Service-learning actively involves students in a range of experiences, which benefit the community, while also advancing the goals of a given curriculum.
UJ’s first year intermediate phase education students did just that with a community engagement project that stretched over several weeks. This video shows how students taught Grade 4 learners of a local primary school, about healthy living and sustainable gardening.
Food security, sustainability, and healthy living
In the 21st century we are faced with many challenges, food security being one of them. To address this, a service-learning project was initiated. On the one side, UJ students learned how to use what they learned in their Teaching Studies module and to apply it in a practical manner with young learners. Simultaneously, Grade 4 learners from the Funda UJabule primary school learned about sustainabile gardening and healthy living in a fun and practical way.
The project kicked off with a ‘planting day’, where UJ students taught the learners how to plant seeds and how to care for and nurture their plants.
‘Harvest day’ was the result of 8 weeks of work and learners were taught how to harvest and prepare a dish from the vegetables that they grew themselves. The children got to be part of the journey: from the planting and germination of the seeds, all the way to when the food is harvested, prepared in a meal and served.
The kids learned what a balanced meal consists of, exercises to stay healthy, and the importance of recycling as well as how to recycle. A UJ student explains that her activity of using recyclable materials for fun activities taught children that “it’s not about having money and being fancy,” but about using what you have to make useful resources.
Active citizenship: the role of a teacher
Being a citizen is about much more than merely owning an identity document. Teachers in particular need to lead by example; to teach others what active citizenship looks like. This means that good teachers are active in their communities and are passionate about transferring their knowledge and skills onto the next generation.