Somerset Times

Somerset Service: Transformative rather than Transactional

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 3, Term One, 2020

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The College’s Service Programme in the Senior School is so diverse - from the range of student led committees like Sustainable Spartans, Tech Crew or Functions Committee, to the Intergenerational Learning programmes in Pre-Prep, Years 7, 9 and 12 or Meals that Make a Difference for the homeless, there really is something for every student. Most of our students commence their Service journey in Year 6 when the Middle Years Programme begins.

In these Middle Years, Year 6 to 10 students learn the importance of empathy and helping others by visiting and spending time in our aged care facilities, joining Disability Surfing Services or reading to children from Clover Hill State School. In Year 11, our students play alongside the beautiful children from Mudgeeraba Special School weekly. There are also, of course our service trips which have seen us travel to rural areas to rebuild fences following bushfires, better understand the impact of drought on our farmers or improve our knowledge and understanding of our First Nations people on a B or M Trip. Student lead reflections are often very moving following any of these trips.

We encourage our students to have their own input into service initiatives as it enables them to develop their communication and leadership skills. It’s important their experience is transformative, rather than transactional and for many their community work will not just be in school but outside school through surf-lifesaving or other club activities.

Whilst still a young school, Somerset continues to develop its history of philanthropy, and service develops a sense of pride, belonging and a shared purpose among our young people across the playground.

There has been a growing shift amongst educational institutions to accept greater responsibility for the holistic education of our nation’s youth. The socio-emotional wellbeing of students is increasingly considered as important as the academic success of our students and educators are now being encouraged to take responsibility for preparing students as active citizens of our local and global community. Families have a responsibility here, too.

With this pedagogical shift, growing value has been placed on the role of Service Learning as a means of engaging students with their intellect, actions, and emotions to consider their place and influence on the environment and people around them. This year, as our students begin their service journey with others, we look forward to seeing how they walk or work alongside those they choose to build a relationship with.

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