SP Elementary Students Practice Life Skills

Thanks to program from Junior Achievement BizTown, Severna Park Elementary students experienced a workplace environment on Friday.

The next time you’re having trouble balancing your checkbook you might ask a fifth-grader at Severna Park Elementary School to help.

Thanks to the program Junior Achievement BizTown, local fifth-graders are learning real-world skills about money management, landing a job and life in the workplace.

“JA BizTown provides work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs for students in kindergarten through high school,” said Kim Fabian, senior vice president of the junior achievement of central Maryland.

Jennie Merrill’s fifth-grade class at Severna Park Elementary has been practicing these skills for a little more than five weeks, and the students got to show off what they learned on Friday at the JA BizTown facilities, which were recently renovated by Ikea.

“They come to our facility where they are assigned jobs such a mayor, CEO restaurant manager and so on, and they experience a real-life workday,” Fabian said. “They have meetings and receive paychecks all based on the skills they have learned."

This is the second year Merrill’s classes have participated in the program and she said the skills they learn are not only useful for the activity but also in the future.

“The program gives them real life skills,” Merrill said. “You don’t teach anyone how to use a checkbook anymore because you do it online, but these kids are getting all that. Everything they have been learning just came to life on Friday.”

Schools from all over the county and state participate in the JA BizTown program, but Fabian said they continue to be impressed with Severna Park Elementary.

“It is interesting because some schools are better prepared than others,” Fabian said. “Severna Park Elementary has been coming for the past several years and they are always a really great school to work with.”

The program is something Merrill really believes in teaching and she hopes to continue JA BizTown’s lessons in the future.

“Each year I am more and more surprised with the kids and what they learn,” Merrill said. “I can’t wait to see what we do next year. I am so excited. It is great to see the kids thinking outside the classroom.”

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Carrie Hilliard December 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM
What a great program! The kids looked like they enjoyed it!!
Jennie Merrill December 11, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Just to clarify it wasn't just my class but the entire 5 th grade that went and I couldn't have made it come to life without Mrs Barnes, Mrs. Finnis' and Mrs. Neseth 's help in teaching all the lessons.


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