The notion of service has been central to Wesley’s ethos since the College’s formation. But service is about much more than a privileged few helping the disadvantaged, the sick and the elderly. Service at its best goes beyond putting your hand in your pocket or doing a job for someone with little thought or post-event follow up. It is a journey of discovery and awareness, learning about what a community really is and what it means to embrace diversity. It provides students with the opportunity to discover and reflect upon what kind of man or woman they want to be.
Service Learning at Wesley focuses on activities where both the recipient and the provider are the primary intended beneficiaries of the activity. This differs to Community Service where the recipient benefits, but without any intentional learning for the provider.
Wesley is committed to Service Learning as a deliberate, explicit attempt to embed experiences into our formal curriculum. In Middle School, curriculum time is set aside for students to undertake a Service Learning project. While there may be a theme from which students work (eg. poverty, sustainability), the project is left to the class to decide, based on what they see as the needs of their community. Encouraging students to recognise a need, then planning to address it and acting on it are important skills at any age.
Service Learning is also visible in some of our Senior School subjects where it may be incorporated into an authentic assessment task – such as a Mathematics class undertaking survey design and data analysis for a community partner such as UnitingCare West and in our immersion tours to Tanzania and Indonesia.
In addition to Service Learning, there is a strong tradition of Community Service at Wesley College, from PK right through to Year 12. Notably, Wesley College is the largest fundraising school worldwide for Relay for Life, having raised over $500k for the Cancer Council. Students also participate annually in Shave for a Cure and have nominated house charities to support, including RSPCA, Disabled Surfers Association, Red Cross Soup Patrol, UnitingCare West and many others.
We hope that these experiences will broaden each student’s education by increasing empathy and awareness, and that they will provide leadership to future generations in this regard.