What began as a 5th class pupil protesting “why can’t we do a business for real?” culminated in the whole class at Portlaoise Educate Together NS holding the school’s own craft fair.
Teacher Tim Stapleton's students recycled old books into crafty candle and pencil holders, hedgehogs, houses and other creations.
Their painstaking work involved folding the individual pages of old books. The books were collected from their homes, second hand shops and old books in the library.
The children took pre-orders and personalised items from the previous week, and then parents and guardians visited the fair all day to purchase the products.
The money raised from this event will be spent on resources and investment in the sports pitch campus fund, for the three primary schools in the Summerhill campus in Portlaoise.
Tim is very proud of his students.
“This has been a child-centered process from the outset. They began planning this almost two months ago. What started as a simple English lesson about persuasive writing and advertising, evolved into a full scale business plan, propelled by the enthusiasm and determination of these twelve girls and fifteen boys,” he said.
Valuable business skills were learned by the young entrepreneurs, who conducted market research and analysis, pitched their idea in writing and then in person to the principal Sinead Ahern, to show how it could work as part of their curriculum. The Board of Management then contacted the children to give their formal support for the business.
“Since then, the students used English, Maths, SPHE, Learn Together and Art strategies to produce the range of products,” he said.
The project has taught the children far more than just the value of recycling.
“ It has given them the opportunity to apply a range of skills they have learned at home and in school to create something that is uniquely theirs. They have experienced the challenges and rewards real life has to offer but most of all they have learned the value of working together to achieve a common goal,” said their proud teacher.
Principal Sinead Aherne also congratulated the children for their hard work.