Börn hafa rödd, lífið er núna
Sjálfboðastarf í skólastarfi

The purpose of this research is to focus on the importance of volunteer projects as a part of the primary education, for the students on the one hand, and for the school as a whole on the other. Attention was given to the vision of the school leadership as well as that of the teachers, and the significance such projects have for the whole school, including its culture and education.
Emphasis was laid on finding out whether student participation supported the main subjects in the primary school curriculum. The students´ views on participating in voluntary projects was looked into, including how they valued their own participation. 
Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used in the attempt to elicit various kinds of information in order to view the subject from different angles. Information was accumulated about two big volunteer projects, i.e. Gott mál (The good Cause) in Hagaskóli and Góðgerðardagur Kársnesskóla (Kársnesskóli Charity Day). The importance of the projects was looked into, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Two focal groups were formed among the students in both schools. The students and leaders of the schools were interviewed in semi-structured interviews. In addition, the teachers in Hagaskóli answered a questionnaire about their view of the project Gott mál


The main conclusions indicate that the school community considers the projects good tools in strengthening student participation in the community, and that they serve as a way of achieving the basic educational objectives regarding reading competences, sustainability, creativity, democracy and human rigths, health and welfare. Both headmasters and teachers believe that the projects affect the schools in a culturally beneficial way, and that the results are an overall gain for both students and schools. They belive that the main strenghts of the projects were the amount of care the projects required from everyone personally, the solitarity that emerged, as well as the cooperation of the many parties working together.
The results also showed that the students were grateful for the opportunity of participating in the projects, the ability to have a real impact on society, as well as doing something good for others. They viewed it as their right to have an opportunity to participate in these types of community projects, and thought such projects should be done on a regular basis as a part of school. The values the students felt especially connected to were: Gratitude, helpfulness, solidarity, pride, enhanced self-confidence and faith in their own abilities. The recurring themes in the interviews were the joy of participation, rewarding cooperation and the great joint strength of the school community.
Guðný Jónsdóttir
gj [at] mmedia.is
Instructor: Ragný Þóra Guðjohnsen