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Schools and families

Kew would like to invite you to volunteer and join our Schools and Families programme. Share your passion and help Kew inspire young people with the power of plants.

A group of children listen to a volunteer in one of Kew's glasshouses

Palm House Explainers inspire children through 'hands on' activities in Kew's great glasshouse.

Overview

There are a variety of ways to get involved with Kew’s Schools & Families programme. If you enjoy working with children, or like working in the fields of education and play, this could be the volunteering opportunity for you.

Children playing inside Climbers and Creepers

Having fun in Climbers and Creepers

Kew's Schools programme caters for a wide range of educational groups attracting thousands of children and young people each week. Many participate in our activity tours and workshops provided by a specialist team of Kew Teachers.

Kew also attracts thousands of children who visit with their families. Children aged three to nine can explore a giant world of plants and find out about how they interact with animals in our botanically-themed interactive play zone, Climbers and Creepers. We also run a range of special activities and events across the gardens at weekends and during the school holidays.

Volunteer opportunities

Examples of the types of volunteering roles available and the kind of activities you can get involved in are:

  • Costumed Explainers - show your theatrical side by dressing up in Victorian dress and encouraging children and families to engage with the paintings within our beautifully restored Marianne North Gallery. Use Victorian style artefacts from Marianne's 'travelling trunk' to help children understand her life as a Victorian travelling painter.
  • Family Learning Volunteers - get hands on in the preparation and delivery of enjoyable craft, horticultural activities and games for Kew's younger visitors and their families. Help with special festivals and events at Kew.
  • Gate Greeters - welcome and help to orientate school groups arriving at Kew. Help to manage visitor flow, suggest places to visit, point out matters of interest and provide practical advice for groups.
  • Palm House Explainers - lead activities within one of Kew's great glasshouses, engaging and involving children in the various exhibits. Use artefacts, samples and props to encourage curiosity and allow children to contribute towards their experiences.
  • Activity Tour and Workshop Assistants - help Kew teachers with activity tours and workshops in the Gardens. Set up and clear away workshops, attend activity sessions and provide support to Kew Teachers and children as required.

Commitment and skills

Volunteer hours at Kew are flexible, including school term time, weekends and school holidays. We encourage our volunteers to commit to around 24 sessions per year.The roles we offer may suit parents with children at school or people looking for skills development in education, playwork, child care or early years development.

Training is provided, but beneficial skills and experience include:

  • working with children in schools or play centres
  • working in public-facing environments such as front of house or visitor services at museums or public attractions
  • applicants should have good communication and team working skills and enjoy being with children

Looking after our visitors

Kew is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers interacting with these groups to share this commitment.

All volunteering placements that work with these groups are subject to a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) and reference checks.

How to apply

We are not currently recruiting. However, if you would like to register your interest, please complete an Application form and email it along with your CV to schools@kew.org. We will keep your application on hold until our next round of recruitment.

If you would prefer to print and complete your application form by hand, please return with your CV to: 

Schools and Families Volunteers
Museum No.1
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond

Surrey
TW9 3AB

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