Montessori Farm Stand test markets student business ideas
After months of joy and frustration, seventh- and eighth-year students at Mountaineer Montessori School will test-market their entrepreneurship ideas at a series of Montessori Farm Stand pop-up shops in February. The pop-up shop, featuring student designed products and services, will be open from 2:30-5:30 p.m. on February 5, 12 and 26 at the school’s main campus, 308 20th Street, SE, in Kanawha City.
Entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of the Montessori middle school “education for life” curriculum.
Since the beginning of the school year, students have developed their own business ideas — ranging from a garden store to homemade baked goods to monthly breakfasts at the middle school — as a potential avenue for a class micro economy.
“We have seen good ideas and flop ideas, tears of joy and frustration, and continued hard work and dedication through all of the ups and downs,” says Bridgett Steveson, who leads the middle school program. “We have been encouraging students to work from start to finish and not give up. They are finally starting to see the fruits of their labor.”
Working with experts
To fine tune their proposals, students met with local business experts, including Dr. Gene Coulson, executive director of the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, and Dr. David Luechaeur, director of the University of Charleston Master of Business Administration and Leadership Program. Based upon expert feedback, students updated presentations, which were shared in a “Shark Tank” style round table to the entire class.
After getting approval from both the class and MMS co-directors, students have been busy finalizing their ideas, finishing product labels, assembling products, and coordinating farm stand times and locations.
During the next few weeks, students will assess the popularity of products, calculate profit/loss margins and potentially add new products to the Farm Stand to support the MMS school garden and other spring projects.
In addition to the Farm Stand, middle schoolers have organized a series of “Parents Night Out” events at the school, which offer movies and pizza for MMS students for a fee. Proceeds also support middle school programs.
“But, above all it is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of manhood and becomes a member of society,” Maria Montessori noted.
The Mountaineer Montessori Middle School, located at 804 Myrtle Road, is the only Montessori adolescent program in West Virginia. It offers student-centered, academically-rigorous curriculum that meets and/or exceeds Common Core standards, preparing students for the “real world” through entrepreneurship, community service and hands-on learning. It is a component of Mountaineer Montessori School, which serves 125 students in an authentic, fully-implemented Montessori environment at 308 20th Street. MMS is the largest, oldest and most established Montessori school in the state, serving an estimated 1,000 children since its founding in 1976.
For more information, please call 304/342-7870.
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