Service Learning

Service learning engages students in meaningful projects to make a positive impact in the community. It enhances the curriculum, promotes character and leadership development, and strengthens ties within and beyond the school walls. Through these projects, students grow as educated agents of social change. They learn civic responsibility and begin to understand democracy when they recognize their vital role in improving society, working for social justice, and caring for the environment.

Service learning differs from community service and volunteering because education is at its core. Learning and service are integrated and all projects are connected to what’s being studied in the classroom. For example, a traditional community service project might involve having children collect canned goods that the teacher later brings to a food pantry. At NPES, students delve much deeper in multiple ways and in various classes. Ongoing food related projects include the Montrose Metra Garden where our kindergarteners learn about agriculture and grow food for those in need. Second graders then bring food from the garden to the  pantry while also studying food insecurity and hunger. Second graders pack and deliver lunches to common pantry on a monthly basis as well. Fifth graders learn about composting from a local expert and then run a school-wide composting program. Middle schoolers can choose hunger as an area of focus during their choice-based service learning project. 

Through service learning, our students:

  • Learn and use academic skills to become leaders
  • Take initiative, make decisions, and put their ideas into action
  • Interact with community representatives
  • Participate in the development of partnerships and share responsibility with community members, parents, and other students
  • Acquire deep knowledge of important social issues
  • Perform needed service and increase civic participation
  • Reflect on and learn from their experience as they define who they are
  • Provide tangible benefits that serve the community

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