Our communities depend on individuals that believe in public service. How can we inspire and nurture public service with elementary students?
First, have a discussion about the meaning of public service.
- Discuss different ways that public employees help the community.
- Brainstorm services provided by public servants. (firefighters, lawmakers, military personnel, postal delivery, teachers, and many more)
- Ask about the characteristics of a strong public servant.
- Discuss ways that students could make a difference in their world.
Then, learn about public servants from yesterday and today. History is FULL of examples of public servants. Mind Missions provides dozens of lessons that illustrate wonderful examples of public servants. Just a few include Murphy’s Medals, Marshall’s Mallet, Lincoln’s Legacy, and Soup Saver. History texts are also rich with lessons about those who have served for the greater good.
As a culminating activity, plan a Public Service learning project. A few ideas include:
- Create a PSA (public service announcements) as a group project that highlights the work of a public works organization
- Honor community public servants by writing thank you notes
- Create a class project that serves your school or local community
- Research public servants in pairs and present your information to the class in a variety of ways (gallery walk of posters or collages, museum exhibit, brochure, newscasts, scrapbook page)
- More lessons and ideas can be found here: http://publicservicerecognitionweek.org/celebration_toolkit/PSRW14_guide_teacher.pdf
We need students to embrace the tradition of public service. Expose them to the many stories and ways that they can serve!