Elementary students spent their school day Wednesday learning how to manage money, how to recognize the difference between wants and needs and how to run a business.
Junior Achievement volunteers and business community leaders visited Fort Mill Elementary School to teach students about entrepreneurship, financial literacy and workforce readiness.
Junior Achievement offers hands-on programs to teach students economic and financial lessons. The Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas regional office serves students in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. Junior Achievement provides the materials to volunteers teaching classes.
This was the first year the program invited high school seniors to teach classes, said Ann Elliott, executive director of Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas.
Junior Achievement volunteers taught 31 classes Wednesday in kindergarten through fourth grade with fun, age-appropriate games and interactive lessons, Elliott said.
“The goal is have the volunteers come in and teach students about things they have not thought about, other job opportunities,” she said. “We hope they learn they’ve got to stay in school. If you drop out before you finish high school, all of these goals you want are not going to happen or are going to be a huge struggle.”
Kindergartners learned the difference between a need and a want while first-graders learned how families work together to meet their wants and needs, Elliott said.
Second-graders looked at jobs, taxes and how government workers are paid from taxes. During a mock exercise, students got to work at a doughnut shop and were paid for their time, Elliott said. The students then had to pay taxes on their income.
Third-graders studied a city and learned how locations for buildings and businesses are determined, Elliott said. The students also built a restaurant business to study money management.
Calle Evans, 9, said she was the chef for her restaurant.
“It was fun because we’re making our restaurants and we have our own part,” Calle said. “The chef makes the final decision on the food you cook, the genre of the restaurant and the things you make.”
Calle said her group made a world diner where all types of food are served.
“It’s fun and you can learn how you work with other people and ... what job you might want to have when you’re older,” she said.
Fourth-graders practiced being business owners as entrepreneurs of a hot dog stand, Elliott said.
Fifth-graders do not participate in Junior Achievement at the school, but instead attend a program in Charlotte where they run a miniature town for a day, Elliott said. It combines the skills they learned during their kindergarten through fourth-grade years.
Elliott said the Junior Achievement day aims to inspire students to make good choices when it comes to their wants, needs and financial decisions.
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082