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Service Learning

At St. James’, students learn that taking care of others and the environment is an essential, meaningful, and beautiful part of life. The school’s comprehensive Service Learning program encourages students to develop a lasting consciousness of the needs of people and communities around them, and to serve these needs in all the ways that they can.

The Service Learning program at St. James’ creates global citizens who actively seek out ways to serve their community. With varying activities across all grade levels, each student has many opportunities to explore and experience taking part in social and environmental issues affecting the lives of the poor, the sick, the young, and all creatures great and small. Through their experience of service learning, our students develop a sense of compassion and caring that illuminates our school-wide commitment to respecting all of God’s creation. We believe that the resolute devotion to community outreach and service learning, cultivated in childhood and combined with a deepening acknowledgement of our responsibility to care for the creatures of the Earth, will inspire the graduates of St. James’ Episcopal School to serve others all the days of their lives.

The program’s curriculum includes numerous service learning projects integrated with reflective reading and discussion in the classroom. The progression of curriculum across grade levels is designed to give students a wide variety of experiences in service learning and a well rounded understanding of the needs they encounter in the world.

By Grade Level


Kindergarteners are initiated into service learning with a reading of The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, and a follow-up discussion about how one person can make a positive difference in the world. Some highlights of the Kindergarten curriculum include visiting a firehouse, making cards for soup kitchen patrons, and hosting a clothing drive.

1st Grade

1st-graders begin their year of service learning by identifying specific areas of need (such as hunger and homelessness) in the community, reasons why these needs arise, and ways to meet these needs. Students also read the book Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and count food pantry donations.

2nd Grade

The 2nd-grade curriculum is devoted to service to the elderly. Through reading One Smile by Cindy McKinley and hosting holiday festivities at St. James’ Manor, among other activities, 2nd-graders learn how to connect with seniors in the community and why it is important to do so.

3rd Grade

3rd-grade service learning centers on caring for animals. Students in 3rd grade discuss reasons for animal homelessness and how to address it; they then follow through by planning and completing an animal service project to share with the Pasadena Humane Society.

4th Grade

Having experienced the needs those off-campus in earlier grades, 4th-graders devote their year to promoting literacy at St. James’ Preschool. The 4th-grade curriculum emphasizes peer role-modeling and includes numerous “reading visits,” during which 4th-graders travel to the preschool to read aloud to its students.

5th Grade

5th-graders take their service learning to the next level as they learn about and participate in activism. Grounded in discussions of the origins and impact of global health concerns, the 5th-grade service learning curriculum includes the annual AIDS Walk on World AIDS Day and finishes with a birthday-bagging project for Project Angel Food.

6th Grade

Drawing on their many experiences in service learning from previous years, 6th-graders create and implement their own service projects. Under the guidance of program facilitators and teachers, each student identifies a specific need in the community that resonates with him or her and then designs a project targeting this need. Additionally, all 6th-graders participate in several soup kitchen visits per trimester.