many different workers in the kindergarten. Except teachers, there are also cooks, teacher assistances, cleaners,
janitors, secretary and office worker. Volunteers can see the work of those people and recognize their own interest and skills.
All volutneers will have additional support from Polish Robert Schuman Foundation, which can also arrange additional mentor
and will organize social activities for a group of volunteers.

F. RISK PREVENTION, PROTECTION AND SAFETY

With the support of the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation we will make sure that the volunteers have full support throughout
the whole project and the project is implemented fully subscribing to the EVS ideology defined in «Youth in Action» user giude
and EVS Charter.
In the kindergarten the volunteers can expect:
-nice and warm atmosphere
-possibility to learn the Polish language
-supervisor’s assistance
-assistance at task performance
-learning about and getting to know forms and methods of educational, caring and didactic work with visually impaired and
blind children
-possibility to take part in trainings and workshops organised by and/or in the kindergarten
-2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) during the stay in the kindergarten.
The volunteers would be able to count on the support of the specialists and the kindergarten staff. Each volunteer would
have their supervisor and mentor to which they would be able to turn to for advice and/or help. The volunteers would also be
acquainted with the guidelines and rules regarding safety and hygiene as well as methods and rules of working with visually
impaired or blind children.
Additionally volunteers will be a part of a bigger group of volutneers whose activities are supported by the Polish Robert
Schuman Foundation, the so called «Schuman volunteers». Integration with them will provide an additional social network, a
sort of volutneer peer support.
Due to specifics of the activities proposed we cannot not host volunteers under the age of 18.

Inclusion topics

This organisation is willing to involve volunteers who face situations which make their participation in activities more difficult, from the following categories for different types of project:

  • Economic obstacles
  • Geographical obstacles

Selection process

For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Europass CV with picture (made in the last month)
– Motivational letter, writing that your sending organisation will be “Building Bridges”

Remember to write in the motivation letter that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges”.

All documents written in english you can send to: asociacionbb@gmail.com with subject “EVS Polonia Special Kindergarten No 245″.

[button size=medium style=less_round color=blue align=none url=https://www.dropbox.com/s/x775id4oolw2pn1/evs-schuman-application-form-2014.doc?dl=0]Applicationform[/button]

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