In schools all around the world, creative service learning projects is starting to play an increasingly important role in the learning process. School teachers understand the benefits of combining learning objectives with forward-thinking approaches that benefit the wider community.
The question is, how do we bring service learning into schools?
Here are 10 creative and exciting projects you could try
1. Make gardening fun again
From a teaching standpoint, your children have so much to learn from being involved in gardening. As well as the practical skills of learning how to grow fruits and vegetables, it makes it far easier to explain the science behind plants and how they use sunlight and water to grow.
You can then allow children to advance their leadership skills by allowing them to plan and prepare the plots and take ownership. It is best to then use anything grown to feed other children in the school.
2. Get the kids thinking about street art
Street art is increasingly popular in cities around the world, and there has been a dramatic rise in the number of professional street artists using their work to promote values and beliefs. If you have any famous artists from your area then you can take the children to see the pieces, to learn about the meaning and to then start their own artwork as well.
3. Do a class project on the culture of a crisis-torn nation
Similarly, it is worthwhile studying crisis-torn nations from a cultural perspective. Children could then either design artwork or put on performances to mimic those cultures. Any proceeds can then be donated to charities helping the country in question.
4. Research an important local landmark
Local landmarks, like statues or parks, are great for helping children to understand important places that are right on their doorstep.
After learning, the class can brainstorm different ideas on how to better care for those areas. This includes a class cleanup which would then make it even more appealing for tourists.
5. Integrate measurement practices alongside community giving
For younger children, simple mathematical calculations can be carried out in basic charitable work. An example of this would be when mixing together teas, coffees, soups, and other drinks or even vegetables and then handing them out to local officials at an event, such as a day that supports local firefighters or police officers.
6. Help the elderly
For older students, a great service learning program could be to have them work with elderly members of the community. They can help them with simple tasks, like grocery shopping. Trust them with a small list of necessary items as well as funds and they can start to better understand the importance of budgeting and carrying out basic economic transactions.
7. Give back the gift of reading
A fantastic way to improve reading abilities among younger children is to hold paired reading classes with visually impaired children. Each child in your class can have a weekly reading partner to whom they narrate a simple book. It allows them to give back to children far less fortunate whilst simultaneously practicing and improving their own abilities.
8. Start making shoes
For arts and crafts lessons, why not make items that can be donated or used to raise money?
A popular project is to make simple shoes that are then donated oversees to African nations where children need basic shoes just to get to school and back.
9. Do more through recycling
As well as telling your students to recycle, it’s good to help them to better understand its importance. Afterwards, they can create different posters, videos, and podcasts that can then be shared online and distributed throughout the community. Thus helping the entire area’s recycling efforts by encouraging more people to get involved.
10. Start thinking about hospitals
There are a number of service learning projects throughout the country which see schools taking students to a local pediatric hospital. Here, children can meet less fortunate children and get to understand their conditions. This can then be used as an impetus for raising funds and donating them to the hospital in question.
Summary of creative service learning projects
The important thing to remember is that, though these 10 ideas are a great place to start, there is, in fact, no end to the number of projects you can try!
A good approach to take is to get your classroom thinking and talking about service learning and then encourage them to come up with their own ideas. You will soon get a better idea of what appeals to them most and where their passions lie.