Service Learning inspires children to have the courage to lead change in our community, world, and future.
Our service learning program inspires children to have the courage to ask social justice questions, develop authentic relationships with the community, problematize issues of power in the service experience, and reflect on what is possible. Strong partnerships with the local community and beyond provide students with leadership opportunities as they gain the confidence to advocate for themselves and others, and address and respond to the injustices in communities. Supported by the work of Cathy Berger Kaye and guided by the Oxfam Global Citizenship standards, our developmental and critical approach to service learning allows students to learn about the world within the context of rich-interdisciplinary units. Our students may ask questions such as: “Why do we have significant economic gaps between different racial groups?” “Why do women continue to face economic and social inequities?” “Why does the richest country on earth have such a serious problem with homelessness?”
We encourage our students to investigate the connections between those who are served and institutional structures and policies. We want them to move beyond “band-aid” service and toward action geared to the eradication of the cycles of dependence and oppression.
In this way, service learning is integrated into a child’s experience in a truly accessible way. Seeing one’s self and identifying one’s emotions is a foundation in early childhood; then, students grow to look at their community and its immediate concerns as they see them.
In each grade, students learn to identify concerns and work as a collective to provide creative solutions.We begin with serving our school community. Then, in Grade 3, children begin looking at the world that is farther away geographically or in time — to explore history and different communities. In the upper grades, students tackle moral questions and examine injustices and inequities in their world.
Whether working in-house to be a guide at an open house, to read to younger students, or heading out into the world to raise money in our annual Jog-a-thon, students offer their time in organic instances they see and feel compelled to solve. As Grade 8 students, students investigate a single issue they feel passionate about in their year-long Capstone Project. They then connect with outside organizations to provide action to support their advocacy. At the close of their project, they present their experiences to the larger St. Luke's community.
At St. Luke's, Service Learning is not a single day of service or action; it is a larger examination of how we all can be responsible, caring members of one global human community.
The Partners Program
The partners program is an extension of the classroom experience. It fosters relationships between our youngest and oldest students and allows them to learn from one another. Teachers across the grades plan together with the goal of helping students develop a strong sense of self and strengthen their voice. They may read to one another, play games, engage in restorative circles, practice mindfulness, or purposefully explore our campus grounds listening to each other’s hopes and dreams. The partners program provides students with a wider perspective of the St. Luke’s School community, affording students the space to remember their younger years, or look ahead to what the future might hold.