Skip to main content

Child-Care Worker

Insider Info

Volunteers working in child care give a lot of their time and energy to the children they help look after. However, many volunteers find that they get back even more than they give.

Alex Gillis volunteered and now serves as a staff member at a day-care center. He has found that the children he works with are very positive and know how to have fun. Lucky for the volunteers -- they get to join in on the fun.

"I see the strength, curiosity and beauty in each child," says Gillis.

Unfortunately, there are often not enough adults to go around. The child-to-adult ratio in many day cares is small, meaning that the adults must spread themselves thin. And that can make it difficult to meet all the needs of the individual children.

There is a great need for child-care volunteers, says Mary DeBlasio. She is a director of volunteers at a child-care center.

As a volunteer in the child-care field, you may find yourself catering to children's needs on many different levels. "[The volunteers] do anything from tying a shoelace, assisting with homework to mentoring," explains Ed Cook. He is the director of volunteers with a YMCA.

Maria Castro volunteers at a YMCA. She feels good working with children and getting involved in her community. But what brings her the most fulfillment is feeling liked and appreciated by the children.

"I really like it when the children come and give me a kiss and hug and tell me they love me," she says. "It makes me enjoy the work."

When looking after children, there is no shortage of humor and entertainment. Even the simplest activity, such as lunch time, can provide moments of insight and laughter.

"A little girl was having her lunch of fried rice," says Gillis. "She ate everything in her bowl but three little peas. When I asked why she hadn't eaten them, she said, 'I don't do peas.'"

Statements like this have made Gillis realize how capable children are of expressing themselves. These interactions have given him great respect for children's intelligence. That's why he tells his volunteers to "treat them as you would an adult."

How to Get Involved

To find a child-care volunteer position, check with your local school, youth center or day-care center. Or, contact your local YMCA, and ask about volunteer opportunities.

As a child-care volunteer, you should be a caring, patient person who enjoys children. You may be required to interview for the position.

Finally, prepare for the unexpected, says Cook, and expect to receive a lot of love back.


Learn about volunteering at the YMCA

YMCA Search
Find a YMCA near you

Search for various volunteer opportunities in your area
Find various volunteer opportunities near you

National Association of Child Care Professionals
Learn about this organization for child-care professionals

Back to Career Cluster


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.