The National Association for the Education of Young Children says kindergartners thrive when they have the opportunity to work both independently and cooperatively. One of the best ways to provide this opportunity is to set up classroom learning centers. A classroom store, for example, will help kids learn the value of money, basic addition and subtraction and relational terms such as "fewer than" or "more than."
Set Up a Classroom Economy
Before children can shop at the store, they need to get money. Setting up a classroom economy in which children are given the chance to earn money gives you more teaching opportunities. Children can earn money for good behavior, for completing classroom chores or for scoring well on a task or a test. The rewards should be small to keep the scope of the project small. Payments of 1 to 5 cents would be appropriate.
Provide the Money
Once you know how students can earn money, you have to provide it. You can easily create paper money or buy toy money. However, you might also consider providing real money. When kindergartners have a chance to handle real money, they learn how to respect it, and they are more likely to treat the task more seriously. You can provide students with their own personal "banks" -- for instance, a jar for each student, with his or her name on it.
Stock and Decorate the Store
Your store can be set up in any area of the classroom where it makes the most sense, depending on the size of class and the other activities you have planned throughout the week. The store need not be big. It can consist of a table or desk and a few plastic containers with goodies to purchase. You can stock the store with small favors or goodies such as candy, pencils, balls and toys. You can buy these items yourself or ask for donations from parents and local businesses.
Decide on Operating Hours
Many teachers open their classroom stores once a week or once every two weeks. By spacing out when the store is open, children are given the chance to earn money and save up for items they want to buy. Store time can also double as game or recess time. Children can use store hours to play with their purchases or to read or play other games. Friday afternoons are a good choice since children are ready to head home for the weekend.
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