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Marie-Josée Tremblay is a happy teacher. A CDEM employee visited her class a few weeks ago, as part of an economic education program called Les Affaires A+. The visit had an extraordinary impact on her students.
École Lacerte’s students decided to organize a bake sale.
Enthusiasm, innovation, creativity, motivation…. Tremblay, a grade 3 teacher at École Lacerte, can’t say enough about how her eight- and nine-year-old students reacted to their experience with Éric Lamothe, an economic education officer with CDEM. Lamothe gave them a workshop on entrepreneurship.
“He talked about jobs, the economic cycle, and how to create a mini-business,” explains Tremblay. “It gave the students a more concrete understanding of the economy. It was such an abstract concept for them but Éric was able to demystify it.”
The students were able to apply concepts learned during the workshop.
Inspired by the workshop, the students decided to organize a bake sale. “Everyone got involved,” says Tremblay. “The parents did the baking at home and the students sold the items the next day at school. All the other classes were invited to drop by during the day. The goods were sold for a dollar a piece. Counting quarters was a good challenge for the students.”
In addition to handling money, the students were able to apply concepts learned during the workshop. “They had to estimate how much profit they made and then work together to count their earnings.”
In the end, they made $600. The children gave half to charity and used the other half to buy French books to fuel their passion for reading.
What surprised Tremblay the most was how the workshop sparked ideas and enthusiasm among her students. Chances are good the activity will return next year.
“This is a CDEM service that should be used at all grade levels,” says Tremblay. “The earlier we start, the better informed students will be and the more they’ll realize the importance of creating things and of being confident. They may even go on to become entrepreneurs. It’s a step towards greater awareness.”
Tremblay has taken it upon herself to encourage colleagues from other schools to contact CDEM and arrange for an economic education workshop.
“As teachers, we’re not necessarily equipped to talk about the economy or entrepreneurship. CDEM has expertise in the field, and they know how to approach the topic. Every teacher should take advantage of the service. It’s free and accessible, and can even be tailored to specific needs,” she adds.