Last month, the first graders at Bridgette’s school spent several weeks creating their own Kids Town at school. This was an effort to teach the students the meaning of a “community”, and what their contributions might include as citizens of the town.
First, they had to collectively decide on the businesses that would be a part of their town. They learned that businesses such as banks, post offices, restaurants, and grocery stores could be found in nearly every town as they provided services and products that people needed. In addition, they added a pet store, music store, a movie theater, and other small shops that they felt people would like to patron.
For weeks, the students worked on building each business in preparation for the “opening” of their Kids Town. Each first grade class would get to patron the towns in another classrooms, using pretend money to earn and to pay for goods and services. Each student also had to fill out an application for their most desired jobs, explaining why they’d be the best candidate for the jobs. Almost every student tried to apply to work at the movie theater, so many of them had to experience the disappointment of being turned down.
Having heard so much about the planning of Kids Town, I was eager to be a parent volunteer when they officially opened for business. It was so much fun watching the children participate, engaging with one another as they would in a real community!
On the last day, each town invited the parents to visit in the evening, and we had so much fun using our kids’ money (for once!) to patron the different businesses.
It also happened to be the last day for Bridgette’s first grade teacher, before she officially went on maternity. The kids made a special book for her baby-to-come, and gave it to her at the end of the evening.
Way to go first graders!