Service Learning is an educational approach where a student learns theories in the classroom and at the same time volunteers with an agency (usually a non-profit or social service group) and engages in reflection activities to deepen their understanding of what is being taught.
It is a cycle of theories, practices, and reflection tools to broaden knowledge and critical thinking skills for social change.
You might commonly hear it related to terms such as civic engagement, community development, advocacy, philanthropy, social change, volunteerism, community service, and experiential learning.
As a result of service learning, students learn more about the community and themselves while fulfilling a need in the community and meeting classroom requirements.
What Are Some Examples of Service Learning in the LORDS Junior School?
PREP Homeless Project - Term 4, 2021
This term our Prep students have been exploring what 'home' means and how it might make us feel if we didn't have a safe home to live in. They have listened to stories and reflected on emotions that may be felt by people experiencing homelessness. The students developed questions and wonderings that they will explore throughout this unit of work. Over the next few weeks, the students will have an opportunity to connect with experts in this area and find out more about this important topic.
We had a young lady called Soraya from St Vincents visit us on Tuesday. She worked with small groups of children during our daily 5 activity where they discussed items they would pack in a bag if they were homeless.
Mrs Steinhardt is working with our Prep students on our homelessness project. She came and looked at their bag/box designs and made suggestions on how they could be improved. Once the bags/boxes were decorated she helped the children choose items to put inside them. Sue from Child Services will be collecting them in week 6.
Later in the term, our Prep students had the opportunity to hand over all our donations (that were collected for our Project Based Learning project on Homelessness) to Sue from Child Services. We ran out of bags because our students and their parents were so generous.
Service Learning is important because it connects student learning in the classroom with real-world experiences in the community. Students who participate in it are more deeply engaged in their local communities, gain practical skills, develop their career and personal interests, and are usually more engaged humans.
At a societal level, it is important for people to be involved and aware of their communities so they can assist each other and be more conscientious individuals. Creating opportunities for young people increases their involvement.
Finally, it instills the habit of performing a service for others. Students who engage early on often continue service work for the rest of their lives.