Saturday, August 30, 2014

Service Learning

 “Treat everyone with equal kindness. Never be condescending, but make real friends with the poor. Do not allow yourself to become self-satisfied.       Romans 12:16-18

Breck’s mission calls us to provide experiences that foster a deep sense of social responsibility. We believe that service projects at Breck should advance spiritual and social maturity by building reflective, personal relationships with people and communities within and beyond Breck.  Service is done with people, not for people. Service opportunities are woven into the life of Lower School students. 
  •  Pre-schoolers learn to share and help each other. 
  •  K-Gr.2 service curriculum centers on their visits to near by nursing homes.  They learn valuable skills, gain compassion, brighten the days of the residents, and they are served by the gentle one on one attention that the residents are able to offer.
  •  Kindergartners make cards and sing for the residents at Walker nursing home twice a year.
  •  1st graders visit a neighborhood nursing home twice a year.  They sing and read to the residents.
  • 2nd graders make three nursing home visits visits throughout the year, singing, and playing games with residents.  Their confidence and compassion increase with each visit. 
  • 3rd and 4th graders “biddy” for pre-K students, helping to serve the younger ones their lunch. 
    All of these experiences are previewed and reflected upon in class and chapel.  Teachers value these experiences, and help children understand why we do them and the positive impact their service has within our community. 

   Teachers often develop community relationships particular to their class, for example corresponding with people in the military, or with students from another school.  Our C.A.R.E curriculum is utilized by all lower school staff, and gives children a consistent context and vocabulary for understanding aspects of service.
   Our 4th grade service committee helps organize giving opportunities throughout the year. These collections of food, books and clothing are a starting point for children to learn about the needs of their community.  They give teachers the chance to talk about hunger, poverty, and injustice.  The simple act of remembering to tell their family of their wish to bring in a donation can be the beginning of a lifetime of compassion and responsiveness.
   Children are invited to serve in a variety of ways in chapel; as acolytes, lectors, cantors, artists.  Our 4th grade chapel committee provides leadership and support for our corporate worship.  Students come from a variety of faith backgrounds, and by serving together in chapel they are able to practice what we hope to do in the world, to “Go forth in peace, to love and serve God, and one another.”

   Gr. 4 Chapel and Service Committee members typically deliver collection items and then share what they have learned about the agencies with their fellow students.  They also serve as “escorts” for a “prom” at Jones-Harrison residence.  This is a nice opportunity to for them to re-visit the skills they gained in K-gr.2.
   Families are invited to participate in the service opportunities organized by the parent run Community Outreach committee – leaf raking for neighborhood seniors, assisting at the Special  Olympics event hosted by Breck, and an annual spring celebration of service.
Other service opportunities arise throughout the year, and teachers and students respond as needed.
    Money from the collection of boxtops supports the Philanthropy Project.  We raise over $1000.00 each year.  Students may then apply for grants to fund philanthropic work.

   Poptops are also collected year round.  This money supports the work of the Ronald McDonald House, a refuge for families with children who are ill.

In 2013 we established a "Little Free Library at Penn & Glenwood Ave. We hope to continue supporting other Little Fee Libraries throughout the city.  Your donations to these book drives are so appreciated!

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