Project-Based Learning for kids in Hanoi, Vietnam


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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    If you are a professional teacher, accomplished artist or experienced scientist, of course, we want you to apply. However, so many of our volunteers are just ordinary people who bring such extraordinary ideas to the studio. You don't have to be a movie star to lead an amazing theatre workshop... maybe, just a little wit, a little heart, a little magic...


    We are looking to collaborate with volunteers to inspire children to use their imaginations. We are not looking for professional teachers. Instead, we are looking for actors, scientists, visual artists, musicians, creators and designers in many fields to introduce their disciplines and passions to the children. This is how we teach English! While doing an art project or a science experiment that is entirely in English we engage the children in ORGANIC ENGLISH.

    We are not a traditional school. We use no books, have no curriculum and steal unapologetically from many different methodologies. Instead, we call ourselves a THIRD SPACE (Wikipedia) where inspired souls from around the world bring their personal passions to share with the children of Hanoi.

    We combine mindfulness with Project Based learning for kids aged 2 to 16 years. This is play-based learning designed to make the children active and use their own imagination to navigate the world. We don't want to just teach; we want to inspire. We just don't want them memorizing facts; we want them to dream a little bit.

    In the past we have had so many amazing workshop leaders create something close to magic: a television producer from England made a beach installation out of nothing and then fully engaged the children to play at the seaside when there was no sea and no sand, just the children's wonderful musings: a Brazilian filmmaker based in London, created a film set and then gave all the kids jobs as actors, directors, film crew and producers and they created a storyboard and even produced a short film; one university student from Osaka combined sumo wrestling and origami to create an incredible PBL where all the children were left wanting to travel to Japan.

    We have had volunteers engage the children in cosmic yoga, science experiments, acting, playback theatre, theatre crafts, engineering, baking & cooking, up-cycle gardening, recycling, art installations, storytelling, music............ almost anything that a volunteer is passionate about can become, with a little work, a PBL. Simple projects that resonate personally with the Workaway volunteer will inspire the children. It is wonderful if you are an artist who has shown in galleries or a chef who has worked in amazing restaurants but equally as empowering is a volunteer who brings something personal-- even idiosyncratic. We had one amazing volunteer who made puppets from potatoes and household items and it was as if a light had been brought into the studio. Don't be just professional: be personal!


    1. VOLUNTEERS WITH A SCIENCE BACKGROUND are needed to lead lively and engaging experiments to inspire the children. The science teacher will also lead STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). We want the kids to go into nature and bring back their own observation supported by experiments and hand on PBL. This is natural science minus the book.We have recently had a volunteer from France who introduced us to the idea of STEAM is STEM but with some art thrown in. It is marrying these two disciplines and creating something new. This has been very game-changing.

    2. VOLUNTEERS WITH A VISUAL ARTS BACKGROUND are needed at the studio. The focus is always on the process and about learning organic English but this summer we would like to up our skill level to learning basic foundation such sketching or basic techniques in painting. We also would like to expose the children to creating art and the power of original thought instead of simply copying.

    3. In the Kids Kitchen, we just had a French baker and a Russian & American chef bring in a Master Chef program. We need more support in this to create an educational program where the kids create a recipe book and start thinking about how food is put together. Again, it is great if you are a sushi chef but your grandmother's recipe for banana bread will do just nicely.

    4. We need practitioners of yoga and mindfulness to support the kids to focus and to become engaged in the moment.

    5 Create installations, murals or even sculpture that the kids can work as a team

    6. We run an IELTS plus program for young adults and a sensory class for kids aged 2 to 4. Your creativity and experience are very helpful.

    7. Team building and how to build good social skills would also be of great help here.

    8. Journal-ling: bullet journals for tweens and teens and other types of scrapbooking and writing activities to support young minds express themselves through writing.

    9. Theatre/acting/public speaking are three creative ways to teach English.

    10 BEST OF ALL, Bring your own idea. Our best workshops have always come from individuals who have created something unique from their own PERSONAL lives. We call this authenticity and the children respond so enthusiastically to a person who brings their personal project and a little enthusiasm.

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️We are very grateful to have the amazing support of all the volunteers. we are now fully booked to June. Thank you to everyone for their help. Our next window for volunteers is June & July and a stay from 1 to 12 weeks is welcome.

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Facebook management & social media
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    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️produce video about kids that are funny, engaging but most important, informative to parents about our methodology
    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️graphic design and page layout
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    We are advocates for children's rights. We do this by building a culture in the classroom about respect, kindness, non-violence, and most of all, a child's right to play. But we are not an NGO and receive no funding from governments or institutions. We charge a tuition for the weekend students so that we can offer scholarships and support local community projects. This allows us to have complete control of our program without the red tape and to do something more empowering, more personal, more experiential............ maybe something more holistic.

    We work only 3 nights during the week because most of the workshops are on the Saturday & Sunday We take off Monday & Tuesday and work half days Wednesday to Sunday. Our idea is to follow the Worksaway guidelines of 25 hours per week. Sometimes it is a little less, sometimes a little more but usually, we are able to follow this guideline. We are hoping that people are self-motivated and hoping to make a difference and we are not looking for volunteers to punch a clock.

    This is a travel experience and not just a work experience. We are hoping the international volunteers will bring their lightness, their joy, their personal stories and their humanity to inspire our community.

    We are very humbled by 550plus volunteers that have visited our studio from 27 countries. Their contribution to the Vietnamese children cannot be overstated. Most of the workshops were very good but SO many were just unbelievably magical and for the kids--even life-changing. This is what we are all about and is the very core of our methodology......... we want to inspire the children to use their imagination and for that to be the catalyst for a life of learning.

    Please note that we are not an NGO or a social enterprise. We fund our own charitable and scholarship programs through tuition of our regular students and to pay the bills, Robert works at a local university and the Ministry of Finance to subsidize the program.

    You should also be aware that we give volunteers abundant independence to design their own programs and frankly, this does not always work for everyone. If this is the case, be transparent and ask to support other volunteers who are leading programs. Supporting other volunteers is more than ok and we often find that people want to take the lead after a few classes anyways.

    We have worked hard to created a culture of learning based on Mindfulness. Although our objectives are diverse, they all come through building an atmosphere of quiet engagement and a feeling of "flow" or mindfulness. We create a completely bilingual space that not only teaches English but also develops cognitive and social skills, supports active learning and advocates children’s rights, especially a child’s right to play.

    However, because we are so creative, some of our workshops are vulnerable to failure. That is inevitable. We are open to failure as part of the process. Because of this, we have had a few negative reviews usually stating that we are a little disorganized. GUILTY AS CHARGED! We are, however, more communicative and more transparent and more organized than other companies in Vietnam. But, this is, in the end, Vietnam and things are done differently here. Driving and arriving on time are creatively interpreted in Hanoi. This is not Germany or Japan, regimented and organized. The Ts are not crossed, the dots are missing from the "I" and the ducks are seldom in a row. Life here is reinventing itself after a thousand years of war and famine and a tumultuous history. Now, Hanoi is in a renaissance: it is colourful, exciting, surprising. The Vietnamese are doing it their way and frankly, they have earned that right. If we were to paraphrase life in Hanoi, we could say that the traffic and pollution suck -- everything else is pretty amazing.

    We do things backwards and we like it that way. You will not be handed a lesson plan or a curriculum or any kind of outline. We want you to use your idea and create a workshop reflective of your life. This could be as simple as a hobby or something you learned at school. Better, to create something that you are passionate about. Perhaps a life's workshop or a vision for the future or maybe how you want to contribute to the world. We work as a group to brainstorm and mind map out your personal workshop. That is supported by us but the workshop is all about you and your vision.

    Usually, we are looking for Workaways who can stay 2 to 6 weeks. Some have stayed for three months and several volunteers stayed for even six months. It is best to arrive early in the week, maybe Wednesday so you have time to get orientated before the larger workshops on the weekend. We close for most of February but are quite busy for the rest of the year. When you apply, please give us a rough date of your availability. Usually, we do book up three to four months in advance but last minute request can work well if you are specific with your dates of arrival and departure.

    We are a small operation teaching students on weekday nights and weekends. Some of the workshops and events are held right in the studio. We are not a big huge institution. However, we now teach in several locations. During June & July, we teach only through the week and have the weekends off. We work 5 hours a day, 5 days per week but shifts can be traded and schedules can be flexible to accommodate min-excursions

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Babysitting / child care
    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Charity work
    Language practice
    Art project
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Help


    We work 5 days. Three evening shifts and two morning shifts.

    Native speakers of English are very welcome, of course, but also people who speak several languages (even if not perfectly) because of the rich cultural exchange they bring about and frankly, a person who speaks with an "accent" is bilingual or maybe even multilingual. What's wrong with that?

    We are looking for a Volunteer Coordinator. This is the most fun job on Workaway . The position includes a range of duties: taking volunteers out to cultural events such as salsa nights, classical music, French & German musical events, poetry nights, street food, fresh beer marches (marches of the living dead), motorbike and mountain bikes rides, cafe hopping, foodie outings, day trips around Hanoi to temples and parks, touring the old quarter, meditation and yoga. You will book volunteers into the studio, orientate the volunteers to the rules, but there is virtually no office work. This position is just getting volunteers up to speed in producing PBL and making good use of downtime.

    This position is one to three months in duration and includes meals (quite awesome) and accommodation (single mattress in a shared sunny room)

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Travelers will work beside Vietnamese volunteers as well as Workaways from all over the world. The Vietnamese culture is completely different from western culture. This is fascinating and maddening experience and it is what travel and cultural exchange is all about. Our Vietnamese volunteers from the Hanoi University often take volunteers out for small city tours: street food, museums, the old quarter.

    We believe that our education system is something really special and take great pleasure in inviting new and exciting guests to help us expand our ideas. We are constantly learning from our international volunteers and we believe you will be inspired in this small but creative project.

    The most important thing about our program is PBL (project based learning) where kids do physical projects which the volunteers design to engage the students. This is sometimes a little challenging to the new volunteers but with a little support we manage to pull it off week after week for the past 6 years. This is the main thing that we want to impart to the volunteers: an innovative way to teach children.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Vietnamese

  • Accommodation


    We work from a modern, comfortable apartment on the 6th floor of a high rise, We offer our volunteers a clean, bright and quiet space to live and work in. Couples are given a private room where possible. The sleeping accommodation is two to three Workaways to a room and there are 3 to 6 international volunteer at any one time. We have hot water, wifi, a rooftop balcony, two additional balconies in the studio, air-con and heating, The walls are painted with black chalkboard paint and although it is not luxury, it is very comfortable, arty and a great place to call home for a little while.

    Meals are eaten together on workdays, However, on days off we have less of a structure: volunteers are welcome to cook or head out to many restaurants in the area for lunches and dinners that cost less than 2 dollars.

    o Near West Lake, Hanoi’s largest lake and also Hanoi’s cleanest air. A great place to walk, run, cycle or have a seat in a traditional cafe overlooking the lake shore
    o Walking distance to inexpensive restaurants ($2-$3 per meal)
    o Traditional beer barges on the lake
    o 10 minutes to two fabulous swimming pools right on the lake
    o One bus to the old quarter (a village of yellow French colonial homes): about a 30 minute bus r

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    This is a big city that feels like an oversized village. There is a lot to do here.

    O There is a cool Salsa scene. Some people have joined the Tango Argentine 'melongies'.
    O A bike can be had for 2usd to ride around the lake which is great in the mornings.
    O Hanoi's famous yoga studio is a 10 minute grab bike away from Studio 1 and Studio 2 has a yoga and fitness center in the same building.
    O The cafe scene is quite rich and there are so many fabulous little places where you can go to hang out with men smoking black cigarettes and playing chess and buy a coffee for 30 cents or you can go to a chic place where everyone is dressed up in Prada and pay $3 for an iLLY cappuccino. Hanoi life and culture is best understood through the cafes.
    O Poetry & music and open mic nights are all over our neighbourhood around West Lake (Tay Ho)
    O There are many free beer "happy hour" events where most of the expats show up to start off the party night there are actually free beer tours which are fun but not recommended for more than one night :))
    O Hanoi is very polluted and congested but we are located about 100 meters from a large lake and there is a walking path more than 14 kilometers long. it is the best air in Hanoi and it is possible to rent a bike to cycle around the walking path.
    O trips to Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue are Danang are all possible while staying at the studio. Flights the whole length of the country are $30 to $50 usd
    O Our Vietnamese volunteers come from the local universities and they are very enthusiastic to take you to see the hidden Hanoi: street food, thousand-year-old temples, the student cafes, pavement tea, are all on the list
    O We don't encourage this too often but there is a free beer tour where travelers flutter from one beer establishment to the next (there are a dozen or more) for the free fresh beer.
    O Great music scene, open mic, poetry nights, Latin dance such as salsa and tango, big expat scene, cultural scene supported by the French Embassy and the Goethe Institute.
    O There are day trips to religious caves, pagodas and temples, national parks.

    Please obtain a three-month visa on arrival which is available to most European and citizens of the north and south America. You can apply online or via the embassy or contact us and we can point you in the right direction. Please don't think that "visa on arrival" means "visa on arrival. You must pre-book your visa. If you run into a glitch, we can support your visa application.

    There is a very cheap bus system here but make sure you download grab bike, grab taxi and Uber. This is the best way to get around--efficient and cost-effective. Motorbikes are about 2usd per day if you rent by the month--very cheap but also a little hair-raising because of the creative driving practised here.

    Getting Away From Hanoi
    Please check Trip Adviser for up to date reviews about destinations around Hanoi. There are several travel agencies close by in Tay Ho that other Workawayers have used. They found them good value for the money. Everyone wants to go to Hoi An, Ninh Binh and Sapa but there are so many destinations perfect for a day or weekend trip.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 25 hours per week


Creating a little magic and supporting kids to have the courage to be imaginative
We take eating very seriously! You will taste traditional Vietnamese cuisine as well as western favorites. Workaways have made paella, tapas, schnitzel, Vietnamese vegetarian spring rolls, Indian chapatis, Turkish coffee baked bread and cookies, Our focus is mostly vegetarian but we usually have a meat option too. Vegans usually need to add to the meal by purchasing some food from the local market. Nobody goes hungry and nobody loses weight (apologies). From time to time, wine and beer are served with the meal and we have had volunteers mix up mojitos and martinis on more than one occasion. Everything in moderation, of course.
Kid' Kitchen is one of our most popular PBL. We have had Workaways make sushi, pasta, Vietnamese springs rolls, pasta from scratch banana bread and even gingerbread houses.
A democratic approach to learning. Teachers sit amoung the students at a ration of 1 teacher per 3 to 6 students. This means that a child is speaking and listening English for most of the three hours. THIS IS THE CORE OF OUR METHODOLOGY.
imagine, touch, learn
Volunteers come from native and non-native speaking countries. We are not trying to teach Texan or Liverpool accents but rather English as" linga franca:: a trade language for the world.
All workshops are modelled on mindfulness and although we have found yoga and mediation not always engaging for young children, we do use many techniques from mindfulness instead of strict classroom discipline. The effect on the children has been wonderful and in some cases life changing

Host ref number: 516138885238