Community & Service Learning

MKA’s numerous, age-appropriate service-learning opportunities enable students to put their ethical understandings into action by helping others. From working in a food bank to assisting teachers in a Head Start classroom, students are encouraged to reflect on what these activities can teach them about themselves and their world, consider what strengths they can share with others and identify the need for service locally and globally Working with partner organizations, service-learning coordinators at each campus, together with other faculty and parent representatives, provide necessary support and guidance for service initiatives undertaken by grades, advisor groups, teams and clubs. At the Primary and Middle School levels, each grade has its own service-learning project.

Primary School

The Primary School introduces children to the joys of giving and the responsibility we share in helping members of our immediate, as well as our global community. Curricular engagement ranges from reading appropriate empathic literature to participation in classroom activities designed to empower students to affect caring actions and change.

The Primary School has a partnership with Toni’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen in our neighborhood. Students walk to Toni’s to do service on multiple occasions during their Primary School years. As part of the Pre-K and 3rd Grade Buddies curriculum, students donate farm produce they have picked themselves to Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair. Kindergarten students deliver children’s scarves, gloves, and hats to Toni’s in time for the winter holidays. Second grade classes, in conjunction with their Town Study, walk to Toni’s to pack backpacks with food for the backpack outreach program.

Each year, the third graders perform a bell concert at Senior Care during the winter holidays. They enjoy playing games and making art with the seniors. The third grade culminating social studies unit, Agents of Change, provides third grade students the opportunity to become activists for a cause about which they are passionate.

All Primary School students participate in an all-school service project as part of the bi-annual Thanksgiving Share.


Throughout the grades, a curricular foundation is provided by the Primary School faculty to support the work of the PAMKA Community Outreach representatives in the execution of outreach projects, such as the annual Food Drive and Giving Tree. All service-learning curriculum is designed to lend authenticity and meaning to actions taken by Brookside's Caring Cougars.

Middle School

Service learning is a significant part of the lives and education of all Middle School students. Through the advisory program, students develop their awareness of the world and the role they can play in fostering positive change through service. Each grade level participates in a service-learning project. Fourth-grade students coordinate and carry out the Middle School’s recycling efforts by recycling paper for the building. Fifth-grade students share homemade gifts and their diverse talents with residents of the Montclair Inn, a nearby home for seniors.

In grade 6, students vote to select a community need or problem that will be their focus through grade 8. They do research and listen to speakers, who help them to better understand the issues involved, and they design projects to raise materials, funds and awareness in support of related charities. This culminates with eighth graders planning and organizing the annual M5KA run/walk for their chosen cause.

In addition to their service by grade level, Middle School students participate in school-wide service projects, such as the Thanksgiving food drive and the faculty-student charity basketball game. Some also choose to take part in student-led service clubs.

Upper School

At the Upper School, students are involved in myriad community service projects. From playing with autistic high school students and tutoring elementary students to organizing benefit concerts, assisting at the food bank and donating to various causes, students assume responsibility for initiating, supporting and furthering community service. Students can also join —and run—an after-school Community Service Initiative (CSI) that is meaningful to them. CSI activities range from working on Habitat for Humanity building projects to serving at Toni's Kitchen to cleaning up New Jersey beaches. In addition, service trips such as those to Montana and Guatemala allow interested students to volunteer their time and skills.


During a fall service day, students in grade 9  and 10 assist various local nonprofits. Additionally, students in grades 11 and 12 participate in a formal community service program; they are required to complete and log a minimum of 10 hours of service to nonprofit organizations annually.

Community Service Initiatives

MKA’s voluntary service program recognizes student achievements above and beyond required service hours. Students who successfully complete more than 100 hours of service are nominated for a Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

  • ABC Club
  • Animal Rescue
  • Book Mobile
  • Diabetes Awareness
  • FAAN (Food Allergies & Anaphylaxis Network)
  • Friends of CTC
  • Global 20/20
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Healing Spaces
  • Helping Through Harmony
  • Love 146
  • Midnight Run at MKA
  • Red Cross
  • Smiles Make Miracles
  • Womens Issues