Parenting: Students hire, fire and learn about money

January 21, 2011 3:32:31 PM PST
A teacher at Friends School in Haverford, Pa., Katherine Renninger, has set up what she calls a "second grade economy."

Call it a laboratory of youth capitalism.

The students do chores for money, then use that play money to purchase supplies and, if they want, set up their own businesses.

For example, the art gallery is looking for ways to revive customer interest. When asked if her store was popular, Celeste Funari Muse said "It used to be because it was the new store and a lot of people came in, but now they're kind of coming to the costume store."

At that costume store, owner Thomas Foley has lofty ideas on how much his classmates are willing to spend to dress up.

"It is two dollars a day, $10 a week and $46 a month for costumes," said Foley.

In the first 15 minutes we saw one person get fired, another realize he didn't have enough money to pay his workers and another realize it might have peaked a little too early.

"These are things that they figure out on their own, through play," said Renninger. "So, they're living what an economy would be like and these things just come up naturally."

The students are also required to donate at least one "dollar" of their earnings to charity every Thursday.

The teacher got the idea from an article she read in the Harvard Educational Review.


Online: Harvard Educational Review.

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