The Michigan K- 12 Service-Learning Center is a part of the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Supported in part by the Michigan Department of Education with funds from the Corporation for National Community Service and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Center is dedicated to the promotion of service-learning as an effective strategy for educating young people from diverse communities.
The Center provides assistance, consultation and clearinghouse services to school districts, community organizations and universities in the state of Michigan and surrounding states in the Great Lakes region. The focus of the Center is to assist in infusing service-learning into K-12 schools.
As educators we are challenged by reports that we are not adequately preparing our children for their future in the 21st century. Reform efforts urge us to thoughtfully look at not only what we teach but how we teach it. Service-learning is a way to refocus school on central issues in American education; how to help make schools become decent, democratic learning communities, authentically connected to and supporting the larger communities in which schools are located.
Community service and volunteerism have rich histories in American public and private schools. Service clubs, and co-curricular service activities enjoy wide acceptance and have provided benefits to students and their communities alike. Service-learning incorporates into the classroom the important lessons learned through young people interacting with their communities in empowering ways. It is through the act of community service that the academic and pro-social lessons are learned in ways that are meaningful and relevant to students lives. The integration of community service into the academic curriculum has profound implications for school reform and therefore deserves our most thoughtful planning.
We offer you this tool to help facilitate a process for growing a service-learning curriculum. Our intention is that it will be used by classroom teachers as a workbook, entering and exiting as is needed. As Connelly and Clandinin state in Teachers as Curriculum Planners, "Curriculum development and curriculum planning are fundamentally questions of teacher thinking and teacher doing." We invite you to draw on your personal and professional knowledge of what you know to be good education as you nurture and grow your service-learning curriculum.
Dewsbury-White, Kathryn E., "Getting Started: Growing a Service-Learning Curriculum" (1997). Curriculum. 1.