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What is Service Learning?

Service learning is a method by which students improve academic learning and develop personal skills through structured service projects that meet community needs. Service learning builds upon students' service activities by providing them with opportunities to learn by preparing, leading, and reflecting upon their

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In colleges and schools, service learning is integrated into the academic curriculum. Students in kindergarten through college apply their academic skills, knowledge, and abilities to service projects that meets community needs. Educators facilitate learning by creating opportunities for students to understand and analyze their service experiences in the context of their coursework.

In community organizations, youth learn by doing. Young people age 5 to 17 develop practical skills, self-esteem, and a sense of civic responsibility by designing, planning, and implementing their service projects.​​

Why is service learning important
Evidence from a national study of Learn and Serve America programs suggests that effective service learning programs:

  • improve academic grades;
  • increase attendance in school; and
  • develop personal and social responsibility

Additional definitions from the Clearinghouse on Service Learning​

 Re-Release of FY 2010 Learn and Serve America

Service Learning GuidePDF Document
The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled a Service Learning Guide to support service learning initiatives throughout Illinois. The Guide includes information on best practices, program development and document templates.
Additional resources are provided by Illinois educators and schools.​

Students and Service Learning​​​​​​​​

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