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Student entrepreneurs operate a mall of craft stores and learn basic economics

posted Jan 23, 2019, 4:26 AM by Michael Richards
Multi-grades 3 & 4 students in Ms. Stapleton’s and Ms. Bush’s classes at Wells Elementary School were busy in the weeks prior to the holiday season creating crafts and gathering other items to sell in their craft fair for the school community on December 20, 2018. 

As in the past three years, students stocked and managed their own stores.   Customers included fellow students, staff members, parents, and others who used teacher provided “checks” as currency. 

“The students take complete ownership in the project,” said teacher Beth Bush. “The best part is that they participate multiple times during their years in multi 3 & 4 so they understand the subtle changes they can make for a successful business.”

In this bi-annual project, students get to experience cooperation, planning, budgeting, balancing a checkbook, saving money, spending earnings wisely and accountability in keeping sales and expense records. The project also presents opportunities for parents and students to work together.   The currency students accumulate from the sales can be used at the school store, a concept created several years ago as a motivational component in a behavioral program.  

“The Holiday Craft Fair is a fun and learning filled event!” described teacher Melissa Stapleton in an invitation to school staff to this event.  “Students are asked to bring in 20 items that they have made, bought, or repurposed. Each student opens their own ‘shop’ within our classrooms. We are always amazed with their creative and entrepreneurial talents.”

Along with homemade crafts that included tree ornaments, snow globes, small snowmen, and hand warmers, some merchants also offered candy and cookies. 

“Students took the lead with this creative learning opportunity which aligns with our teaching philosophy,” commented Stapleton.  “The craft fairs, held twice during the school year, are special events that our students and families look forward to.”

Student running his store
Operating his store “Jolly Christmas” is third grade student Arlo with his assistant and mother, Eilean Worcester


Officer Long checking out a student store
WES School Resource Officer Scott Long making a purchase at the store of 4th grader Jak Loughlin who has created numerous white tree ornaments for his store
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