Service Learning: Elementary Schools

Students in Grade 6 are expected to complete and document 5 hours of service learning. Your school may ask students in other grades to also complete service learning projects. If you are completing a service learning project outside of school, use the service learning rubric and reflection to help you evaluate your project. Here are some ways elementary school students in Fairfax County are helping their community.

Elementary school students in Fairfax County are helping their community! 

2015 - 2016

Deer Park Elementary

Deer Park Elementary is connecting students to their local watershed through the environmental education program, Trout in the Classroom (TIC). The STEAM Lab received 50 brook trout eggs from TIC and a representative brought in supplies and explained how the students should care for and feed the trout as they develop. Prior to receiving the eggs, students prepared a large tank in the STEAM Lab, making sure the water temperature was 50 degrees. Throughout the school year, students will monitor tank quality, study stream habitat, learn to understand ecosystems and appreciate water resources, and consider conservation. When the trout develop into fingerlings, they will be released into a state-approved stream near the school.

teaching students about local watershed

Fox Mill Elementary

On October 22nd, over 260 Fox Mill students, parents and teachers participated in Fox Mill’s 10th Annual walk to raise money for and bring awareness to the homeless in our area. The Fox Mill Community raised $4,555 for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter in Reston, Virginia.
In addition to raising funds for the homeless, the school community came together to raise awareness that there are homeless people living in the community. During the week prior to the walk, all students at Fox Mill were given age appropriate awareness lessons about what it means to be homeless and the Fox Mill Student Council officers visited the Embry Rucker Community Shelter and bought back their new knowledge to their classmates. Students who joined the Walk to End Homelessness wore specially designed T-shirts for the event. Fox Mill is indeed committed to helping end homelessness in the community.

Group participating in walk to End Homelessnessadults and children walking to end homelessness

Eco-Schools at Lemon Road ES, Clearview ES, and Lake Anne ES

Schools across Fairfax County are promoting environmental stewardship as part of the FCPS Get2Green program’s partnership with the National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools program. At Lemon Road ES, students participated in the Green Apple Day of Service in September 2014 to kick off their environmental stewardship program. Fourth and fifth graders worked with staff from the Fairfax County Park Authority and volunteers from Ernst and Young to replace invasive plants with native plants in their schoolyard and at a nearby Fairfax County park. Later in the fall, first graders did their part by collecting acorns to send to the Potomac Conservancy. The acorns will be planted along the Potomac watershed in an effort to grow oak trees and prevent erosion. Meanwhile, students in grades 4-6 are helping to raise trout. On a rotational basis, students check water temperature and pH balance, clean the tank, and feed the fish. Updates are shared on the morning news. Students are learning about the need for sustainable foods as well as protecting the bio-diversity in our native streams.

students with shovelsstudentsstudents working 

Students at Clearview ES and Lake Anne ES are busy observing wildlife as part of “Citizen Science” projects, in which ordinary citizens’ observations supply the data that scientists use to study wildlife, climate change, and more. Clearview ES students are observing wildlife in their atrium garden. The school is working toward certification of the garden by Audubon at Home, a program of the National Audubon Society, an organization which protects birds and other wildlife and their habitats. Students have provided a water and food source for animals and planted native plants in the garden, and now can observe and document species interacting with their environment in the atrium. Students at Lake Anne ES are participating in Bridging the Americas (Unidos por las Aves), a cross-cultural environmental education program that partners students in grades 2-8 in the United States with classes in Latin America and the Caribbean. The students learn and exchange information about the migratory birds that winter in Latin America and return to the U.S. and Canada each spring to breed.  In the pictures below, students are closely examining wildlife in the Clearview ES garden and preserved specimens of migratory birds at Lake Anne ES.

students in classstudents with tree 

Walk for the Homeless at Fox Mill ES and Mosby Woods ES

Students at many FCPS schools participate in Walk for the Homeless each fall. Most members of the homeless community are families and many work full time: close to 60 percent of homeless persons are in families, more than 75 percent of children in homeless families are under the age of 11, and nearly 60 percent of adults in homeless families work. Fox Mill ES students, teachers, and families participated in their ninth annual Walk for the Homeless on Friday, October 24. The Fox Mill PTA organized the walk on school grounds to benefit Cornerstones (formerly Reston Interfaith). Fox Mill students, below right, were provided with age-appropriate awareness lessons about what it means to be homeless, and Student Council officers visited the Embry Rucker Community Shelter and brought back information to share with their classmates. Students at Mosby Woods ES, below left, participated in their 11th annual Walk for the Homeless this year. Their fundraising efforts benefitted several area homeless shelters. As part of the event, selected student readers shared their poems and writings about the problems of being homeless.

students walkingwalk

 Halloween Service Projects at Canterbury Woods ES and Terra Centre ES

Girl Scout Troop 2732 from Canterbury Woods ES partnered with Dental Associates of Fairfax to collect Halloween candy to send to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to the women and men serving in the military overseas. The troop collected over 300 pounds of candy by asking students to donate their extra candy after Halloween, then sorted, boxed, and delivered it to the Dental Associates office which generously agreed to ship it to the Operation Gratitude collection facility in California.  Terra Centre ES also initiated a Halloween candy exchange program this year. Students had the opportunity to bring in their extra candy and in exchange receive a healthy goody bag that contained a pencil, book mark, stickers, and a cereal bar. The candy was shipped to Operation Gratitude as well as to Terra Centre parents who are currently on active military duty, local military units, and Fisher House, where military and veterans’ families stay at no cost while their family member is receiving treatment.

        kids with candyboxes of candy

Harvest Time! Centreville ES and Hollin Meadows ES

It’s fall, which means Harvest Time at many school gardens around the county. Fifth and sixth grade students at Centreville ES harvested over ten pounds of lettuce and two bags of other greens from their school’s garden to donate to the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter for homeless families. Check out the link to see more pictures of the students and their delicious produce.

gardening   students gardening

Head Start students at Hollin Meadows ES recently harvested 50 pounds of sweet potatoes from their school garden. Students learned about the different parts of the plant, what insects make their home in the garden, what a plant needs to grow, and how everyone in the Hollin Meadows community benefits from the school garden. There was a lot of excitement and “look what I found!” After harvesting the potatoes, the students weighed the potatoes to learn about measurement and comparison. The sweet potatoes will be roasted and shared with everyone at the school, so that they can learn to enjoy eating fresh, healthy vegetables. Coming up in November: lettuce, kale, and spinach.

young kids gardening   kid with potato

 Chalk4Peace at Waples Mill ES, Eagle View ES, and Forestdale ES

The mission of Chalk4Peace is to bring communities together to advocate for peace. Many schools hold a Chalk4Peace event in September and October as part of their celebration of the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2014. For example, over 100 3rd-6th graders participated in the event at Waples Mill ES on October 6, while at Eagle View ES, all 700 students participated during school from September 9-15, and at Forestdale ES, all grades participated on October 3. Over 100 Fairfax County public schools and SACC programs participate in the event, which supports character education and community service goals as well as the fine arts curriculum. Chalk4Peace encourages young people to start imagining, thinking, and talking about how they find peace in their lives and how they will be active participants in creating peace. Enjoy these pictures from participating students at Forestdale ES, Eagle View ES, and Waples Mill ES. You can also see a video that Forestdale made about last year’s event. To find out more about

Chalk4Peace, visit their website.

kid with parentchalkkids

group of students  kids with chalk

International Walk to School Day – Lake Anne ES, Hybla Valley ES, and Canterbury Woods ES

For the fourth year in a row, FCPS participated in International Walk to School Day on October 8, 2014. The day is celebrated as a way to promote physical activity while reducing traffic congestion and pollution. Students are encouraged to walk or bike to school or walk to their bus stops, and parents are encouraged to accompany their children to school and to work with their schools and PTAs or PTOs to gather in groups for the event. This year over 50 schools participated in the event. At Hybla Valley ES, many students already walk to school, so the school held several additional activities to help keep students safe during their walk. Younger students participated in an assembly with Otto the Auto (sponsored by the American Automobile Association) to learn about pedestrian safety, received a coloring page with pedestrian safety pictures, and completed a power walk around the school grounds. Older students received reflector stickers and learned safety terms with a Safe Routes to School word scramble challenge before their power walk. At Canterbury Woods ES, students who ride the bus were able to participate by getting dropped off a short distance from school so that they could walk the rest of the way. Check out the video to see the students in action. Lake Anne ES won the Reston area competition for having the highest percentage of students walking and biking to school – 54%! To support your school’s program, check out the FCPS Safe Routes to School website or contact Sally Smallwood, Safe Routes to School Coordinator.

kids biking  group of students 

Cherry Run ES

Nearly 20 5th grade girls from Girl Scout Troop 2664 worked together with preschool students at their school to learn about healthy eating. As part of a unit on “things that grow,” the preschool students harvested tomatoes from their garden, put them through a tomato press and added herbs to make pizza sauce. They grated cheese, made dough from scratch, and invited their parents to join them for pizza. The Girl Scouts watered the plants during the summer, read the children an ABC Vegetable Book they created, and sang a song they wrote called "T-T-T-Tomatoes!" The troop received a jar of the preschool students’ homemade pizza sauce in thanks for their efforts.

class   kid with tomatoes

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Service Learning Ideas

  • School wide "green" activities such as resource conservation and recycling
  • School or neighborhood cleanups
  • Food, clothing, book, bicycle, or toy drives
  • Peer tutoring
  • Peer mediation
  • Holiday greetings for the elderly or cards for hospital patients
  • Support for military service members and their families


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Mallory Joiner
Service Learning Resource Teacher

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Last Updated

November 16, 2015