Integrating Intergenerational Service-Learning into the Family Science Curriculum

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Schools can be instalments of social change when they adopt a curriculum that intimately joins didactic instruction and experiential learning, otherwise known as service-learning (Boyer, 1997; Bringle & Kremer, 1993; Myers-Lipton, 1996). As a type of “scholarship of engagement” (Boyer, 1997), service-learning is a methodology which enables family educators to incorporate community service opportunities into established family science curriculum. Having received support from an intergenerational service-learning grant from the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) and the University of Pittsburgh's Generation's Together (GT), we will describe the way in which service-learning was integrated into an existing aging course. This class helps our students to meet the human development content area requirement for the National Council on Family Relation's (NCFR) Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program. More specifically, we will provide a description of the Elder Service Partnership Project, delineate the educational objectives of the experience, and offer a critique of the partnership based on feedback provided by both undergraduates and elders. Benefits of the experience to both students and elders will be highlighted, as well as suggestions for improving the overall experience.


Hamon, R. R., & Way, C. E. (2001). Integrating intergenerational service-learning into the family science curriculum. Journal of Teaching in Marriage & Family, 1(3), 65–83. https://doi.org/10.1300/J226v01n03_05