Sunshine School, Vientiane, Laos

Sunshine School – Vientiane, Laos

The Sunshine School was established in 1996 and is officially licensed and registered with the Lao government. It is located in Vientiane, Laos. It is a pre and primary school with the Neo-Humanist Education system managed by Ananda Marga Women’s Welfare Department. The school is a non-profit, non-denominational institution dedicated to providing a multicultural, ethically based education through integrated learning and the holistic development of the child.

Laos is a very small and beautiful landlocked country. Air is free of industrial pollution and traffic pollution. The school is about 30-45 minutes away from the Lao-Nongkhai Thailand border. The school is about 5 minutes walk from the beautiful Mekong River where one can go for a walk or cycling in the shaded asphalt road and watch the sunset or the river flow. Lao people are warm and friendly but not many people can speak English although more people speak it now compared to 4-5 years ago.

What work will the volunteer do:

There is a wide range of activities open to volunteers:

Teaching English

Primarily, they can help with our English language programmes in the kindergarten and primary sections of the school. Also they can participate as teachers in our evening or weekend English classes for children and adults. As English language teachers or assistants they could teach English to our primary children from grades 1- 5. Each grade has 4 lessons a week at 45 minutes each lesson. The volunteers in this position will be requested to prepare their lesson plans, so volunteers with an education background are preferable but not necessary.

Work as assistant teachers in our kindergarten

We presently have two bi-lingual (English and Lao) kindergarten classes and we need an English speaking assistant in each class to work along side of our Lao staff.

Teaching creative activities

We are looking for people with training or backgrounds in teaching music, dance, drama, art, crafts, sports, computer and other skills to help us out with these programmes in the primary school.

Skills needed:

We are looking for people with experience in progressive education techniques, (Neo-Humanist Education if possible) especially for primary level to help us introduce more creative child-centered methods of teaching to our staff. As is common in many Asian countries, Laotian teachers are trained in the traditional ‘chalk & talk’ methods of teaching. Although in our school the teacher/student relationship is more friendly and free than in many other local schools, we are still a long way from having a really creative flow in the classrooms.

Requirements for the Volunteers:

They should be able to read, write and speak English fluently and be willing to learn the local language which is Lao. The time and times that the volunteers are expected to spend at school each day will vary according to which age group they are working with and what type of work they are doing. The school is open from Mon – Fri 8.00 – 4.30. There are also activities on Saturday mornings from 8 – 12. Light cotton clothes would be advisable for all year round. In summer (March- May), the temperature can get as high as 37-39 C. Light footwear is advisable as many roads are still dirt roads. Winter in Laos could be cold, around 8-10 degrees C, bring a sweater along for the winter.

How many volunteers are needed?

Two volunteers at a time.

How long can I volunteer?

1 – 10 months

What is offered?

The school will try its best to arrange basic accommodation for long term volunteers. A vegetarian lunch will be served free for all students, teachers and staff during school days from Sept – June. Long term volunteers may be given an allowance to help maintain their living in Laos; this is negotiable according to the needs of the volunteers and the amount of time they spend working at the school.