While you have probably heard of service learning, you might not know what it entails. Service learning is a learning program that positively influences children, teens, and youths by engaging, educating, and inspiring them to become global citizens through service to others. Christ Church Episcopal Schools (CCES) is prepared to share some insights about service learning and the options of service learning we provide in Greenville, SC, for K-12 students.
What Does Service Learning Look Like?
So what exactly is service learning? Service Learning is a form of experiential education that connects lessons taught in the classroom to taking action in the community. Schools can teach service learning through direct service, indirect service, or advocacy.
As an Episcopal school, CCES is committed to developing a servant attitude in our students through service learning. The Service Learning program at CCES strives to develop within all students a personal value system of responsibility to the community. In each division, students are exposed to many different service opportunities, allowing them to explore their own personal gifts and interests.
Service Learning is often referred to as community service, civic engagement, social change, community development, volunteerism, or social learning. As a flexible discipline that enables students to learn more about themselves, our students also fulfill the community's needs. There are many helping activities and projects learners can adopt. Some examples include:
Direct Service: involves dealing with issues personally or face-to-face. Direct service is commonly incorporated in disciplines such as education and psychology and entails working with patients, helping the homeless, tutoring, and participating in events in nursing homes.
Indirect Service: involves channeling resources to the problem a student is dealing with. It entails donating items for distribution or organizing a fundraising event. They are commonly incorporated in fields such as sociology and environmental studies.
Advocacy: commonly featured in political science and criminal justice classes. However, it also involves educating others and presenting information depending on public needs.
Why Is Service Learning Important?
The premise of the Service Learning program at CCES is fairly simple: we want our students to realize that they have a responsibility to take care of themselves, take care of others, and take care of our environment. We provide them with opportunities to give back to the community and to reflect on that experience. They also strengthen critical thinking skills, build leadership and communication skills, and often learn more about their career and personal interests. Our ultimate goal is to develop students who are engaged and empowered to play their part in changing the world.
The Service Learning Program at CCES
The Service Learning program at CCES focuses on four critical areas: health, education, culture, and environment. Students start in the earliest grades by learning to serve their school community, then step out to make a difference in the wider Greenville community. Ultimately, they begin to address global needs. Through this approach, the lifelong practice of “giving back” becomes part of the moral development of every student at the school.
In the Lower and Middle Schools, students participate (beginning in 2nd grade) in service at the grade level, with small groups going into the community each week. Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th also participate in a day of service. The Service Learning Coordinator plans and implements age-appropriate projects for each grade. In addition, school-wide service projects, such as visiting and helping families in need during the holiday season, reinforce the emphasis on serving others throughout the year.
Upper School students have many different avenues for involvement in community service. All students are required to volunteer 15 hours a year with service projects approved by the Service Learning Coordinator. In addition, ample opportunities are provided throughout the year for the students to participate as a group. Each year, we have a Junior Service Day, a Senior Service Day, and an All School Service Day during Homecoming Week. The Special Olympics has become the primary focus of Junior Service Day. CCES seniors go out in groups to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, United Ministries, and other non-profit organizations.
Student Initiated Service Projects
Many times students will see a need in the community and respond to it on their own or with the help of their classmates. For example, after visiting a local soup kitchen, students realized the importance of simple items such as soap. They came back to school and started a collection of travel-size soaps, shampoos, and other hygiene items.
Service projects are also used to expand what students are learning in the classroom. For example, third-graders visit Waterstone Memory Care to play games and help with crafts with elderly Alzheimer’s patients as part of their study of the brain.
How Do Students Benefit from Service Learning?
Overall, service learning in Greenville has many benefits for students, such as:
It improves students' decision-making abilities and enables them to acquire essential skills for social change.
Students learn and deepen their relationships with the communities they engage with in Greenville.
Students learn more about their capacity to serve others.
Students develop a greater sense of personal identity, moral development, and the meaning of responsible citizenship.
Explore Christ Church Episcopal School for Your Child or Teen
Are you searching for a school with service-learning programs in Greenville? In keeping with our Episcopal tradition, service learning is a critical component
of our education at CCES Greenville. We are a Christian school; therefore encourage a servant attitude amongst our students through service learning. We have the best age-appropriate service-learning programs for students in K5-12 and dedicated coordinators to implement these programs. Get in touch
for any inquiries.