Make a PAWS-itive Difference: Exploring Service-Learning in Kindergarten

Open Access
Buck, Jane Ashley
Area of Honors:
Elementary and Kindergarten Education
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Stephanie Cayot Serriere, Thesis Supervisor
  • James F Nolan Jr., Honors Advisor
  • service-learning
  • primary
  • kindergarten
  • process
As a kindergarten intern for the Professional Development School at The Pennsylvania State University, I observed my students and their social needs. Many of my students lacked social skills necessary to become active citizens within a democracy. For most students, school is the first foray into a public institution in which students may come across an issue they want to change. I considered how to show my students that they are agents of change through service- learning. Service-learning provides a context in which students, even young ones, can practice democracy and citizenry. There is a lack of empirical research discussing elementary aged students and civic engagement, including service-learning. Through systematic data collection, interviews, and surveys I describe the processes of service-learning within a kindergarten setting and discuss whether my current group of kindergarteners found success with service-learning.