Service Learning is an experiential approach to education, shaped through relationships.
Service learning projects play an important role in connecting young people to the community, culture and nature and are an integral part of the Project Sunset program sequence because they:
- Increase the relevancy of education to students.
- Empower students as learners, teachers, achievers and leaders.
- Invite students to become contributing members of their own communities.
- Increase overall awareness of community needs and complex issues that need action.
- Develop critical thinking skills.
- Relate to traditional values of generosity.
Service should address a genuine community need, as determined by existing or student-led community assessments. Service are thoughtfully organized to solve, or make a positive contribution toward solving a problem.
In quality service-learning, the service project is designed to meet not only a real community need but also classroom or program goals. By ensuring strong links between the service and the learning, students are able to improve their academic skills and apply what they learn in school to the broader community.
Reflection is a key element of quality service-learning. The service-learning facilitator structures time for students to reflect. Through this process, students come to understand the complexity of community issues and understand how to view such issues in their broader cultural,
social, political and economic contexts.
Project Sunset adheres to the standards developed by the greater service-learning community but emphasizes the role of leadership within the cultural community context of programming. Project Sunset is actively working with our community partners to embed local cultural practices into our programming.
Intentional group development is an important part of the process, the Full Value Commitment is an important tool for teaching about group norms and empowering youth to self manage. The Full Value Commitment expands and grows as the group develops.
The Six Principles of the Full Value Commitment are:
Speak Your Truth
Care for Self and Others
Let Go and Move On