WHAT IS SERVICE LEARNING?

Service Learning is an approach to teaching and learning in which students use academic and civic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs. 

WHY SERVICE LEARNING?

A growing body of research recognizes Service Learning as an effective strategy to help students by:

  1. Promoting learning through active participation in service experiences;
  2. Providing structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing and writing about their service experience; 
  3. Providing an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations;
  4. Extending learning beyond the classroom and into the community; and
  5. Fostering a sense of caring for others.

K-12 SERVICE LEARNING STANDARDS

DIVERSITY

Service Learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service Learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

PARTNERSHIPS

Service Learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

REFLECTION

Service Learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society. 

DURATION AND INTENSITY

Service Learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service Learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

PROGRESS MONITORING

Service Learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability. 

YOUTH VOICE

Service Learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults. 

SERVICE LEARNING VIDEOS

NATIONAL YOUTH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL RESOURCES

For 35 years, the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) has transformed classrooms, empowered teachers, and captivated students by leading the way in providing high-quality, dynamic service-learning content to school districts, classrooms, after-school programs, and everything in between.

Its programs and services develop young leaders, support educators, and advance the field of service-learning.

To access more service-learning resources specifically designed for out-of-school programs, join the free service-learning network here.   You’ll be able to visit the Service-Learning Resource Center to check out new and relevant tools, handbooks, and ideas for supporting young people in developing their ability to solve community problems.