I’m 19 years old and I’m from Germany. To increase my knowledge in social services, I volunteered to help at Ochil Tower School. I plan to become a teacher in the future, specifically with children with disabilities and additional support needs, and I was very interested in life in a Camphill community.
Ochil Tower School is like its own little universe in Auchterarder. With the four houses it’s a small, lovely, multi-cultural community. Everyone here is very kind, helpful and open-hearted. For me it’s a great experience working here. I wasn’t familiar with life in a community like this. It’s sometimes demanding to share my life with children with additional needs, but mostly interesting, funny and fun.
I live in a shared house, and I eat with the children, other staff members and the house parents. All in all, we have nearly the same rhythm every day.
Mainly I work with two students, one from the house and the other in class. At 7.30 I support a child and get him ready for breakfast. Afterwards everybody meets in their own classes or learning groups. During first lesson we do PE. Most of the time we are playing ball games or riding a bike.
After a break we have a topic lesson. At the moment we are learning a lot about Energy. At lunch time we meet back in our house, where we have a lovely lunch, made by our chef. Then there’s a rest hour, and in the afternoon we may have a folk dancing class, singing, horse riding or other activities. Every afternoon is different.
Once a week the whole class has a big outing – mostly we walk our assistance dogs.
After school we spend the time with the students by going shopping, playing in the playground, doing jobs around the house, going for a walk or preparing supper. After supper I support a student with his personal care and help him prepare for bed. I finish my shift at 8.30pm.
On weekends and at holiday times, the atmosphere is more relaxed. There is no school and the work is more focused in the houses – cleaning, tidying up, laundry etc. We have house outings - we go swimming, to the cinema or have a nice movie afternoon.
It’s great to see how the students develop over the time, and I like it when they achieve new skills. The time I spend together with the students is lovely, and we often have great fun together.
On my days off or in the evenings, I meet the other co-workers. We play games together, go to yoga or to the choir. During the holidays we take the co-worker car and explore the beautiful landscape of Scotland.
I would recommend a voluntary year at Ochil Tower School to everybody. If you’re motivated by living in a community, learning a new language and culture, have a good sense of humour, like to work in a team and can empathise with children and young people, then this might just be the place for you.
I am very thankful having the chance to be a member of the community of Ochil Tower School and to grow in my own little universe.