Whether enjoying tea with a new, much older friend, building a local trail, or stacking blocks into a tower with preschool students, service experiences provide meaningful learning for middle school students.
Service is a foundation principle at Island Pacific School. We believe that service starts at home and school and spreads to the world around us. Grade by grade community service happens monthly and on an ongoing basis over the school year. We gift a whole-school service day to the community every December.
IPS uses a teaching model that combines volunteer service with classroom learning. The aim of the program is to instill a sense of citizenship and civic engagement in response to the needs of a ‘community’ and create long-term relationships with community partners. It is further linked to the International Baccalaureate values of Action and Service:
“Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service—making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.”
Before students engage in service projects they are asked to try to understand the current needs of the community partner, and plan to commit in a way that will be relevant and of benefit for others. After participating, they reflect on how they felt whilst participating, what they learned, and how their actions affected others. After a recent visit to the Bowen Seniors Centre one student said “I felt good, because I got to hear all their stories and it made them happy that we cared for them.” Another commented, “I learned a lot about where some of the people came from and what life was like when they were my age. I also learned that seniors are very fun to talk to!”
Being of service also creates a sense of agency in students that they can become active members of the community. After being involved with Bowen Island Trails in November, one student wrote, “I felt that I was included and treated as a respected citizen, not a child. I also felt as though it was a learning experience; it has made me more interested in trails.”
Over the last year IPS students learned from local opportunities with Bowen Children’s Centre, the Bowen Food Bank, Bowen Senior’s Centre, Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up.
Contact our Service Learning Co-ordinator Laura Meagher