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Service Learning

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Psychology students were offerred a versatile opportunity defined by two distinct approaches in the 2016 service learning project. Service-learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience while meeting societal needs. Service-learning involves students in service projects to apply classroom learning for local agencies that exist to effect positive change in the community.

Applying Theories of Child Development to Aid Children

Course: PSY 105

In this project students selected one of two types of service learning projects:

One project was working directly with children. This direct work often included volunteering to serve as tutors or as babysitter for a young child in need. Other direct services included: assisting with coaching a sports team for children, or volunteering with a group like Special Olympics. Students worked directly with children under the age of 12 for a minimum of three hours. However, I have found most students spend much more time than three hours with their children.

The other type of project required the student to identify a problem facing pregnant women, infants, or children under the age of 12, and take some sort of action to make a change. This option required the students to reach out to two or more people in a position of power and ask them to make a targeted improvement. Projects of this type included: Writing to local school boards, aimed at improving the life situation of children and those who care for them.

Impact At A Glance

"For my service learning project I volunteered to babysit [a family in need]. While I volunteered I decided I wanted to help the child with her language skills and try different techniques to see how her mind is [developing]. I read her two books one in English and one and Spanish. This was an awesome time to work with her ... I can see how at the beginning first stages of child development how language is key and how in a way easier for [very young children] to pick up languages."
-Ruben Garcia, Student


Benefits

To Our Students
  • Each semester 150 students are spending hundreds of hours directly helping students
  • Dozens of students are reaching out to key decision makers to help them to focus on issues relating to children
  • Report gaining a better understanding of child development and seeing themselves as being able to make a difference in the lives of children with only a targeted goal and a small amount of effort
To Our School
  • Initiate and/or continue positive relationship between the university and local business entities
  • Provide student organizations with a volunteer opportunity
  • Promote homecoming events to the broader public
To Our Community
  • We received notes from the beneficiaries of this time thanking students for easing a burden for them
  • Politicians have mentioned talking with and meeting ESU students who are concerned about issues relating to children