Today, schools have adapted their curriculum to teach young children to become well-rounded adults. The focus of modern education is no longer purely focused on academic achievement but on civic engagement as well. Of note is the new and profound educational approach called service learning.
As the term suggests, service learning requires students to apply the theories they’ve learned in the classroom to their experiences in the real world, usually by volunteering at a nonprofit or social service group. The goal of service learning is to foster a love for knowledge while building critical thinking skills for social change. Through this approach, children experience firsthand how their education can be used to help improve the lives of others.
For parents considering top international schools in Singapore, the topic of service learning—and the chance for a child to take subjects that encourage service learning—shouldn’t be taken for granted. As a parent, not only should you look for schools that offer this approach, but you should also find out about how that school promotes community service and philanthropy based on your host country or community’s needs.
How can service-learning help and benefit your child, as well as the people they’ll meet in their learning journey? Here’s what you should know before you look at the service-learningprogram in your chosen school.
Service Learning Can Make the Transition Easier for Expat Families
There are several advantages to raising your child in another country, not least of which is exposure to an entirely new culture and language. But the transition can be hard, especially if you move to another country when your child is already much older.
Service learning can help your child come out of their shell and learn how to interact with different people, making the transition to a new country much easier as your child develops stronger interpersonal skills. Because of the high-impact approach required by service learning, your child may also gain much more confidence in less time and have an increased sense of self-efficacy, analytical skills, and social development—all of which will contribute to their education in a holistic way.
Service Learning Promotes Global Citizenship
In a nutshell, service learning makes real-world issues part of your child’s education. It encourages students to “think outside the box” and recognize different social issues that are affecting their country and the world. This prepares them to become global citizens who have a deeper understanding of many worldwide issues.
This is especially important for parents who want their children to be able to speak about a variety of topics with different people. Service learning will give children a vocabulary for what needs to be changed in the world—and the conviction to do something for their fellow global citizens at an early age.
Service Learning Improves Leadership and Communication Skills
Through the service-learning approach, your child will also learn how to become a better leader. Keep in mind that effective leaders not only manage the day-to-day tasks of their organization but can inspire, mentor, and coach their team members as well. True leadership is grounded in service, and children who learn this earlier on tend to become better leaders when they are older.
Service learning teaches your child how to connect and work through issues with other people, regardless of the latter’s race, gender, or background, so that both parties can achieve something important together. When they have a chance to immerse themselves in this approach in a different country, your child will learn how to work with different people and become more open-minded and collaborative when working on global issues with others.
Service Learning Develops Critical Thinking
There’s a difference between theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge, which is implemented in the real world. By being involved in service learning, children will be able to practice the latter with the lessons they’ve learned in the classroom. This will facilitate the development of more in-depth knowledge, as the child uses more areas of their brain to understand a single topic by giving the right opportunities andengaging them in social-emotional learning.
This educational approach may also influence the child’s love for learning in ways that are self-determined. Often, children do not understand the relevance of what they learn in school, complaining that some subjects are “useless”. However, through the hands-on use of their skills and knowledge in a service-learning program, they will understand that the things they learn in the classroom have a practical application in the real world—and they will ultimately strive harder to link those lessons to future experiences.
Service Learning Adequately Prepares Students for University and the Job Market
Many of today’s top universities prioritize students who show competence in real-world settings on top of specific academic skills. This is why many high schools train their students to be both academically gifted and socially responsible. One of the most recommended ways to develop civic leadership and community development is through service learning, which may factor into a student’s future college and employment experiences.
Service-learning opportunities will also have a cumulative effect on the student’s prospects after they graduate from university. Most employers want candidates who have real-world experience grounded in superior education. For your child to have excellent prospects for their future education and career, especially abroad, enroll them in a school with service learning baked into its curriculum.
Service Learning Can Elevate the Learning Experience
Academic competency is important to a student, but it is not the be-all, end-all of success. Children need to connect the classroom experience with life in their community. They must also understand that the lessons they’ve learned in school can be used to help others—and despite differences with others in terms of race, gender, or background, everyone has a role to play in working towards the greater good. This perspective can be achieved in a service-learning program, so be sure to look into a school that offers these valuable learning opportunities.
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