Economic Literacy in the Lower School

In the Lower School, economic lessons are a part of every grade level’s curriculum.

For example, Kindergartners collaborate to create their own shoe store, learning about economics and empathy. Throughout the process, the project incorporates math (counting, sorting, tallying and graphing), social studies (alike and different), economics (goods vs. services, buying/selling, supply/demand) and Responsible Citizenship (developing empathy for others and understanding community needs).

Connected with the entrepreneurship program, First Grade students embark on their own business venture by designing hand-crafted stationery of whimsical thumbprint animals. Further learning occurs as Critter Creations are both advertised and sold in support of SPCA shelters.

Second graders learn to treat the Chesapeake Bay as a valued natural and economic resource as well as how choices about Bay resources impact the people, places and habitats of Virginia.

Third graders learn about how economies function through their Classroom Economy and fourth graders learn to understand the impact of economics on planning and decision making when the students map out their class visit to Washington D.C. within the confines of a budget.

The two highlights of Economic Literacy in the Lower School are the 3rd grade Classroom Economy and the Cougar Savings Club bank run by 4th graders.

Classroom Economy

What if all 3rd graders knew how to save more than they spend and how to resist impulse buying? What if they truly had the skills to be smart money managers?  The 3rd grade classroom economy is designed to mimic real-world economic activity. Students earn salaries for classroom jobs, produce goods they sell in a grade-wide market, rent or purchase their desks, and even pay taxes. The students also create small businesses in order to give back to our community through their "Cougars Care for a Cause" Market. A class auction in which students are able to reap the benefits of having saved their money throughout the year is also part of the fun.

Cougar Savings Club

Created in 1993, The Cougar Savings Club is a unique program offered to Lower School students to introduce the basic principals of banking and saving money. The bank is run by students for students. Students learn the concept of money: its use, its buying power, and its conservation. Younger students will learn by experience and eventually become bank 'employees.' Fourth grade students serve as tellers, bookkeepers and security officers at the bank.