Service Learning in the Elementary School works closely with the programs in the Middle School and High School. The goal is to build a cohesive program in which the learning of our youngest students may be tracked through our oldest students. The Service Learning program strives to make students aware of the issues that surround them at a local and global level. Each grade level will work closely with a specific organization. Some of these are related to those of the MS and HS; however, some were proposed by faculty members and TASIS families. Each year, students will be able to experience different service work and their level of involvement will deepen.
Examples of Elementary School Service Learning Projects
Pre-K is focusing on The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child and discussing the basic needs of all children in the world. They will choose projects to focus on during the year, including helping local shelter Casa Elisabetta with its Christmas drive. Last year, Pre-K raised nearly $600 for aid relief in the Philippines though creating and selling holiday decorations. They also wrote postcards to terminally ill children in the UK.
Kindergarten is again collaborating with the HS Serving Africa group. They will host the HS students in their classrooms and help the older students prepare for the teaching they will do in Zambia in spring 2015. Kindergarten students are also focusing on the role of medical care in countries throughout Africa, using the book Mimi’s Village to learn about this topic.
Grade 1 is working with the Heifer Project (www.heifer.org) and learning how something as simple as one goat can benefit an entire village. As part of this service learning project, they study the story "Beatrice’s Goat" and create fundraising projects to buy goats through the Heifer Project. Two years ago, first graders bought six goats to donate, and this year’s students hope to break that record. They also plan to visit a local farm to learn about the benefits of goats to the Ticino community.
Grade 2 is learning about the environment and sustainability. They are helping build, plant, and maintain the TASIS garden. This program links closely with their Core Knowledge curriculum. The students are introduced to the importance of self-sustainability through small gardens with the book The Good Garden.
Grade 3 organized a dance-a-thon, sing-a-thon, run-a-thon, jump-a-thon event to raise money for World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Students studied the five vertebrate animal groups and used the money they raised to adopt five animal species (one from each animal group). In the past, students in grade three have worked with the "One Hen" project, an introduction to micro-financing. This project will be revived in 2016–2017, and students plan to present a challenge to the entire Elementary School to help raise funds and consider entrepreneurship.
Grade 4 is involved with the Ethical Food Malawi program. Students work to teach other children about food waste. 4th grade students weigh the waste in the lunchroom and chart the amount of food that is thrown out daily. High school students speak to the 4th grade students about food waste and their experiences in their travels to third world countries.
Grade 5 provided services (meals and showers) for homeless people in the Lugano region over the past year. In previous years, students in grade five have worked with the HS Habitat for Humanity group. While other grade levels participate in projects largely based on teacher planning, 5th graders are responsible for all of the planning and execution of their projects. This empowers students to use what they’ve learned in past years to help others, serving as a culmination of the ES Service Learning program.
In addition to the books provided at various grade levels, students now have access to many Service Learning books in the Elementary School libraries to help them further explore these and other topics. Our goal in the ES is to build a foundation for success in the High School Global Service Program.