Not Quite Business as Usual at S. Mtn. School
Students start toy store as part of enrichment program.
As part of the Language Arts Enrichment program offered at all elementary schools in the South Orange - Maplewood School District (SOMSD), an exciting new unit has been introduced to the fifth grade titled, Understanding the Marketplace. The unit offers students the opportunity to take on the role of an employee at their own created toy company.
Each South Mountain Elementary School fifth grade class learned firsthand, how to run a business. They began from the ground up, developing a floor plan, name, slogan and logo for their company. From here, they had the opportunity to take on various department roles, including marketing, sales, manufacturing and toy inventor to name a few.
Our own local and loved Sparkhouse Toy Store owners, Celina Herrero and Micheal Casaren, volunteered to visit South Mountain offering their expertise and words of wisdom on how to run a toy store company. The students were able to understand the day to day choices companies need to make in order to stay successful. The sharing of our guest speakers really kicked it up a notch when it came to student process in toy creation.
Children also confronted important realities of the business world, including a highly charged critical incident put forward by the CEO to relocate their company. Students learned to use their skills in civic competence to negotiate alternatives rather than lose jobs.
The unit culminated in a toy fair, showcasing individual company products. More importantly, though, it was used as an opportunity for community service, a staple that belongs in every business plan. From fundraising efforts, South Mountain fifth graders will give back to the community in the form of a fundraiser for the John La Conti Fund at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, decided upon by the students.
Understanding the Marketplace has allowed our future workforce to experience a taste of what may lie ahead for them, and the future looks very promising from what we can see!