A key learning for students is that they see themselves as community members and begin to understand the positive impact they can have on the community by taking the profits from the business and purchasing groceries for those in need.
This project proved first-hand how powerful this experience is for the children, especially those students who struggle both socially and academically in the classroom. One of the students with special needs who also has very low self-esteem approached the teacher after a couple days of business and told her that he had been really worried about Little Scoops Ice Cream Shop because he “couldn’t do things in school as good as the rest of the kids” and he was scared he wouldn’t be able to read the order form, but just that morning he was able to help one of his friends fix a mistake they had made when reading an order. The student exclaimed, “I was able to fix it, and that was really good. I’m such a good cook…I think I’m gonna be a cook when I get big!”
By operating the business in the school for a series of seven days the children had the opportunity to experience each job in the ice cream shop, and also perform the job they preferred most again on another day. This provided the students with the chance to contrast and compare their experiences and apply and transfer skills they learned while performing one position to others within the business (i.e. skills required to be a waiter assisted students when it was their turn to be a cook). A teambuilding component was built into the project, providing teachers with the opportunity to develop cooperative, collaborative, interpersonal skills within the kindergarten, while also teaching them a sense of independence!
The students had the opportunity to educate the community by demonstrating first-hand what they were capable of accomplishing with typical kindergarten skills in an authentic learning project. Community members and school staff who came in contact with the kindergarteners were surprised and impressed with the social, literacy and mathematical skills that were necessary and evident for the kindergarten students to participate in such a project. What was especially exciting was that all of the students were able to complete all of the tasks, either independently or with limited teacher support. Furthermore, the children were able to increase their own awareness of how they have the capability to impact their community, by raising money to purchase groceries for families in need.
For more information on this project contact Donna Drasch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Powerpoint Presentation: "The Ice Cream Smile-A-Lot Shop"