Written by Alina Naismith, WLLC 2015-2016
Throughout spring quarter, my community wellness group has been working closely with the Fisher Early Learning Center in order to conceptualize and embark on an extensive service project in which “integration of learning goals and service goals” (Defining Service-Learning) are created and executed in a “meaningful” and “sustainable” (WELL 2014 notes) way.
Our project revolved around the barren garden in the children’s playground – we decided to create a garden committee, ensuring that the garden this spring will be utilized to the fullest and there will be special interaction between the kids and nature, compared to the past few years of which the garden wasn’t a big deal. This service project was particularly an “organized, structured process” (Defining Service-Learning) in which we had to carefully plan out… First, we met with our community partner in order to come up with a comprehensive list of needs and supplies for the garden, purchase the materials, collect biodegradable cans and jugs to plant the seeds in, work with the classrooms to figure out the best schedules for us to come, and interact directly with the children in each class to plant seeds in jugs filled with soil and teach them about gardening, nature, mindfulness and yoga.
The amount of time that this project took to complete was shocking, thus I believe that we put in the “duration and intensity sufficient to produce a meaningful learning and service outcome” (Defining Service-Learning). Going into the classrooms and actually interacting with the children in itself was the most rewarding part of the experience – they get so excited when visitors come to speak to them, and seemed to be very invested in our lessons and gardening activity. I hope to be involved in meaningful service projects like this again in the future.
Clayton, Patti H. “Defining Service-Learning”. 2009.