Through school years children progress from being egocentric (focused on themselves) to influenced by key adults (parents mostly, but also teachers) and by the end of schooling the most significant influences come from peer groups (including online culture).
The desire to “develop the heart” in relation to interacting is the goal of the ‘service’ element present in the College’s framework.
The BPL Framework includes ‘Service’ as a key component of how we intend to develop students in interacting and Jesus’ direction to love others cannot be carried out without interacting. Service has been a foundational part of the BPL framework since its consultative development in 2016.
This year our students have been increasingly involved in service. I expect that at home they will have in some way shared that they have been involved in service provided by the College (although the quality of communication from children may not have been high).
Each K-12 grade has a specific service focus meaning opportunities presented as part of the timetable and there are also additional opportunities outside of regular class time including: visits to other schools, assisting with landscaping/development in Housing estates, barista service, Carevan, Love Hawkesbury, etc.
We do this because:
we can – in really simple terms; we’re able to help and we become aware of need. Empathy and helping others is not solely a “Christian thing”; I suggest it is part of Australian culture, yet doesn’t appear in any curriculum documents
the Bible tells us to – this is the most significant motivator in the College and we learn that we are to live like Jesus who came to serve other, not to be served
it communicates value to others – somebody who receives time, energy, thought, resources or effort should be able to recognise that they are valued
it brings value to oneself – the process of considering “what do I have to offer this person/situation?” develops the value of the abilities held by that person; I believe this takes the longest time to develop, including through adulthood
The students in Primary have also participated in Thanksgiving Week which is a very useful starting place for developing the points above because it forces students to focus on who serves them (or others) as well as who they serve, why they serve and how they serve.
And what are the outcomes?
Year 9 students (14 years old) were surveyed after their service for a term in the ELC and as can be seen below in their feedback, they enjoyed serving and are more aware of how and where they can serve others
After participating in this unit my attitude to serving others has changed
Yes. I used to think I was really bad with kids but this experience has made me understand that my talents and abilities are able to aid me in communicating and engaging with the kids. It also made me realise how simple serving others can be.
Yes, it is easier than I thought
Yes, Because when I was serving I a good feeling even though no one had to know what we were serving. Even the little things I did made me feel like I really was helping out in a way
Yes. Although I was open to serving other before this unit, I feel this unit has made me even more motivated to serve inside and outside of school.