South Oceanside 5th graders got the chance to be adults for one day at JA BizTown, a mock miniature city where students run businesses and their own town.
These students spent eight weeks prepping by going over financial literacy curriculum on how checkbooks work, the difference between credit and debit and other components of the economy. They even had to apply for their BizTown jobs and collect loans to start up their businesses.
On their big day, Oct. 8, students were bustling about BizTown collecting payments between businesses, handling paychecks, voting, shopping and experiencing a workday in the corporate world.
“More than anything, my experience each time is that they get on the bus at the end of the day absolutely exhausted, and they’re like, ‘Woah, I didn’t realize it’s so hard to be an adult,’” Charles Finn, 5th grade teacher, said. “It’s about life lessons.”
Three South Oceanside 5th grade classes attended BizTown on Tuesday, totaling about 88 students and 35 parent volunteers. Some students even came dressed in full suits and professional outfits, ready for business.
BizTown is complete with mock buildings for all the major components of a city – a local government office, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Jack in the Box, radio and TV stations, medical offices where students cash in health benefits, and more.
Parents in attendance were amazed by the program. One mom, Renee Johns, said it has made her son more interested in finances – he even started asking to write her checks.
At the end of BizTown day, the students find out which teams turned a profit and which didn’t, and take a post-test to determine what was learned over the course of the program.
“It’s a chance for the kids to be independent, to take on new responsibilities. And when they succeed, that is a tremendous boost to their self-confidence,” Finn said.