Junior Achievement 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
By Susan Misur
GUILFORD — Sets of blueprints and maps lay on the desks of third-graders at Guilford Lakes Elementary School this week as students brainstormed where they might build a restaurant in town, what food it should serve and how they could advertise to residents.
“I’d put up a blimp!” one student exclaimed. “You could put up a sign or put an ad in a newspaper,” another added.
The students’ class doesn’t usually have a business curriculum, but they learned about entrepreneurship and zoning for half the day as part of a free program by Junior Achievement, a worldwide nonprofit group linking the business community with students to teach financial literacy.
Guilford Lakes students in first-, second- and fourth grades also took part in the JA for a Day event, completing activities with parents and volunteers from local businesses that focused on needs and wants, assembly lines, careers and check-writing.
Calvin Leete Elementary School participated last week with other community volunteers, said Pam Katz, district manager for Junior Achievement of Southwest New England.
The program was held in town for the first time last year, and this year the Guilford Foundation donated $5,000 to Junior Achievement so it could be held again. PTA member Doug Newman, who is coordinating the event, said materials run about $42 per student and Junior Achievement covers costs.
“It’s what they (students) don’t get in a normal curriculum; we’re covering intense financial literacy, careers, entrepreneurism. What makes JA special is that the volunteers are also talking about their jobs, careers and college experiences,” said Louis Golden, president of the chapter.
Principal J. Michael Biddle said he visited classes in each grade and the teachers, volunteers and students were enthusiastic about the day’s lessons.
“I was just in one class where the children were planning the town. One student said he’d put Guilford Lakes in the suburbs because it would reduce the cost of buses to get kids there,” Biddle said. “I was just so impressed. The kids may know this stuff, but now they’re talking about it and putting it into practice.”
Third-grader Elise Aslanian said she and other students were given 3-D cardboard buildings to place on a map and learned about residential, commercial and industrial zones.
“I had a flower shop and I put it next to a hotel. There were some houses near that, too, and business places, so I thought that would be a good place to put it,” Elise said.
Her class also talked about the “rock pile” project, officially named Guilford Commons, that was protested by many residents before it was approved. Volunteers in her class live near the construction site, she explained.
“They said that at first, a lot of people gave ideas and then the company designed the mall blueprint, but it was too big and had to be made smaller,” Elise said.
Fourth-grader Parker Toth said he learned about human, capital and natural resources and about careers he can consider when he grows up.
JA for a Day teaches students to think about the world beyond their own homes and neighborhoods, Biddle said. “It’s a global curriculum,” he added. “They’re taught to think outside the box.”
Contact Susan Misur at 203-789-5742 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 203-789-5742 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email@example.com.
Article published Feb 18, 2010
Junior Achievement Comes to Lakes Elementary
By Fay Abrahamsson Courier Senior Staff Writer
Junior Achievement Comes to Lakes Elementary
Learning how to invest your money wisely in the current global economy sounds like the stuff of a night course offered for adults at the local community college, right?
Not even close-the "course" or program of events is offered to elementary school students as part of the Junior Achievement JA for the Day program recently held at Guilford Lakes Elementary School.
"It is never too early to teach important life skills to kids," said Louis Golden, president of JA of Southwest New England.
As Golden explained, the goals of JA, a non-profit organization founded in 1916, are to prepare kids for the future by teaching them skills in personal finance such as how to balance a checkbook, entrepreneurial and business skills such as starting a company and hiring employees, problem-solving and teamwork skills, and learning how these skills and education can fit within an ever-changing global economy, plus much more. The programs are taught in a hands-on manner designed to make learning fun.
"We teach this one activity called 'How to Run a Restaurant,'" said Golden, who explained that the kids create the theme and menu, exchange fake money, pay taxes, write out paychecks, and act as customers and owners.
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, JA organized programs for four million children in the United States last year and a total of eight million worldwide.
Last week, JA for a Day came to the Guilford Lakes Elementary School. With the assistance of a roomful of parent volunteers, business people, and the funding of $5,000 from the Guilford Foundation, the games were about to begin.
"Great programs like this don't happen without great leaders and generosity," said Golden. "We cannot run our programs without money and without volunteers."
Principal Michael Biddle, who was in JA when he was a kid, thanked the volunteers, the Guilford PTA, and the Guilford Foundation for their funding for the program. He also thanked business volunteers from Guilford Savings Bank, TD Bank, and Citizens Bank.
Parent Dawn O'Brien, who was a volunteer for this year and last year, said her two children really enjoyed the program and learned a lot, even practicing parts of the program at home on their own.
"My daughter had a play date...and they were going over the 'Needs vs. Wants' exercise from Junior Achievement," said O'Brien with a smile.