The Service Learning Program

The service learning placement that was given was at JL. Francis Elementary School. JL. Francis is an elementary school that consists with majority of minority students. Some children live and come from financially unstable families. Being that most of its community suffers from poverty, JL. Francis makes it its duty to serve and give back to its Richmond inner city community. They do this through several aspects such as , having mentors come in an serve as positive influencers in their lives, having food and clothes drives, as well as having non profit organizations such as the YMCA to host an after school program for the students.

While attending and completing 20 hours of service there were several duties assigned. The role that was assigned was to serve as a “Morning Mentor” as well as a Teachers assistant. What took place while serving as a Morning Mentor were meeting with at risk students specifically third graders who had a very low attendance rate.While meeting with the students several discussions were held to discuss the importance of education and positive life goals. After the first part of the morning was completed, The second assignment was to report to Ms. G’s Kindergarten class where the fun began. The class enjoyed learning and reciting the alphabet,the months of the year and playing games related to basic math and science.

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While working with the children a lot of knowledge and experiences was gained. Strong one on one relationships were developed with the students and teachers and staff. These experiences and knowledge will help me elaborate and compare the experiences with the lessons that were taught in lecture, as well as the topics discussed inside of the course textbook. These comparable subjects include nutrition, playing, bullying and resilience.

The first comparable subject to be discussed is nutrition. Having good nutrition is very important in everyone’s lives, However it is extremely important in young children’s lives because it is a leading factor in developmental factors. As discussed in chapter 5 Early childhood body and mind in the textbook Invitation to the Lifespan, Without having proper nutrition that obtains sufficient vitamins and minerals children can suffer from having several possible deficiencies. These deficiencies can occur when the body is inable or does not absorb the nutrients needed for the body to function or sustain. Suffering from these deficiencies can lead to poor performance inside and out of the classroom due to the side effects of fatigue, mood swings and lack of attention.. As stated prior JL. Francis serves several families who suffer from poverty. A lot of the students are being served cheap unhealthy snacks and foods simply because their families are unable to provide their basic needs for development. Due to this major health concern JL. Francis has made a huge effort in eliminating malnourishment inside of their school. The school took action and provides free breakfast to the students. While having breakfast with the students bags of food were passed along which contained several items such as,low grain muffins with a piece of fruit along with a sugar free or organic juice. This simple act has changed the community by providing a healthy way of means for students to be feed adequatly.

The second comparable subject to be discussed is playing. As stated in the textbook chapter 6 many developmentalists believe that play is the most productive as well as the most enjoyable activity that children undertake ( Berger,2016). Playing with other children allows children to develop social skills, how to regulate emotions and empathy. Playing as well as beginning to play with other children begins around the age of one and progresses until the age of six. As stated in the text By age 6, most children are quite skilled: Some know how to join a peer group, manage conflict, take turns, find friends, and keep the action going (?endil & Erden, 2014; Göncü & Gaskins, 2011). Psychologist Mildred Parten broke down the stages of social play into five stages. The first stage that he described is known as Solitary Play. This stage is when a young child plays alone unaware of children playing nearby. The second stage is known as the Onlooker Stage. This stage is when a child watched other children playing. The third stage is known as Parallel Playing. This is when children play with similar objects in similar ways but not together. The fourth stage is known as Associative playing.This stage is when the children interact and share the material but their play is not reciprocal. The fifth stage is Cooperative Play. This is when the children play with one another and take turns. (Berger, pg. 207). While working with the children at the school two different stages were seen with the two different age groups. The third grade students would interact and share with one another. For example while sitting at the table on several monday mornings the two students Janiyah and Aveyiah would share their barbie dolls with one another and share their stuffed animals with the rest of the children at the table. This specific example represents the fifth stage of play which is Cooperative Play. Another example of how this model was represented is while in the kindergarten classroom the students would look at the other students while playing with the leggos and copy the shapes and buildings they were building, however they would not be interacting with one another. This specific example represents the fourth stage which is known as Associative Playing.

The third comparable subject to be discussed is peers/ bullying. In the middle ages of a child’s childhood they began to become aware of several new aspects of life. These aspects include the importance of their peers opinions and judgements, the importance of friends and peer relationships and social comparisons. Although one becoming aware of these aspects is positive and needed for success in a person’s life, it can also become very detrimental. It can be detrimental because if you are not able to have what someone else has or you may be viewed as being “different” you may feel very sad and upset about it or even be criticized and bullied for it in school. Bullying begins to start as early as preschool because that is when children began to compare and notice differences. According to the book bullying is defined as repeated systematic attacks intended to harm those who are unable or unlikely to defend themselves (Berger,2016). According to Berger there are four types of bullying, physical which includes hitting, verbal which can be shown through teasing, relational which can be shown through not having peer acceptance and cyber which is bullying through technology such as online, cell phones or social media. The Textbook also addresses ways that the school can address bullying. They insist on having interventions with the peers involved as well as having critical evaluations. An example of how the subject of bullying relates to the experience at JL. Francis while serving at the school there was several incidents of students who were either being bullied or students who were the bullies. Most of the students who were being bully were viewed as “different” simply because they were of a non dominant race or students who were very quiet and shy. One student by the name of Lesly who was in Mrs. G’s kindergarten class was verbally bullied by some of the other students because she was Asian and did not speak a lot of English. The students would mock her accent and even squint their eyes to mock her appearance. Lesly would become very upset and cry and report it to the teacher. The teacher took action by disciplining the bulliers and sending Lesly to a counselor’s office where she could vent and discuss the situation.

The last comparable subject to be discussed is resilience. According to the lectures learned in class resilience is defined as the capacity to positively adapt well despite significant adversity and to overcome serious stress (Lotze,10/10/18). A child being resilient can come from the child’s home and the several risk factors inside of their environment. Risk factors are characteristics at the biological,psychological. Family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes(,08/13/2018). Examples of risk factors that a child may experience include growing up in a high crime neighborhood, growing up in poverty and living in a one parent household. Adversity can be very significant it can often times become overwhelming. Due to this high amount of stress protective factors began to form. These factors can either be internal or external. Internal factors can include having good health, being intelligent and having a strong religion. External factors can include having a loving caregiver, attending a good school and having job opportunities. Resilience was a characteristic that most of these children if not all of the children in the service learning program possessed. These kids were minority children living in impoverished communities and attending a school that had a very low income budget. Most of these students are living in single parent households due to either divorce, their parents being incarcerated or deceased.These children lacke their basic necessities such as clothing food and shelter, Yet every monday morning they showed up to school with positive attitudes ready to learn and become better students. An specific example of a student resembling the definition of resilience was my student named Alex. Alex is a 10 year old Latino male whose family migrated from Guatemala. While completing the service learning program Elias shared the background of his family, Alex discussed how his mother died while he was a young child and his father is incarcerated. He now lives with his grandmother who lives in the inner city area of richmond, His grandmother is very old and has no job so she supports her family off of her social security check. Alex often shared that he often goes without meals during the day and can not afford to buy clothing for the new weather. Alex also discussed how he was abused as a child. Although Alex has a very harsh life he positively adapts to his stress and presents positivity to his environment.

This service learning experience was very life changing, informative and unforgettable. While completing the hours personal relationships were made with not only the staff but with the individual children. It felt very good to know that the service that was provided had such a great impact on their lives. Goals were made by the children as well as future accomplishments were discussed. Towards the remaining hours of the program there was a huge positive increase in the students attitudes, attendance and grades. I will continue to work with the students and school to promote positive leaders and children inside of the school and in the community.

Service Learning And Adolescents

TFhis friend is described as being prone to act out and present high levels of aggression towards others. It also stated that he has a poor relationship with his parents. This leads me to believe that the latters has raised him under an authoritarian parenting style, which means that his parents would likely use physical punishment as a way to instate their authority (and dominance) and would express their disappointment or anger toward the child’s actions, but without explaining what he did wrong. This friend who doesn’t take no for an answer is likely mimicking his parents, who always expected him to do whatever they wanted him to do without accepting it any other way. He is constantly rebelling against the authority and engaging in risky behaviors probably as an alternative way to rebel against his parents, something that he was likely not able to do when he was younger because he was maybe afraid of them and felt anxious around them. The reason he does not understand social boundaries is likely because his parents never took the time to explain them to him, and he is not convinced about the rules he must obey for the same reason, and that is why he has a hard time following them.

Children ranging from 3 to 6 years old are in the pre-operational stage. It is a time where they can thinking symbolically and where their language mature (they even start talking to people differently following different social situations). Their memory and imagination improve and they are likely to engage in make-believe plays. However, their thinking is not logical, but rather intuitive. At this stage, children can start talking about things that are out of sight. They also are very egocentric and think that everyone sees the world through their eyes, and have the same perception as they do. Another thing that defines that stage is animism, which is the belief that inanimate objects have feelings and are able to come to life as well.

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Children ranging from 7 to 11 years of age are in the concrete operation stage. It is a time where their perception becomes less egocentric and they start understanding that one’s perception and thoughts are unique. They are still however incapable of abstract thinking or formulating a hypothesis, and rather learn through the method of trial an error. This stage is marked by seriation, which is a child’s ability to organize objects by size and transit, which is a child’s ability to understand logical relations and connections, and combine them together to form a conclusion.

People who are staying at home because they were told to shows appurtenance to Kohlberg’s lowest level of moral reasoning, which is the preconventional. These people obey only because they were told to obey by someone and respect the latter’s authority enough not to question it. People who are staying at home in order not to be fined are part of the conventional reasoning level of moral reasoning. They do not really care about the moral aspect of the problem at hand, but understand what is right and what is wrong, not because they believe so, but because they have to the term that it is simply how it is. Their moral judgment and standards are set by higher figures (parents or society) and they understand that if they go against the policy, then they will be punished. They act in accord with society because they want to avoid getting disciplined, not because they think it is the right thing to do.

Finally, the people who stay at home because they believe is the right thing to do are found on the higher level of Kohlberg’s moral reasoning, which is post-conventional reasoning. These people have evaluated all aspects of the problem at hand and have come up with their very own way to look at it, and a unique decision about how they chose to act about it. These individuals are convinced about the righteous aspect of the rules they are following because they fit into their own ethical standard, but can choose to disregard the rules if they are not convinced by their importance.

Service learning is a way for students in high school to engage in volunteering activities that benefit society in a way, and an opportunity for those students to put themselves at work to help others. It is important because it encourages adolescents to be less focused on themselves and allows them to broaden their horizons. It is most effective when the students are offered the choice in the activity they want to partake in, and not when they are pushed to do something they do not want to do, and also when they are given, afterwards, the opportunity to reflect on the work they had done. Service learning gives adolescents a sense of being capable of making a difference in the world, which might be accompanied with a boost of confidence, and it encourage them to do more to help society and partake in actions bigger than themselves.

Parents monitor their children by overseeing their choice of social settings, activities they engage in, and in the friends they choose to stay with. They also supervise their academic efforts. The advantages of parenting monitoring is that adolescents will likely score higher GPAs, and engage less early in sexual behaviors, and when they do they do it in a more safe way. It also facilitates their entering into adulthood. Adolescents are more likely to confide in their parents when a relationship of trust and acceptance has been instated. Parenting monitoring also lessen the chances of an adolescent to partake later on in antisocial behaviors because parents have prior set limits, and these adolescents do not have the desire to test them, because they already had before.

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