This post is a special shout out to my Service Learning Associate, Ally, who put together the above video on her IPhone and who helped coordinate transitions between Fairfield and Columbus School. Ally is graduating in a few weeks, and immediately entering the 5th year towards her Masters in Elementary Education.
At the end of the event, Ms. Biko from Columbus School, the 5th grade teacher, saw the work of the Fairfield Students and Ally and simply asked, "Is it alright if I hug you?" Ally consented and I was able to capture the moment. It was authentic and real - pride in a wonderful opportunity to do what is best for kids and to push them towards their personal excellence. This excellence was not only for the Columbus School students, but the undergraduates enrolled in the Philosophy of Education course. Ally, as a student leader, was able to capture the magic of the collaboration. Ms. Biko recognized this and the joy radiated the room.
I am reflecting on these past four months wondering how we might build upon it, expand it, develop it, and demonstrate how awesome it is for potential teachers exploring the field of education to interact directly with young people in a K-8 schools. As the teachers attest above in the video, the students of Columbus were able to accomplish a lot.
I'd argue, however, that although the Service Learning course was originated at Fairfield University, the true service was provided by the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms on Fairfield students. Youth brought knowledge to the University that made the theories come to life.