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Institute on Community Integration Releases Elementary-Age Inclusive Service Learning Curriculum

Together We Make a Difference: An Inclusive Service Learning Curriculum for Elementary Learners With and Without Disabilities is an innovative curriculum providing educators and youth workers with a new tool for engaging all elementary-age learners in service learning.

Its research-based activities guide instructors in helping children with and without disabilities become partners in planning and carrying out service learning projects, while teaching social and life skills to children of all abilities, meeting education standards in a variety of academic areas, and challenging stereotypes about young people with disabilities. The 360-page, 3-ring binder includes an overview of quality service learning, detailed lesson plans, strategies for including all learners in the service learning project (including adaptation and accommodation ideas, and guidance in aligning lessons with IEP goals and objectives), and master copies of handouts. In addition, national standards in English, social studies, and 21st century skills are infused into the curriculum. The lessons are designed to be implemented at least once a week over a 6- to 8-week period, and cover the following topics:

Lesson 1: Getting to Know Everybody, Getting to Know Service Learning
Lesson 2: Increasing Awareness of Our Abilities, Commonalities, and Diversity
Lesson 3: How I Make a Difference
Lesson 4: Learning About Our Community and Picking a Service Learning Project
Lesson 5: Developing Our Plan
Lesson 6: Starting Our Project and Pausing Along the Way
Lesson 7: Reviewing, Sharing, and Celebrating

The curriculum package also includes the storybook, "Our Friend Mikayla," and access to online resources to supplement the manual. "Together We Make a Difference" was developed by a partnership of the Institute on Community Integration, and the National Inclusion Project, an organization working to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them, and create awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring.

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