What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning offers a unique opportunity for America's young people -- from kindergarten to university students -- to get involved with their communities in a tangible way by integrating service projects with classroom learning. Service-learning engages students in the educational process, using what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. Students not only learn about democracy and citizenship, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.
Service-learning can be applied across all subjects and grade levels; it can involve a single student or group of students, a classroom or an entire school. Students build character and become active participants as they work with others in their school and community to create service projects in areas like education, public safety, and the environment.
Why is Service-Learning Important?
A national study of Learn and Serve America programs suggests that effective service-learning programs improve grades, increase attendance in school, and develop students' personal and social responsibility. A growing body of research recognizes service-learning as an effective strategy to help students by:
- Promoting learning through active participation in service experiences
- Providing structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing and writing about their service experience
- Providing an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations
- Extending learning beyond the classroom and into the community
- Fostering a sense of caring for others
Service-learning also strengthens both education and local communities by:
- Building effective collaborative partnerships between schools or colleges and other institutions and organizations
- Engaging parents and other adults in supporting student learning
- Meeting community needs through the service projects conducted
- Providing engaging and productive opportunities for young people to work with others in their community
Service-Learning Ideas and Curricular Examples (SLICE)
SLICE is an easy-to-search database full of hundreds of high-quality service-learning lesson plans, syllabi, and project ideas. Lesson plans are submitted by educators and service-learning practitioners.