What is Service Learning? Service Learning is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates community service with classroom learning. It results in meaningful projects where students’ efforts benefit their community while they gain experience in civic responsibility and teamwork, and deepen their knowledge of core curricular themes.
Each year, grade levels partner with a different , local organization and engage in service learning projects. Last week, students presented their learning to the entire school community.
Kindergarteners worked with Tara, the Good Shepherd Center gardener, to maintain and care for a garden on campus. In connection with Global Studies, students explored ocean pollution and learned how we can protect the planet by reducing, reusing and recycling!
First Graders partnered with local nonprofit organization, City Fruit, to care for the fruit trees in Meridian Park’s orchard.
Second Graders partnered with Mary’s Place, and learned what they can do to raise awareness and support those who are homeless in Seattle. Second graders and their fifth grade buddies also continued their work with Washington Green Schools.
Third Graders coordinated and ran a school-wide community needs project with the Asian Counseling and Referral Service. ACRS is a local organization that promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.
Fourth Graders raised salmon, and learned how environmental factors impact the salmon life cycle and population. They released the salmon in Piper’s Creek, and supported habitat renewal with the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
Fifth Graders completed a project with Washington Green Schools and their second grade buddies, and maintained a year-long partnership with FamilyWorks, volunteering at the local Wallingford food bank each month.
By Meridian K-5th Graders
Service learning is a big project that we do here at Meridian, across all the grades. We learn about people, animals, and places in need and about causes, nonprofits and charities that support them. We learned that some nonprofits help people get the things they need to survive so they can have a better life, not just live from day to day. Service learning is important because we’re actually doing things, not just talking about it.
This year in particular many of our projects tied into Global Studies, so it’s educational and helpful! We as a school like to give back. Our school motto is Meridian Cares–I care for myself, I care for others, I care for my place. Service learning does all three! It improves our place by keeping the environment clean and safe, it helps others when we volunteer with nonprofits that give people safe places to live and things that they need, and it helps ourselves because you feel good when you are learning what you can do to help. Service learning is great because you’re taking care of places and other people, which isn’t something that happens a lot, especially since we’re kids.
We always talk about how where you live affects how you live, and it’s really easy to see that when we are doing service learning. We are looking forward to continuing it at Meridian, but also just in general in our lives. This type of learning helps us be prepared for the future, and not everybody gets those experiences so it’s important to learn how we can help so we can teach others later!