Fifteen years ago, Gardner students participated in a school-wide economics study. The unit culminated with a student-run market for children to apply their learning. The event was such a success, it became an annual tradition. Students become entrepreneurs for a day and help raise money for local charities that have included Bridge the Gap, Share, Southwest Washington Humane Society, Mercy Corp and Heifer International.
Each child, from first through eighth grade, is asked to make a decision about whether he or she will provide a service, design a homemade ware to sell, or create a food item to sell (food items will be limited to 25% of the booths this year. Students who are interested in selling a food or beverage item must participate in a lottery, which will be held May 4th. Food and beverage items should be made from scratch – no box brownies or canned lemonade please.) Students submit a business plan that outlines what they intend to offer and if they will be selling with a partner. Students will complete the preparations for their market booth at home.
Kalama students will work with their class to plan and prepare for their participation in the market. You will hear about this project from Miss Rose. TumTum and Mazama families are encouraged to attend! Many people make a merry market!
A major focus of the project is guiding the students into the role of donating to charity. The students decide in advance if they are going to give half or all their earnings to a chosen charitable organization. If the student needs to pay for the expenses of their project, the money may only come from half of their gross. The selection of the yearly charity(ies) is made through a process that includes that the students and staff. Over the next couple of weeks, the school community will submit suggestions, from which a list of options will be presented for voting. This process will include discussion about what each charity does and the effective use of donated monies by each group. The students and staff will vote and the result will be announced next Friday. Last year, The Gardner School selected WHITE HELMETS and HARPER’S PLAYGROUND as the recipients of the proceeds from the market, which totaled $1860.00!
On Market day, the outside picnic area will be transformed into a series of booths that are student-operated. This year each child may bring up to $15.00 to spend at the Market, and family and friends are invited to come and shop, without a limit on their spending. Ideally, children bring their spending money in the form of dollar bills and coins in a labeled wallet. The products are created and sold by the children; parents are invited to take on a supportive role, but not a primary role! One aspect of the learning is the students must balance the need to open for business and the desire to close and shop; students often choose to work in partnerships to solve this problem. Each booth needs an open/closed sign, as well as a sign displaying the type of product or service provided and the cost – all created by the student at home and are due to school on Thursday, May 31st. Students also have the option of advertising for their booth one week prior to Market day. Often children make posters or flyers to hang on walls. Some entrepreneurs create coupons to hand out ahead of time and once a student wore a sandwich board during recess!
Setup happens during lunch recess on the day of the market. At 12:45, we begin with a meeting for students and guests. This initial meeting allows each child an opportunity to announce what his or her business is selling and the location of their booth. Students are allowed to adjust prices if necessary or to take orders if they have sold out. At the end of the Market, the teachers collect all money. The money is counted in classrooms the following week and the total dollars collected for donation are announced to the community.
This year the Gardner School Market will be held on Friday, June 1st from 12:45 to 3:30pm. Your child’s homeroom teacher will send home a business plan to be completed and returned to school by Friday, May 4th. The food lottery will be held that morning and students will be notified with the results by lunchtime.
Looking forward to seeing you all join in this very special event!
The Gardner School Faculty