Are you hoping to start or expand a service learning program at your school?

Service learning is designed to provide students with hands-on, practical experiences that are relevant to what they are learning in the classroom while also benefiting the community.

Key characteristics of service learning include:

Academic Integration
Service learning activities are integrated into the curriculum, ensuring that students apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations. This helps students see the practical relevance of their academic studies.

Community Engagement
Service learning projects are designed to address real community needs, which can range from tutoring and mentoring to environmental cleanups and healthcare initiatives.

Students are encouraged to reflect on their service experiences through assignments, discussions, or journals. Reflection helps them connect their service work to their academic learning and personal development.

Service learning is not a one-way street; it should benefit both the students and the community. Students gain valuable skills, knowledge, and personal growth, while the community receives assistance or support.

Long-Term Commitment
Service learning programs can be short-term or long-term, but they often involve sustained engagement with the community to address ongoing issues.

Community Partnerships
Collaboration with community organizations and agencies is a crucial aspect of service learning. These partnerships help identify needs, set goals, and provide resources and support.

Service learning can develop civic and social responsibility and strengthen critical thinking skills. It provides opportunities to apply academic concepts in a practical context while communities benefit from the service provided by students, often addressing social, environmental, or economic challenges.

Project Ideas and Skills Application

10 Creative Service Learning Projects To Inspire Your Students Serve Learn
Project ideas with focus areas like art, health, safety, tech, sports, and animals.

Creating a Culture of Caring Through Student-Led Service Learning Edutopia
When older elementary students take the lead on community service projects, they gain public speaking skills, leadership experience, confidence—and younger students are more motivated to participate.

Developing SEL Skills With Service Learning Edutopia
Service learning provides a way for students to grow their social-emotional learning skills while helping their community.

Education That Counts: Connecting Classrooms to Communities With Service Learning Projects Resilient Educator
Rather than relying on students to create context for transfer, teachers can help students engage with real-world problem-solving through service learning projects.

Project Ideas for Service Learning School for Ethical Education
More than 75 project ideas.

Service Learning: Real-Life Applications for Learning Edutopia
Service learning program example integrates across the curriculum utilizing the school’s greenhouse and gardens.

Service Learning
A teaching and learning strategy that connects academic curriculum to community problem-solving.

Service Learning Definition and Philosophy Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Research shows that service learning experiences that incorporate the national standards and indicators result in positive academic, civic, and social-emotional outcomes.

Service Learning Fosters Lifelong Development Roots of Action
When children collaborate on service learning projects, they grow in empathy, curiosity, self-awareness, and many other aspects of healthy development.

Setting Up Service Learning Projects in High School Physics Edutopia
Students can apply their knowledge of physics to solve problems in their communities—like studying inclined planes to gauge the effectiveness of wheelchair ramps in their school.

Six Steps for Successful Service Learning Project Learning Tree
Make sure your project addresses a community need, apply academic content, help students take ownership, make meaning of the experience, engage community members throughout, and share the experience with others.

The Teacher’s Guide to Service Learning [+ 5 Examples] Prodigy
Involving your students in community service can feel like an impossible task when you already have endless piles of curriculum to cover during the school year. But what if you could accomplish both at the same time?

What is Service Learning or Community Engagement? Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
Community engagement pedagogies, often called “service learning,” are ones that combine learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good.

What Is Service Learning? Elmhurst University
As a result of service learning, students learn more about the community and themselves while fulfilling a need in the community and meeting classroom or degree requirements

What Is Service Learning? And what makes it so important to students’ social and emotional lives? We Are Teachers
Service learning improves academic and social outcomes for students because it helps kids feel connected and gives them a sense of belonging.

What the Heck Is Service Learning? Edutopia
What takes service learning to the next level is that it combines serving the community with the rich academic frontloading, assessment, and reflection typically seen in project-based learning.

Why Service Learning? National Youth Leadership Council
Through the process, young people are compelled to answer questions such as: What are the true needs in my community, their root causes, how can I learn more, and how can I contribute to a solution?