Educators constantly change up the ways they teach to better students knowledge and improve the learning process. These professionals don't just want their students to excel on the Common Core and other standardized testing. They want to provide learning opportunities that promote intelligence that is helpful in the educational process as well as in the real world. One way teachers bridge the gap is with service learning.
What is service learning?
You're probably wondering what exactly service learning is. Educators combine service projects that better the community with learning goals to help students and those in need. This can enrich learning experiences and create meaningful relationships among students, schools and communities. Plus, students are instilled with a sense of pride as they work toward goals by helping.
Service learning isn't just about doing good. Students who partake in this type of educational style must set goals, follow a course of action and reflect on the process. Learning civic responsibility while following teacher-led instructions is a great way to get many kids who wouldn't have the chance to volunteer at home interested in helping out.
Here's an example of service learning: A fifth grade class adopts a highway. They take a few hours every month to don gloves and fill trash bags with litter on the side of their stretch of the road. The students are in biology class, and use this time outside to look for native flora and fauna while they pick up garbage. When they return to the classroom they report back about what items they found to throw out as well as the plants and animals they spotted. The students may even write a report or create a presentation on the environmental effects of littering in the area. This charitable act of adopting a highway combines with educational goals to create service learning.
How can parents get involved?
Families often hear about service learning and are thrilled their children are learning to give back to their community. Students may come home from these activities and programs beaming with pride about how they spent their day helping people. Parents may want to get involved, too, after seeing their kid's enthusiasm. Does this sound like you?
There are plenty of ways to help your kids further their service learning. Here are a few:
- Create hygiene kits for homeless people to give to a local shelter or handout to individuals around your city. Include items like soap, tissues, a toothbrush and toothpaste and feminine products.
- Spend time reading to little kids through a student buddy program at your local library. Many younger students can benefit from reading aloud to older kids as this helps them further their language skills.
- Do some cleanup around your neighborhood. Pick up trash and offer to help elderly people with yard work. Raking leaves, mending fences and shoveling snow are all valuable chances for families to bond while helping the community and learning the value of service.