May 2018 Newsletter – Service-Learning

Connecting children to the larger community is a beneficial practice for the children as well as for the community.  Service-learning is an excellent way to build empathy, build relationships with families, and reinforce many cognitive, language, social/emotional, and physical skills.

According to Vanderbilt University’s Janet S. Eyler and Dwight E. Giles, Jr., service-learning is:

“a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students. . . seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves. In the process, students link personal and social development with academic and cognitive development. . . experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action.”

The National Youth Leadership Counsel has developed learning standards related to service-learning that help guide the development of meaningful and appropriate service-learning projects.  The standards are geared for K-12, however there are many parallels that apply to early learning environments as well.  Keep these ideas in mind as you plan projects for children in your care:

Meaningful Service
Service-learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

Link to Curriculum
Service-learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

Service-learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

Service-learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

Youth Voice
Service-learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service-learning experiences with guidance from adults.

Service-learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Progress Monitoring
Service-learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

Duration and Intensity
Service-learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

From K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice 


CLICK HERE for service-learning project ideas for Infant-Toddler

CLICK HERE for service -learning project ideas for Preschool

CLICK HERE for service-learning project ideas for School-Age

CLICK HERE for service-learning project ideas for Director’s Corner