Embedding character education into an early childhood classroom through service-learning
Keywords:Service-learning, Early childhood, Teacher preparation, Praxis, Character education, Preschool
The implementation of service-learning in early childhood education classrooms has not been well documented, and the links to service-learning and the potential effects on character education are scarce at best. In this paper, a service-learning pedagogy is presented as a way to enhance character through education with the youngest learners: children in an early childhood classroom. This study examines the experiences of both teachers and children in an early childhood classroom participating in the form of a service-learning pedagogy for a year, and investigates the social emotional and character development of the young children participating in the classroom. Through the implementation of service-learning in early childhood classrooms, it is possible to grow and create a generation of learners who connect academic curricula through projects that deal with real community needs. With an emphasis on building relationships and making connections, service-learning the authors suggest, is an approach that can allows teachers to maximize children’s strengths, while at the same time building character and positive social and emotional traits.
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