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Grade 8: Service Learning Projects

This month, Grade 8 students visited three service sites as a part of Graland’s Service Learning Program. Student groups were able to choose whether they spent time at either The St. Francis Center, Denver Urban Gardens, or Bluff Lake Nature Center to serve and learn more about the Denver community. “We want to connect their service learning to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is part of their capstone project as well,” said Señora Christi James, liaison for the Grade 8 Service Learning Projects. “We try to tie it to the more global goals of what the world needs and how we can participate authentically.” 
Students who visited The St. Francis Center spent a day touring a safe outdoor space for unhoused community members and played a version of “The Game of Life,” in which they were given some real-life scenarios of people experiencing homelessness and were challenged to find solutions. When they returned to Graland, the students made 120 meals for the individuals living in that safe outdoor community. “We also connected this activity to the fifth grade, because they have been growing leafy greens in their Tower Gardens,” Señora James said. “So the fifth graders made salads with their greens and put them with the lunches that the eighth graders had made.”

With the Denver Urban Gardens, Grade 8 students spent a day at a local community garden. “Students learned about what the Denver Urban Gardens does and how bringing people together to grow food helps with food insecurity and broader community wellness,” Señora James said. Students were able to work alongside those who attend to the garden and get the soil ready for the families that will use it in the summer. 

The third group spent time at Bluff Lake Nature Center, a non-profit agency that stewards an urban wildlife refuge in Denver. The eighth graders were able to enjoy a self-guided tour around the area and help plant seeds, while also learning about different native grasses and invasive species. “They were able to talk about how wildlife and humans co-exist,” Señora James said. 

These service learning experiences help Grade 8 students look at the world through multiple lenses: self-reflection, observation, and contextual understanding. Through each of these activities, the eighth graders were introduced to a different aspect of life in Denver and how they can contribute meaningfully and with empathy to their community. Great work, Grade 8! 
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.