by Roger Schultz, Head of Alice Smith School
Some would argue that school is all about examination results and giving students the best possible opportunity to get outstanding grades for university. In many ways this is a great start to life beyond school but learning goes way beyond subjects and grades.
At Alice Smith School, our expansive approach to learning gives all students and staff the opportunity to actively engage in a diverse range of activities beyond the curriculum, to allow for the discovery and nurture of talents and character, and to promote a lifelong commitment to self-directed holistic development and learning.
A key part of these wider experiences is service learning - enriching the learning experience by doing something for others to help and support them, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Service learning can take a variety of guises. Most often it takes place through the expansive extra-curricular programme the school offers each year and includes supporting a range of charities, organisations and community projects both locally and regionally.
What is it that is so special about service learning?
It can provide an opportunity for students to contribute into something about which you feel passionate. It can develop their ability to work constructively with others, it may encourage them to become a better leader (or follower), build communication skills or offer the chance to improve their talent for problem-solving. It can help build personal identity, spiritual growth, and moral development as well as greater inter-cultural understanding, improved social responsibility and citizenship skills.