Rationale

Rationale for Service Learning at All Saint’s College

Why Service Learning?

The motto of All Saints’ College “To serve with wisdom and courage” headlines our current strategic plan and also underpins the rationale of our progression towards a fully embedded Service Learning program. This imperative is intrinsically linked with the Mission, Vision, Values and first four of the five goals of the College’s Strategic Plan. Furthermore, as a College whose bedrock is the Christian faith and its foundations in the Anglican Church, our commitment to serve is grounded in the knowledge that faith without action is dead (James 2:14-26), and that what we do for those in need mirrors our very relationship to God (Matthew 25:31-46). Our engagement in Service as a community is an expression of our identity.

In terms of our Mission, our Service Learning program meets the learning needs of the youngest of our students in a developmentally appropriate manner, and grows with them as their needs, abilities and capacity continue to expand. In this way they are continually empowered and enabled to develop their potential to be connected, confident and compassionate members of their society, who are committed active and worthwhile service in care for their community and each other. With this in mind, we recognise that our community is not limited to currently enrolled students in the College, but includes staff, former students, families and the Anglican Church, as well as being intimately linked to our local and wider communities. This truth is embraced in the growing of a comprehensive Service program which forges partnerships across the widest possible spectrum of society and provides areas of engagement for our community well beyond our current student population.

Through this program the College seeks to nurture the growth of an informed and aware community whose sights are set beyond its immediate needs and wants, and is equipped to respond with compassion and empathy to those less fortunate. It is important to note, however, that the decision to build a Service Learning program runs more deeply than simply to meet our commitment to serve. In becoming more intentional about Service we are able both to broaden and deepen the learning of our students. It is here that the differences between Community Service and Service Learning become distinct. For while Service Learning will bear some resemblance to a community service program and incorporate some levels of fundraising for worthwhile causes, the aims of Service Learning go beyond this. In brief, while community service and fundraising initiatives can fulfil some of the aims of a Service Learning program, neither alone has the rigour to make a lasting difference to the quality of education offered by the College.

Service Learning, while delivering meaningful service (charity), has a clear focus to engage with issues of justice and ethics within the curriculum, to promote optimised student learning and positive student wellbeing, engage the professionalism of the staff and facilitate a connected community. All Saints’ College will seek to do this with a four-pillared approach based on intentional learning, meaningful service, diversity and partnerships. These are more fully explored in associated documents. The benefits to students of this approach have been examined by a number of scholars, including Billig, Furco and Fredericks, from whom some of the more directly relevant findings have been linked them to the goals set out in the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan.

Clear positives for school communities that are closely linked to well-structured Service Learning programs include;

Finally, Service Learning is a great ‘fit’ for All Saints’ College as it provides a context in which our community can make tangible within our day to day learning our Vision of making a positive difference in our world by engaging our College’s Values of integrity, Courage and Respect.