Handmade jewelry, bath soaps, glassware, paperweights, magnets – you name it – the kids at Devon Gardens Elementary made it.
Three classes of students in Grades 3 to 5, 72 in all embraced the entrepreneurial spirit recently, not only as a learning tool, but also to help out local charities.
Earlier in the school year, teachers Vanessa Ko, Janice Willcox and Ashlee Coolen were looking at ways to work together in a collaborative manner that would engage their students in hands-on, project-based learning.
They decided that the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs program would be the perfect fit.
“This program has integrated curricular strands from math, social studies, language arts, and health and career education,” said Coolen, a Grade 5 French Immersion teacher. “Over the past two months, students in Grades 3 to 5 have developed the tools needed to start their own business. Throughout the process, we have seen improved student engagement as students have taken ownership of their learning.”
The PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs program brought business and career skills into the elementary classroom. Through games and fun activities students created a working business plan and learned how to design their own products, conduct market research, set prices and create marketing materials.
“It’s all new concepts for the students, but what they’re learning applies for life and they are really enjoying it,” said Ko, a Grade 3/4 French Immersion teacher.
The culmination of the program was an entrepreneur fair.
“You can have so much fun just selling stuff,” said Nadeef, a Grade 5 student who was selling his straw artwork. “It’s fun when everyone comes to your station and you get to show it off.”
The students raised money for charity as well as themselves. Two of the classes decided to raise money for BC Children’s Hospital and one class choose to support the Delta Humane Society and BC SPCA.
Ten per cent of all proceeds went going towards these charities.
“It was really fun and my goal is to donate as much as I can to the SPCA,” said Tianna, a Grade 4 student who sold handmade etched glassware.
“Teaching the students about the power of giving and being a socially responsible citizen is really important, and what better way than having them actually take on charitable fundraising for causes they themselves chose to support,” said Willcox, a Grade 4/5 teacher.