Nobel Learning Communities, Inc. (NLCI), announced today the launch of its new social entrepreneurship curriculum, Giving Without Walls. This new program allows first through eighth-grade students to be active participants in their communities by independently orchestrating a variety of projects. The program is being implemented in all 32 of Nobel Learning Communities’ elementary and middle schools across the country. Giving Without Walls projects integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and encourage lifelong social entrepreneurship and civic engagement. Nobel Learning Communities, Inc is one of the first national education providers to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship and civic engagement to students at the elementary level.
“By incorporating Nobel Learning Communities’ signature Giving Without Walls curriculum, we are helping our students become agents of change while emphasizing critical 21st century skills,” said Susan W. Race, Ed.D., Senior Vice President of Education for Nobel Learning Communities, Inc. “Our students act as social entrepreneurs and global citizens who recognize a problem and use creativity and management skills to make important contributions to society.”
Unlike conventional community service-learning programs, the Giving Without Walls program follows students through their entire first through eighth-grade education, and builds upon the entrepreneurial skills learned in each grade as projects become more complex. Students lead all phases of the process and make all of the decisions together. The projects follow a process of investigation, planning, action, reflection and celebration. Each grade is assigned an area of focus and students collectively decide upon a specific project. Topics and examples of Giving Without Walls projects at Nobel Learning Communities’ schools include:
First-grade: School Community – First-graders at Chesterbrook Academy in Raleigh, NC, are implementing a school-wide recycling effort. First-graders are creating recycling bins with proper labels and making sure they are checked and emptied daily. The students will also educate their peers and parents about the importance of recycling.
Second-grade: Animal Welfare – Second-graders at Merryhill School in Sacramento, CA, collaborated to determine wants and needs of the Sacramento Animal Shelter. After a conference call with the shelter coordinator, students implemented a campaign to donate food and toys. Students made flyers to encourage donations and worked with the entire student body to create catnip-filled mice for shelter cats. To present their donations, students took a field trip to the shelter.
Third-grade: Environment – After surveying their peers to assess knowledge and awareness of local water pollution, third-grade students at Chesterbrook Academy in Naperville, IL, took on the task of educating the school and surrounding community about Great Lakes water pollution. The students created podcasts, commercials, brochures and posters. Afterwards, they re-surveyed the student population and learned that they were successful in their efforts to raise awareness.
Fourth-grade: Health and Wellness – Fourth-grade students at Merryhill School in Sacramento, CA, are partnering with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) to raise funds for the University of California Davis Medical Center. Students are writing letters to major companies in the area to secure monetary donations and items such as sippy cups, games and pajamas. Students are planning a school-wide campaign to match corporate donations.
Fifth-grade: Intergenerational Needs – After studying veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our country, students at Touchstone School in Lake Oswego, OR were inspired to show their appreciation by creating care packages to send to U.S. soldiers overseas. Students created neck pillows and hand-painted water bottles. To raise money to cover the shipping costs, students are orchestrating a “Groovy Stuff Sale” where members of the community can purchase quality items for children.
Sixth-grade: Disaster Prevention and Recovery – In the wake of recent natural disasters in Latin America, sixth-graders from Southern Highlands Preparatory School in Las Vegas, NV, created blankets to send to children’s hospitals in Argentina and Chili. To personalize the project, and to put the student’s Spanish studies into practice, each blanket was accompanied by a handwritten note. The students are also currently working with the Peace Corp and the “Kids to Kids” organization to raise funds for a library/homework room for young students in the Dominican Republic.
Seventh-grade: Literacy – To raise awareness for literacy, seventh-grade students at Merryhill School in Sacramento, CA, are hosting a read-a-thon and are reading to preschool students and the elderly. The students have become inspired to write their own children’s books and are in the process of learning how to publish them. They are also volunteering at a book drive to support the Friends of the Public Library and are hosting a special writing workshop during the school’s Leadership Conference in May.
Eighth-grade: Student Choice – After investigating assigned topics during grades first through seventh, Nobel Learning Communities eighth-graders are encouraged to select a community service project of their choosing. Before starting individual service projects, students are required to research local and national charities started by children to gain inspiration and direction. Nobel Learning Communities eighth-graders are currently in the research phase of their projects.
Notes to Editors:
Excellent Photo and Interview Opportunity: Giving Without Walls projects are currently underway at Nobel Learning Communities’ schools across the country. To witness a project in action, or to interview students, teachers and school administrators, please contact Kathleen Shaffer at 410-902-5053, or email [email protected].