Elementary School is all about building foundations for the future. At MAA, we strive to instill a spirit of service in our students and set care and compassion as developmental cornerstones. A critical component of this effort is an early start. Getting service started early puts our Children’s Mission Statement, “God made me to live, not just for myself, but to share my gifts with others,” into practice.
Beginning in preschool, MAA students have the chance to participate in class specific service projects run by room parents as well as school-wide initiatives. How do we go about teaching service to elementary school children? The key to success lies in a what we already know about elementary school learning — the power of explaining, doing, and reviewing.
Elementary school students are curious, and we love that natural desire to know. Explaining a service project before getting started helps address and nurture students’ curiosity. Why are we doing this? Who for? Why do they need our help? Taking the time to address these basic questions helps give structure to a service project and provide an opening for discussion, especially with older students.
It is no secret that children learn best by doing, and teaching service is no different. For the younger grades, service projects focused on producing something, like a care package or gift bag, work particularly well. The process of creating something and giving reinforces the joy of service and makes the act a little more personal. But, doing alone will not help the lessons sink in, taking the time to review after a project is completed is vital.
The final step, reviewing, might be the most important. After completing a project, students not only need the reminder of why they took the time to complete this project but also benefit from the chance to share their thoughts and feelings about what they just did. As MAA students matriculate, these conversations delve deeper into the nature of service and the broader issues facing those in need.
Service is not just something we do at MAA; it is part of who are as a community. Lifelong learners do not learn and strive for greatness to only benefit themselves. An education finds its true value when it is shared. Stay tuned throughout the year to learn more about what our students are doing and how you can help.