Special Programs » Service Learning

Service Learning

Service Learning is much different than community service.

By definition Service Learning is:

  • a method whereby students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of the community;
  • is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, institution of higher education, or community service program and with the community;
  • helps foster civic responsibility;
  • is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled;
  • and provides structured time for the students and participants to reflect on the service experience.
Service Learning vs Community Service
Although they may seem similar, service-learning and community service are different concepts. Both emphasize developing civic responsibility, meeting authentic community needs, and creating strong collaborations with the community. Both value students’ personal, social, career and ethical growth. There are, however, a few significant differences:
  • Service-learning is an instructional strategy; a way of teaching classroom content. Community service does not emphasize school curriculum.
  • Service-learning uses reflection as a means for interpreting experiences. Community service does not require reflection.
  • Service-learning, because it is integrated with school curriculum, can take place during the school day, and on the school campus. Community service often must take place outside of the school day, and off campus.
  • Community service is often quantified by having students serve a designated number of hours. Service-learning, because is takes place both within and outside the classroom, emphasizes “service experiences” as opposed to hours.
  •  Community service often involved students, as individuals, serving in local non-profit agencies. Service-learning lends itself towards full class group projects.

At Harvest Park, many of our teachers incorporate service learning projects into their classes and curriculum. For others interested in learning more about service learning lesson plans, please review the links below.

Lesson Plans for K-12 Service-Learning: Selected Resources …

Service-Learning Ideas and Curricular Examples (SLICE) | National … www.servicelearning.org/slice SLICE is an easy-to-search database full of hundreds of high-quality service- learning lesson plans, syllabi, and project ideas.