Service-learning in Maine
What is Service-learning?
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
The distinctive element of service-learning is that it enhances the community through the service provided, but it also has powerful learning consequences for the students or others participating in providing a service. Service-learning is growing so rapidly because we can see it is having a powerful impact on young people and their development. It is a dynamic process, through which students' personal and social growth is tightly interwoven into their academic and cognitive development. According to scholars Eyler and Giles (1999), the service-learning "experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action" (Service-Learning Clearinghouse).
Maine VISTA Project
The Maine Commission for Community Service sponsors an AmeriCorp*VISTA Project that focuses on education and veterans. A core group of VISTA members are focused on increasing the use of Service-learning in Maine. There are a variety of areas that the project will impact, including k-12 school programming, after school and extended year programming and pre-service and continuing education for teachers. VISTA assignments will build capacity within a region rather than just within a single district or program. VISTA members are recruited in the spring of each year. Organizations participating in the VISTA project commit to building a replicable implementation strategy for educational programming over a three year period with the project. AmeriCorps*VISTA is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS) promotes service-learning as a K-12 instructional strategy that fosters student academic success and builds capacity among schools that adopt service-learning. MCCS provides training, resources, and technical assistance to school administrators and works to educate community members and leaders about the advantages of service-learning.