CES has a long tradition of community service. Service learning connects school-based learning with the natural concern that young people have for their world - whether here at CES, at a local food bank, or in a community on another continent. The results are lifelong lessons for students and help build a better society for all. At CES, this is accomplished through our daily chapel program, through school-wide efforts and through classroom based activities.
Service learning opportunities typically take four forms: direct service, indirect service, advocacy and research. Direct service activities are face-to-face, reflected this year when our Kindergarten class visited a senior living center to sing and chat with the residents. Indirect service is when students do not see the recipients but their work benefits others in some way. An example of this is the Trick or Treat for UNICEF project. CES children collected money on Halloween. Our third grade class counted the money and a check was sent on to UNICEF to benefit children in need around the world. Advocacy involves creating awareness or promoting action on an issue of public interest. An example of advocacy alive at CES was our annual walk for the homeless this past fall. Through our chapel program, children gain awareness about social conditions that lead to homelessness and about Samaritan Ministry, a local organization that helps homeless individuals get back on their feet. Students, along with faculty, staff and parents, also participate in a walk to benefit the homeless, thereby experiencing a long standing tradition in our democracy of walking in support of a cause. Service that is research based involves students doing research around a particular issue in the community. For example, students might gather data involving the quality of the water in the Chesapeake Bay.
Our final service learning project of this school year is Pennies for Porridge. This project is both indirect service and advocacy. Our involvement in Pennies for Porridge arose because two of our 7th grade students and their mothers visited a village in Uganda last semester and have a direct connection with a Maryland foundation that provides, among other things, porridge for children in villages in Uganda. Children are served this porridge at school, and the porridge is typically their only meal of the day.
Through our chapel program, CES students will learn more about the needs of these children and ways that we can build relationships with them. This program will be led by our 7th grade students. Their enthusiasm for the children of Uganda will surely be an inspiration for other CES students to find as many pennies as they can to help feed students just like them in so many ways. Our lower school students will help count the pennies, which is a direct connection to learning about money through our Everyday Math program. Students will figure out how many bowls of porridge CES will be providing through our Pennies for Porridge project. Through this indirect service project, our students will be inspired to advocate for our brothers and sisters in a part of the world that is scarce in resources and where human suffering is great, particularly among children.