Service as Action in IB programmes

IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

IB World Schools value service with others as an important way to engage in principled action across a range of overlapping local and global communities. Through responsible action, tightly connected with sustained inquiry and critical reflection, young people and adults can develop the kinds of attributes described by the learner profile that are essential for success in future academic pursuits and for adult life.

The MYP aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self and their developmentally appropriate responsibility in their community.

As students become more aware and acquire a better understanding of the context, and of their responsibilities, they become empowered to make choices about how to take thoughtful and positive action. This action will be different from student to student and from context to context.

The action may involve students in:

  • feeling empathy towards others,
  • making small-scale changes to their behaviour,
  • undertaking larger and more significant projects,
  • acting on their own,
  • acting collaboratively,
  • taking physical action,
  • suggesting modifications to an existing system to the benefit of all involved and
  • lobbying people in more influential positions to act.


With appropriate guidance and support, MYP students should, through their engagement with service as action:

  • become more aware of their own strengths and areas for growth,
  • undertake challenges that develop new skills,
  • discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities,
  • persevere in action,
  • work collaboratively with others,
  • develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding and
  • Consider the ethical implications of their actions.

These learning outcomes identify the substance of students’ self-reflection on service as action. All of these learning outcomes are closely associated with the IB learner profile attributes and ATL skills. Through their participation in service, students can become more confident, self-regulated learners.



Service experiences are opportunities for students to engage in action. Students have a choice from the following 3 options:

  • Single learning event: This is a service you provide to others just once and is not ongoing. You must complete 3 per term. 
  • Series of related learning experiences: This is a service you provide over a short period of time. E.g. over a 3-week period. You must complete 2 per term. 
  • An extended project: This is a service you provide over a long period of time. E.g. 3 weeks or more. You must complete 1 per term.



Single learning event:  This is a service you provide to others just once and is not ongoing. You must complete 3 per term.

  • Participate in organised events. E.g. tree planting day, clean up Australia Day etc.
  • Collect and donate old clothes or household goods to charity.
  • Collect and donate to student organised charity events within the school.
  • Collect and donate toys to the Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Offer to look after you elderly neighbour’s garden.

Series of related learning experiences: This is a service you provide over a short period of time. E.g. over a 3 week period. You must complete 2 per term.

  • Become a mentor to a younger student.
  • Coach a sport
  • Visit a retirement home and spend time with the elderly, reading or talking with them.

An extended project: This is a service you provide over a long period of time. E.g. 3 weeks or more. You must complete 1 per term.

  • Plan, organise and run a charity event.
  • Regularly visit someone in your local community who is socially isolated.
  • Regularly assist a child with a disability.
  • Become a regular volunteer at your local charity organisation.

The following sites will assist you with more ideas for possible service activities.




  • Activities for children with educational difficulties
  • Art activities (for example, cartoon drawing, ceramics, design, drawing, graphics, jewellery, painting, sculpture, silk screen, textile design)
  • Art centre service for local community


  • Beach cleaning services
  • Befriending people with handicaps or the elderly


  • Clothes collection
  • Coaching of various sports
  • Clean up Australia Day
  • Computer services
  • Connections (to encourage high school students to understand the world as an international community)
  • Crèche assistance
  • Cross – age tutoring
  • Cancer foundation


  • Day care centre assistance for the elderly
  • Drama activities
  • Decorating for the elderly and handicapped


  • Environmental action group
  • Emergency room assistance at hospital
  • Environmental monitoring unit


  • First aid training
  • Food bank; food made available for local people in need
  • Foreign language tutoring (e.g. ESL)
  • Fundraising for various charities


  • Gardening in old people’s homes
  • Good Friday Appeal(Royal Children's Hospital)


  • Handicapped sports program
  • Hospital assistance and/or visiting
  • Human Appeal International


  • Information bureau at school; dealing with travel, sports, studies, exams, publicity and problems.
  • Institution for mentally handicapped assistance


  • Knitting for people in need



  • Laboratory assistance
  • Library assistance
  • Local service – working with the poor and disadvantaged
  • Local community television service
  • Local newspaper
  • Lunch time supervision – volunteer


  • Monitoring service at school
  • Museum volunteer work



  • Nature reserve
  • Newspaper



  • Old people’s home assistance
  • Orphanage assistance
  • Orphanage trips


  • Participation in local health programs
  • Photography
  • Physical education (e.g. aerobics, athletics, basketball, cross – country running, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball)
  • Pink ribbon day (Anti Cancer Council)
  • Post - operative program for children
  • Primary school assistance


  • Reading, storytelling to young children
  • Reforestation project
  • Recording project
  • Red Cross volunteers
  • Recycling paper collection
  • Refugee assistance
  • Riding for the disabled


  • Salvation Army participation
  • Schools for the blind assistance
  • Scouts
  • Science week
  • Secretarial support for charitable organisations
  • Self – defence for women course
  • Sports assistance in local schools
  • Student council
  • Sunday school teaching
  • Supervision of small children on buses


  • Video making
  • Visiting families with handicapped children


  • Whole world week
  • World service news: editing and broadcasting


  • Year book
  • Youth club


  • Zoo