IES University Prep


We are a group of experienced service-learning educators, curriculum developers and consultants who believe that integrating service learning through conceptual inquiry in schools around the world, young people will develop the skills necessary to be agents of change in the global community.

Our Aim

Is to educate, collaborate with and support the integration of service learning in schools and communities around the world for effective and measured impacts.

Why Service Learning?
  • Provides opportunities for young people to develop the transdisciplinary skills and dispositions necessary for facing the future
  • Facilitates a deeper awareness and understanding of global issues and concepts
  • Promotes student-initiated action rooted in inquiry and knowledge
  • Fosters empathy, intercultural understanding, and intrinsic motivation to make a difference
What do we offer?
  • Tailored consultation strategy to meet the needs of your organization
  • Curriculum for Service-Learning, backwards designed conceptual inquiry units, assessments, resources, lesson plans
  • Training on research-based best practices in service learning for leaders, coordinators, teachers, parents, students, and partners
  • Creative Common resources developed by passionate and teachers, designed to support program and curriculum development.

Tara (Merks) Barton

Tara Barton developed a passion for service learning on her first visit to South Africa as part of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) Creativity, Activity, Action (CAS) program in 2002. The experience inspired her passion to develop sustainable and meaningful service learning in schools around the world. Tara is the Director of and provides educational consulting, professional development workshops, coaching, and resources to support schools. The Serve Learn curriculum (K-12 units, assessments, lesson plans, and resources) has been adopted by several schools around the world for meaningful service learning in schools for impact.

Tara is the Association of International Schools of Africa (AISA) Service Learning Programme Coordinator for the region. She has presented many workshops around the world for educators, leaders, partners, parents, and students.

Beyond her Bachelor of Education, Tara has a Masters in Educational Leadership (Lehigh, USA) and her Principals Training Certificate (PTC). She is an Understanding by Design (UbD) Trainer and has a Coaching Certification (Maddison Wisconsin, USA). Tara’s home is Australia, she has worked as an educational thought leader internationally for 18 years, and lived in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and is currently based in Melbourne Australia.

Our Courses


“The course provided me with the momentum, insight and resources I needed to take action on incorporating Service Learning not only into my own courses, but schoolwide. The instructors are very knowledgeable and eager to help. They pushed my thinking and posed great questions to consider as I continue this journey. I walked away with a wealth of ideas, resources and created a full Service Learning unit that’s ready to be implemented in the fall! All in all, it was a very worthwhile 5-days if you are trying to improve your personal teaching practice and improve your school’s capacity to deliver a 21st-century educational program.” 

Katherine Chwasciak
IB MYP Service as Action Coordinator
Stamford American International School Singapore 

Tara Barton’s work designing, implementing and evaluating Service Learning programming in international schools is exemplary. She has a deep understanding of the core Service Learning principles required by international schools, the theoretical framework that reinforces these, and the adult learning strategies that enable educators to embed Service Learning within their teaching practice. Any school or organization looking to establish a robust and authentic Service Learning programme should certainly be talking to Tara and her colleagues at Serve Learn Educational Consulting. 

Dr Peter Bateman
Executive Director
Association of International School in Africa (AISA) 

“The facilitators were AMAZING! They had such a wealth of knowledge and their passion for service learning and sustainability education was infectious. I got to a stage where I was looking forward to the online meetings. The feedback in our workbooks was relevant, affirming and timely! This was the first course I have done through the Serve Learn learning institute, and I hope it won’t be the last. The facilitators were engaging, encouraged discussion and shared practical advice and wisdom! The online components were comprehensively supported by the learning platform. I found the platform easy to navigate and it helped me keep track of my asynchronous learning. It provided great flexibility to work around other commitments also.” 

Brett Grealy
Teacher Leader
MacKillop Catholic College Queensland 

“The combination of service learning with sustainability at this institute has allowed me to design integrated curriculum through different lenses and with a number of helpful tools. The facilitators provided excellent learning opportunities through synchronous meetings and required readings with exemplar videos. The primary focus was to learn and apply in your context, with great support in peer discussions, and in-depth personalized feedback from the facilitators.” 

Ian Slate
ELA HOD / SDG Coordinator
Tsignhua University High School International 

“This course was a great way to introduce Service Learning and Sustainability to newcomers who are looking to get something going in their schools. The suggestions for implementation were realistic and manageable for someone new to the role. Good resources were supplied, and participants were told how and where to find further resources.” 

Kelly Scotti
Curriculum Developer
New Nordic School 

“Tara was very responsive to questions and provided plenty of personalized feedback. Thank you! I am very grateful to Tara for creating such a nice atmosphere during the online learning, she was resourceful and is insightful.” 

Asel Satybaldiev
College Councilor
Paragon International School Cambodia 

“This workshop was an amazing use of my time! It provided me with insight on how to implement Service-Learning and adopt that ideology. I enjoyed the mix between synchronous and asynchronous communication. It was also very exciting to meet colleagues from all over the world Literally. The Service Learning and Sustainability workshop is intense (2 online meetings per day), contributing to a workbook and sharing thoughts and ideas on the academy forum, but that is how we learn. All these interactions and collaborations left me inspired and fired to do more at my school. Many take away tools & ideas including the different approaches of service-learning, Interconnected SDGs, Backward design, and many more concepts. I appreciated the follow-up & encouragement. Thank you, Tara.  The online meetings were fun and friendly since we were all meeting virtually in our living rooms, kitchens, etc,. I highly recommend taking this workshop to any teacher, CAS Coordinators, Principals, basically any passionate educator and definitely to Service-Learning Coordinators. Thank you!” 

Ereeny Gawdat
Service Learning and CAS Coordinator
Cairo American College 

“The Serve Learn Institute really got me excited to try many of the things I learned in the course into my practice. I am seeing service learning in a new light and I can’t wait to implement!” 

Kevin Nielsen
CAS Coordinator Social Studies HOD
International Schools Group – Jubail 


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