A program aimed at teaching students how to run all facets of a city has officially begun another year at Aspen Heights Elementary School.
Now in its eighth year, the MicroSociety held its first official meeting of the year on Wednesday discussing current job openings and overall planning for their society.
The MicroSociety is a modern day mini-metropolis complete with a government centre, an entrepreneurial hub, a consumer marketplace with its own currency (stinger), along with a college and university. It’s created and managed by students, and facilitated by teachers and community mentors.
The school began the program as a way to get students engaged in their education while teaching them real life skills such as finances and how to run a business.
“Now we are seeing students who are more responsible and respectful. We are seeing students who are more aware on how to save money. They are learning how to deal with customers and different things like that,” said Braden Kilpatrick, principal at Aspen Heights Elementary.
Students are responsible for drawing up their own constitution, drafting their own bills and laws, having jobs and paying taxes.
Kilpatrick said he believes these skills are better taught to students earlier in life rather then after they graduate from high school.
“The younger they can learn these types of skills the better off they’ll be. They are skills they’ll need through their entire life. Not only when they become adults, but even when they go off to middle school,” said Kilpatrick.
The MicroSociety holds 24 market days at the school this year where students get to run their businesses ranging from clothing shops to smoothie shops. The markets are open to the public. The first market of the year is on Nov. 23 at 9:10 a.m.
Two years ago the MicroSociety gained international attention by receiving “Four Star Status” which is the highest level of achievement and recognition for MicroSociety programs. Last year the school was nominated for an Emerald Award for its environmental projects.