We recently had a finance week at our school and in Primary 6 focussed on bank accounts and budgets. This seemed like a good time to start Class Economy with my class. Class Economy, is an idea that a colleague gave to me a few years ago and I’m sure many other teachers around Scotland and the world have used. In our version, learners are given bank books and each week are ‘paid’ wages, bonuses for class jobs and gain interest on savings. They also have to pay tax, hire their seat and pay fines for late homework and other infringements of class rules. The children check each other’s calculations and sign off on them and roughly once a fortnight the class bank opens (run by them) and they can withdraw cash. In our version, we also have a class shop where they can buy things small items like pencils. This year when I told the children about the project, I also told them about previous businesses other classes had run. They blew me away with how quickly they responded to this. So far they have opened 3 hire businesses, an art shop, one shop and a face painting pop up for Halloween and I was presented with my first contract for a business who want to buy and sublet seats. What strikes me most though is the excitement that can build up and the issues they have to deal with. Some of them are saving and aiming to invest. Some are starting to think about how to stop other people just pinching their best ideas. They are already grappling with questions like: Should everyone in the business get the same share? How do they make their idea unique? How do they promote their business?
Last year, one of the learners in my previous class, ran an event where he auctioned seats for a raffle and the excitement was tangible. Some people were buying seats for huge prices, others waiting for cheaper seats, others still wondering what exactly people were paying for. When I asked the learner, “what exactly are they paying for?” His reply was, “it’s all about creating a buzz.” He then ran a very successful event but had to deal with keeping staff on side and the reactions of others to his success (with help).
Play is often a great way to explore and learn. I am new to this blog and am looking forward to exploring other ideas and approaches that people are using.