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Service Learning

Solving real-world problems

The education provided at Chicago City Day School connects students to the real world in a dramatic way. There's no clearer example of that than our service learning program.

Every year, students in grades 4 and up spend time along the Chicago River and in Cook County forest preserves to study and improve the environment.

  • Students cut down buckthorn shrubs and trees, invasive plants that take over wooded areas and make them inhospitable for native wildlife.
  • They collect seeds from beneficial plants and spread them throughout local prairies, helping to keep nonnative plants from taking hold.
  • Students measure the quality of the Chicago River, observing how water quality affects the plants and animals that live in the river.
  • Our eighth-graders track data from their river studies throughout the fall. In late winter, the students present their findings at the annual Friends of the Chicago River Student Congress. The audience includes peers, parents, teachers, and environmental professionals.
  • A companion piece to our service learning efforts is our annual research expedition in Bimini, which you can read about here

All of these activities align closely with the topics and issues explored in our science curriculum. Our service learning program helps bring classroom studies to life, enriching what students learn in school, and give them a sense of the role they can play in changing the world. 

City Students pull beneficial seeds from plants at Miami Woods
Two City Day students pull seeds from prairie plants
City Day students sawing down buckthorn trees near the Chicago River
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City Day student displays the wildlife found living in the Chicago River
City Day eighth-graders present research at the Friends of the Chicago River Student Congress

The service learning program at City Day introduces students to complex concepts and issues in a real-world setting. The service performed at the Chicago River fosters a sense of civic engagement and personal responsibility. Mr. McFeely City Day teacher