ECD Guidelines

  • When working as a volunteer it is important to protect both yours and FNB’s reputations.
  • But the most important part of being a volunteer on this project is to make sure that the vulnerable children are not harmed and that their rights are respected.
  • Children may be exposed to negative atmospheres and relationships at home, at school or in their neighborhoods, and they may feel comfortable sharing their feelings or experiences with a caring volunteer.
  • While volunteering, a child may disclose something alarming about his or her personal life to you. If a child shares something with you that you believe is unhealthy in any way, please alert the classroom teacher or Volunteer Coordinator immediately.
  • Alternatively you can refer any concerns to the FNB ECD department

When a child discloses such information

  • Believe them
  • Listen calmly and carefully
  • Do not react strongly
  • Do not promise to keep it a secret
  • Immediately alert the Volunteer Coordinator, your volunteer leader, or a staff member on duty.
  • For safety reasons, volunteers are discouraged from working alone.
  • Do not leave personal items unattended.
  • A school is designated as a smoke-free area. There is no smoking in the buildings or on these grounds.
  • Whilst on duty, you should be in sufficient physical and mental health.


  • While it can feel good to have a child very attached to you, remember that it can be distressing for that child when you leave.
  • Avoid favouring a particular child. Share your attention fairly between all children, even children who might not be easy to interact with.
  • Many of the children will already have an attachment figure. This will either be a parent or perhaps a placement staff member.
  • Please respect and support these attachments with their principal caregivers.
  • Do not make promises to the children that you may not be able to fulfil (e.g. that you will definitely come back and visit next year).

Code of conduct for FNB ECD volunteers

One-on-one contact

  • Work in open spaces where you can be seen by other adults. Avoid bedrooms, bathrooms and rooms with the door shut.
  • Volunteers should not take children outside of their placement.

Physical Contact

  • Children may initiate physical contact and it is important to be warm with them. However do be mindful of our guidelines of what is appropriate and inappropriate.
  • It is okay to return hugs but try to give shoulder-to-shoulder or ‘A frame’ hugs. Encourage other forms of physical contact, for example high-fives instead.
  • Physical and sexual abuse is strictly forbidden. You must never hit or physically assault a child. Physical punishment of any form is forbidden.
  • Do not act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade the child.
  • Do not do things of a personal nature for a child or young person that they can do for themselves.

Create realistic and positive expectations

  • Children need to have a realistic and positive understanding of what volunteers are there to do. Volunteers should be seen as a kind and helpful adult.
  • They should also be seen as a positive role model. Although it might seem like some children do not speak very good English, you will be surprised by what they can pick up.
  • For this reason we expect volunteers not to discuss anything with inappropriate content whilst at the placement. It is important to regulate your language - no swearing.
  • Volunteers should avoid being seen as purely a figure of fun or someone who will dispense goods.
  • Providing sweets and gifts to the children is a nice gesture but creates unrealistic expectations. Children may think that volunteers have sweets and gifts with them every day and will ask for these.
  • If a volunteer would like to make a contribution, they can speak to an ECD staff member.

Confidentiality and information management

  • Be selective and sensitive when taking photos. Always ask permission from staff members and families before taking photos of the child.
View References


Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board. 2015. Code of Conduct for Volunteers when Working with Children. Date of access: 4 May 2018.

The South African Counsel of Educators (SACE). 2018. The Code of Professional Ethics . Date of access: 20 Jul. 2018


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