Why Service Learning?
In the tradition of our founding Sisters, we place a strong emphasis on service learning and social justice; it’s an integral part of what we do. It’s about thinking beyond ourselves and being compassionate global citizens.
What are the Benefits of Service Learning?
There is a lot of research that suggests service learning programmes help build communication skills, problem-solving abilities, collaborative skills, reasoning and, of course, social and political understanding*.
Service learning activities also challenge students, can often be enormous motivators for classroom learning, and have been shown to strengthen leadership skills**.
It sets students up to see the immense potential they have to contribute to the community for the rest of their lives and truly make a difference in the world in which we live.
Year-Round Service Learning Opportunities
In the Junior School, students are regularly involved in fundraising opportunities and events, in addition to the Helping Hands club, which conducts a range of activities to improve sustainability, and visits to the residents at the nearby Second Avenue Aged Care facility.
Even our youngest students get involved. For example, the Kindy students have partnered with the Friends of Inglewood Triangle since 2013, and visit several times each term to plant and water new seedlings, weed, and pick up rubbish.
Senior School students undertake weekly visits to the neighbouring Juniper – St David’s retirement centre, where they play games with residents and share afternoon tea. Through the Student Representative Council, the girls work to increase awareness and raise funds for various charities by holding both school- and community-based events. Their efforts keep the student body informed about local, national and global issues and promote the ways in which the girls can make a difference.
Our students also provide assistance to local community events such as the annual Lifeline luncheon, Anglicare Winter and Christmas appeals, the Hyde Park Fair, Operation Shoebox and more.
Service Learning Immersion Tours
The Senior School takes service learning a step further by allowing students to become immersed in a project from start to finish.
In 2018, students have had the opportunity to be part of three immersion tours. Each tour is different, but all have the same mission – to broaden our students’ horizons and allow them to gain a unique insight into a different culture, whilst serving another community.
Solomon Islands Immersion Tour
In July, 15 girls from Years 10 and 11 visited the Solomon Islands.
Dean of Co-Curricular Scott Cox said the trip enabled students to participate in the social, educational and cultural life of the Solomon Islands.
“The experience really challenged our students to examine their values and gave rise to intellectual enquiry and issues of equity and social justice,” he said.
“One of the strongest results of the trip each year is our girls coming away with an understanding of education in a culture where it is a privilege, rather than a right.”
Jessie (Year 10) said it was the most rewarding experience of her life.
“It feels great to not only have an impact of the lives of people but also form great friendships, too,” she said. “Visiting St Nicholas College was a personal highlight for me. We taught lessons in Years 6 to 10 and formed amazing relationships with the students. The people were some of the happiest I have ever met!”
This month, 30 Years 10 and 11 students have travelled to Nepal on a 17-day service learning expedition. This trip is a further extension of the Perth College Service Learning programme and encourages teamwork, cultural immersion and exploration.
“Under the guidance of four staff, the students assume responsibility for travel logistics, accommodation, transport, food and the team budget throughout the course of their expedition,” Scott said.
“They will be involved in a week-long community service project which they have been raising funds for over the last 12 months to cover the project costs.
“The students will be working in an area hit by the earthquake in April 2015 and aim to repair and build infrastructure for a water source, sewage and educational facility.”
The team will also trek through the Annapurna region for approximately six days. .
Want to know more about the Service Learning opportunities at Perth College?
*Conrad, D., and Hedin, D. (1991). School-based community service: What we know from research and theory. Phi Delta Kappan, June, pp. 743-749.
** Lavery, S. D. (2007). Service-Learning – preparing students for leadership. Australian Association for Research in Education Conference.