Community and Service Learning
Connecting and Serving
Princeton Junior School is a diverse community made up of parents, students and faculty with a variety of passions, interests and cultures that together create a connected community that supports our school as well as our local and global communities.
At PJS we build and cultivate a sense of community through shared experiences across grades:
All School Gatherings
Each week, students from our Early Childhood Program through grade 5 attend All School Gatherings. Assemblies may include presentations led by groups of students as a way of sharing units of study. For example, fourth graders exploring a unit of inquiry on the interconnectedness of human body systems organized a health conference and created exhibits and presentations to educate students and parents. Each trimester, the school hosts a PJS Open Mic and invites individuals or small groups of students to share their talents and passions with the school community. Performances have included stilt walking, juggling, magic tricks, gymnastics, dance, martial arts demonstrations, and vocal and instrumental music.
Family Style Lunches
K-5 students eat at mixed age lunch tables in the Commons. Fifth graders are responsible for setting up tables and guiding younger students in clean up. Lunchtime provides opportunities for developing conversation skills, table manners, and mutual respect. Teacher and student table assignments change each trimester, so children are able to develop a variety of friendships across grade levels.
PJS Young Scholars Series
The PJS Young Scholars Series is a STEAM lecture series designed for PJS students and their parents. Local professionals from various fields are invited to present relevant topics that inspire and enlighten our families. Gaining broader scientific knowledge allows students to better understand the world around them and sow the seeds for critical thinking. Lectures are designed for students and allow time for questions and discussion. Past topics have included: Removing the Mystery of Lyme Disease, Global Warming in Antarctica, and Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Fireside Chats are informal discussions around relevant topics that are of interest to PJS parents. Themes of past Fireside Chats have included: Parenting New Frontiers in the 21st Century, Navigating Technology with Our Students, Homework, Preparing Students (and Parents) Through the Grades at PJS, Unpacking the IB Program & Curriculum at PJS, Math & Literacy at PJS, Assessments & Benchmarks in the PJS Curriculum, PJS Core Values, Building Positive Literacy Habits at Home, and Benefits of a Mixed-Age Classroom.
PJS Parents’ Association and School Activities and Events
Each year, our Parents’ Association hosts all-school events like the Back-to-school picnic, the May Fair, and the annual fall Bonfire. These favorite community events, among others, help us connect with each other in meaningful and fun ways.
Learning through Serving
Our grade level units of inquiry provide meaningful, relevant and age appropriate opportunities for student action and reflection. For example, during an inquiry into the transdisciplinary theme ‘How we organize ourselves’, second and third grade entrepreneurs turned the PJS Commons into a marketplace offering a variety of handmade products and services that included jewelry depicting endangered animals of New Jersey, specialty paper airplanes, and healthy smoothies. The $500 raised at the PJS Marketplace was sent to Heifer International to purchase livestock and training for a family farm in a developing country.
The PJS Glitter Lemonade Club
PJS students in grades 3-5 are members of the Glitter Lemonade Club. The Glitter Lemonade mission is as follows:
Glitter Lemonade is a non-profit foundation sponsoring altruistic efforts by children, that benefit charities and champion causes in the spirit of goodwill; each effort is an exercise in civic virtue. Our philosophy is simple and purposeful: integrate philanthropy into early childhood, so a connection will be made between community service and self enrichment during the developmental years. You can find more information about the GL Club on the PJS website at: http://www.princetonjuniorschool.org/our-partners/.
Each year, the PJS Glitter Lemonade Club, comprised of students in grade 3-5, creates a booth at the fall Hopewell Harvest Fair and the spring Princeton Communiversity event. These interactive make-your-own Glitter Lemonade Stands are highlights of the year for our student members. Volunteering at the booth and educating the public about their cause is a memorable and valuable experience and source of pride.
In past years, the PJS Glitter Lemonade Club has created the following campaigns:
PJS GLC members raised money and shopped for books and toys at our annual book fair to support students at LaVallette Elementary School who had lost all their belongings during Hurricane Sandy (link to news article)
Students chose to raise awareness about the water crisis and contribute to the construction of a freshwater well in a developing country through the international organization,Charity:Water http://www.glitterlemonade.com/fundraiser/pjs/charitywater To read about the completion of the well in Mozambique, click here.
Students planned an annual Valentine’s Day Love and Friendship breakfast and sing along for preschoolers from Homefront’s Cherry Tree Club
The most recent campaign PJS Glitter Lemonade Club campaign is in support of the citizens of the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by Hurricane Irma. In order to support those left without food and shelter, our students decided that instead of donating to a larger organization, such as the Red Cross, they would like the proceeds of their stand to go to a local community organization with the ability to funnel the funds directly to a school in need. The St. John Community Foundation will direct our donation to an elementary school within the St. Thomas/St. John school district. SJCF was founded after the devastation that Hurricane Hugo inflicted on the island in 1989. To learn more, you can visit their website at thestjohnfoundation.org.