What is Service Learning and why do we do it? Service Learning is a method of teaching through which students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their own communities. LCDS philosophy is to “create a community of outward-looking, lifelong learners.”
Service Learning provides an undeniable reason to learn. It teaches many skills and develops an ethic of service and civic responsibility. By solving real problems and addressing real needs, students learn to apply classroom learning to a real world context. At the same time, students provide valuable services to schools and communities. By applying classroom content to community settings, service-learning is a way to provide more authenticity and purpose for classroom learning. By contrast, community service emphasizes the habits and skills of volunteerism.
LCDS has many opportunities for our students to participate in various projects. This year all three divisions will participate in ‘Canstruction'. Canstruction is a food drive and a sculpture competition that raises awareness of hunger in our community, provides an educational opportunity for our students, and ultimately supplies food for our area food banks. In the Lower School, individual classrooms participate in several additional projects. For example, the fifth graders collect the tabs off the top of soda cans to be recycled for money, which they donate to the Ronald McDonald house in Harrisburg, they also spear head the ‘Trick or Treat for Unicef" program which all Lower school students participate in, the fourth graders color books for 2 and 3 year olds in a language development program, the third graders collect new and gently used toys and gifts for the Milagro House during the holiday season, the second graders collect, measure, weight and recycle trash around the school property. Even the Pre Schoolers learn that they can give back through their annual Hop-a-Thon which benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association
All of these projects allow our students to feel the impact of their simple yet meaningful work. Service-learning offers LCDS students a holistic learning experience that can increase their commitment to learning, provide them access to adult mentors, boost their self-confidence, and enhance their preparation for the world of work. These types of service learning projects are just one example of how LCDS fulfills its philosophy and mission.