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ERIC Number: ED497403
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr-20
Pages: 63
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 29
Improving Community Involvement and Citizenship among Elementary School Students through Service Learning Experiences
Smith, Mandi
Online Submission
This Action Research Project was designed to increase student awareness and involvement of socio-economic differences and how the children can make a difference in their community. Service learning projects were non-existent at the Academy causing the young children to miss out on learning experiences that would teach them how to make a difference in their community while also making real-world connections to the curriculum. Donation collections for people in need were previously implemented as community service projects in the elementary school but these activities did not teach children about actively conducting services and understanding socio-economic differences apparent in society that can be tied in with the classroom curriculum. The writer implemented a service learning program for the kindergarten students that involved the children reading books to earn money they were to save to purchase books for children in need at a neighboring public school. The children communicated with the children in need through pen pal letters. Both groups of children learned how they are similar in many ways regardless of their living situations. They discussed different books they liked which helped the students at the Academy select the books they would purchase for the children in need. Once the children collected their money and purchased the books, a kindergarten book wrapping day was created. The students all took part in decorating white paper to use as homemade wrapping paper for the books. A pre-project and post-project interview were administrated to the kindergartners using the same questions for both interviews to track the changes in perspective and maturity the students underwent after completing the service learning project. Analysis of the data indicated that service learning projects result in more meaningful learning experiences for young children as opposed to donation collections or an absence of any form of humanitarian education. The children gained an understanding of socio-economic differences and learned how they can make an impact on their communities by helping people in need. Student responses to interview questions before and after the service learning project was implemented reveal increasing maturity and understanding of how the students can help people in need and be upstanding citizens in their communities. The following are appended: (1) Student Interview/Survey; (2) Parent Survey; (3) Pre-Project and Post-Project Survey Data Table; (4) Community Service Participation Time Charts; and (5) Observation Charts. (This paper contains 3 tables and 2 charts.) [Research Project Submitted in Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education, University of Phoenix.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Masters Theses; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A