The seventh grade Community Service Learning program focused on the question, “What is society’s responsibility, if any, for the care of pregnant women, newborns, and children?” This question reinforced important topics in the seventh grade curriculum including human sexuality, the role and function of government, and the ability to make persuasive arguments.
Students began by researching the needs of pregnant women, newborns, and young children and then deciding whether or not it is society’s responsibility to care for this group of people in need. Students compiled their research into a Needs-and-Resources packet to share with classmates. They also read excerpts from a young adult novel, The First Part Last, to gain insight into a young parent’s experience raising a child alone while still trying to finish high school and maintain friendships.
The students next explored the resources, both public and private, that are available to meet the needs of mothers with young children. As a part of their history curriculum, students investigated the role and function of government in regard to assisting expectant mothers and children. Students visited the state Capitol and met with elected officials to gain first-hand knowledge of how the political process works and to learn about available state assistance programs for needy mothers with young children.
They also visited Infant Crisis Services to gain an appreciation of how the non-profit community works to provide a safety net for new mothers and their children in need of assistance. Equipped with this knowledge and experience, students then created their own action plan to serve this population and explained their plan’s consequences and costs to society.
During this process, students put themselves in several different scenarios, and then worked together to explain the best course of action for each mother/family. To help students better understand the costs of potential inaction in these scenarios, students also learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), the detrimental impact ACEs have on the people who experience them, and the relative cost that ACEs have upon our society.