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5 Things to Know About Service Learning

Lower school students tending to the school garden

Service learning is an enriching way to prepare students for the future. Here are five things you may not know about service learning.

Service learning is a commendable curriculum add-on that many schools employ to teach their students a well-rounded approach to better understanding their communities, personal skills, and how to help those around them. By thoughtfully combining what students learn in the classroom with community needs, service learning instills the value of helping others while guiding students to a better understanding of their own gifts and passions. At St. Timothy’s School, we celebrate the use of service learning as an enriching way to prepare students for the future. Below, we discuss five things you may not know about service learning. 

The Definition of Service Learning

Service learning is a way for students to actively engage with their communities, lend a helping hand, and learn along the way. By actively participating in community service, they gain a deeper understanding of real-world issues and how they can help. Beyond community service, service learning incorporates projects to ensure students grow from their experiences.

The Process Behind Service Learning

Service learning involves several intentional steps before, during, and after the process. First, students may write down ways they can help or consider how their involvement will impact the community. Next, they research their findings, start their service learning project, and reflect on how they made a difference and what they learned. 

The Different Types of Service Learning Projects

Service learning can be any experience that combines students helping the community and learning about themselves. It may be direct service, like working at a shelter handing out meals. Indirect service experiences also exist, such as stocking a food pantry. Another valuable service experience is advocacy, where students may write letters to the government, for example. 

Co-curricular service involves students working together to meet an identified community need. Academic service is designed by teachers to enhance the core curriculum and advance course content comprehension.

Why Service Learning Matters

Students learn more about themselves and the world around them while helping those in need with service learning. It helps connect what’s going on in the classroom with outside life while allowing for a deep engagement with local communities. It also teaches students different skills they may not typically learn at school, developing a more profound interest or passion in the subject. Service learning instills long-lasting habits of being an active participant in one’s community.

Service Learning at St. Timothy’s School

St. Timothy’s School allows students to become engaged members of their communities and learn to serve others while focusing on current curriculums. Second grade students, for example, have historically donated goods and packed care packages for soldiers, while our kindergarteners have visited and sang to community members such as those in assisted living centers. We emphasize the importance of serving our community and understanding its impact.

Middle school students have also been active community members, whether they’re sorting food at the local food bank or running a clothing drive. We work to support students in developing perspective by learning context and background about the task they are undertaking and the people they are serving. Genuinely understanding the work places it in a meaningful light and helps create engaging and thought-provoking conversations before, during, and after each act of service. Reach out today if you’d like to learn more about service learning or St. Timothy’s School!