Ms. Petersen and Ms. Dunlap are teachers at Nicholas A. Intermediate School in Missouri who feel that, “Teaching service is a valuable lesson we must teach our students. Allowing students to be a part of providing services for those in need can teach compassion, empathy, and kindness. Many students may not have the opportunity to participate in services like this at home.”
After using the lesson Celebration of Living History, fifteen 6th grade students participated in the service-learning project Nursing Home Visit. The lesson helped the students see how they can visit those who are living in assisted living. The students felt very strongly during and after the lesson and wanted to continue to push to make their project "their own”.
The students decided to visit a local nursing home where they treated the guests with homemade cookies and potted plants. Additionally, the students brought music and stories they created to share as they spent quality time with the residents. Many of the students chose to bring stories to read and some brought instruments to play.
The Learning to Give mini-grant provided transportation to and from the nursing home and the plants, pots, potting soil, paint, and cookie ingredients that were used. “Without the grant money, the students would not have been able to bring the gifts and travel to the nursing home,” said Ms. Petersen.
As a social-emotional outcome, students gained compassion and were able to have wonderful conversations with the residents. “The students learned to give time as an ultimate gift,” said the teacher duo. Many of the students are already planning future trips to the nursing home. Additionally, Ms. Petersen and Ms. Dunlap will be visiting the nursing home yearly now that they have established relationships with the director. The teaching team said that next year their club “will do the same project because it was so beneficial to our students.”