Stepping into Business is one of the best, if not the best, educational programme I have ever had the pleasure of leading. It was an amazing experience for all involved, and it certainly created lasting exciting learning memories for the school community. Something totally different and fresh, but so relevant in the real world. It is a project that is very much ‘The more you put in, the more you get out’, it was time consuming to organise and lead, but totally and utterly worth it and I cannot recommend it highly enough.Exciting learning with a real life context.
1) Stepping into Business teaches skills that will be invaluable in the big wide world, putting learning into a real life context; children can see how their learning will help them in the future. Looking at budgets, marketing, planning, creating & designing, project management, presentation skills, teamwork…
2) All resources are carefully thought out, and are simple but thorough enough for teacher’s to follow easily. There is a variety of presentations, paper resources, weblinks, teacher notes (very detailed) and all are clear and step by step.
3)The project insights enthusiasm, motivation and engagement from all learners; all learners start off on an even footing so all children can succeed and grow! It also gave the staff a new lease of life as well, and a break from ‘normal’ day to day teaching.
4) It promotes confidence and self-esteem; helping learners believe in themselves. Some of our quieter children, really started to shine and sparkle during our Ambition and Enterprise fortnight. The use of team roles, means even those less confident can achieve and offer something.
5) It promotes community involvement; parents and local businesses can be encouraged to be involved. Taking on roles as Dragon’s/Business Angels or Mentors; offering sponsorship or prizes for the winning teams. The use of sponsorship from businesses or the PTA means even schools with limited budgets should be able to access the ‘Stepping into Business’ programmes.
6) Dragon’s Den had a powerful impact on the children as learners, putting them outside their comfort zone in a safe and friendly environment. We took this out of school, to make this part of the programme even more exciting and rewarding. Presenting their business concept to 4 adults, is no mean feat and our children surpassed our expectations and even more importantly their own! They were so proud after meeting the ‘Business Angels’, not to mention the children loved the chance to ‘power dress’
7) Creativity, flair and thinking outside the box-some of the ideas the children had were truly inspired. The variety of products our school produced was superb; a few too many cake businesses, but you live and learn. With enough time and enough adult support, anything is possible! You may find yourself surprised by how innovative their ideas are.
8) Teamwork is an important part of this project. How you choose to structure the teams is up to you. We choose mixed groups, made up of Y3,4,5 and 6 (putting siblings together to make life easier for parents). Watching team dynamics in action was fascinating, some teams definitely worked more effectively than others. Working with siblings, was a great lesson in how it would be working in family business (the younger ones loved working with their siblings, the older ones weren’t as keen initially)
9) A change from the usual curriculum but it includes all those so important curriculum links, so you can rest assured it focuses on areas the children need to understand-it makes the curriculum real!
10) Reflection and celebration– throughout the project there are so many opportunities to reflect on their learning and experiences, learning from mistakes and difficulties, taking down barriers, and developing their businesses. The celebration part is also high focus, ensuring all children are rewarded for their efforts, we made certificates for all children, and each team won an award of some description, there were some individual mentions too. We had children with Autism, shaking hands and introducing themselves in the den, children with learning difficulties leading the presentation, amazing logo designs and some hugely effective teamwork. The presentation evening was a highlight with parents getting to share in the children’s learning; seeing photographs, watching pitches and talking to children about their experiences and obviously the all important prize and certificate presentations
For more information on Stepping into Business, you can find them online or follow them at twitter @steppingintobiz.
Get your school involved, you won’t regret it!
*This is not a sponsored post, I just really enjoyed being part of this project, and hope to lead them again soon!