KIDS service-learning projects can take place in any K-12 classroom, in any content area, and address any authentic problem or need. Service-Learning is a teaching strategy through which students identify, research and address real community challenges, using knowledge and skills learned in the classroom.

Key Principles of the KIDS Model

  • Academic Integrity – Each project has clearly defined learning objectives that relate to state learning standards and local curricula.
  • Apprentice Citizenship – Students learn about civic engagement through partnerships with active community members working on local needs.
  • Student Ownership – Students share in decision-making with adults, and adults share in learning with student – acting as partners and coaches rather than experts.

Service-learning projects designed using the KIDS model follow a multi-step process that includes:

  • Define service-learning; discover problems and needs in their school; investigate the causes and effects of the problems they identify; research various solutions to the problems; evaluate the pros and cons of each solution and decide on the actions to take; create an action plan and time-line to implement ideas; implement the plan; and evaluate the results of actions.

While linear steps are occurring (list above), educators also:

  • Create a collaborative environment in the classroom to foster team work; facilitate on-going reflection (make connections between learning and the project); connect the service-learning project to the curriculum; with students, reach out to parents and the public; and celebrate successes along the way.