Student Run Businesses and Nonprofit Enterprises
Montessori education fosters entrepreneurship. An essential part of every Montessori Secondary program as well as many Montessori Upper Elementary programs is the student run enterprises. Ranging in scale from monthly cafés for their friends and family, to registered charities raising tens of thousands of dollars, to the student run Hershey Farm School in Ohio, micro-economy enterprises give students experience in running their own business with their schoolmates and in making decisions with tangible outcomes.
Entrepreneurship makes academics come to life and develops problem solving, communication, teamwork, financial literacy, and leadership skills. It also gives girls the confidence and resilience they need to "break the glass ceiling” by starting their own female-run businesses.
Entrepreneurship and Mirco-economy at Odyssey Heights School for Girls
Starting in 2018, students at Odyssey Heights School will be growing their own organic produce and seedlings to sell at local farmers’ markets and/or their own student-run market. Older students will also have the opportunity to run their own graphic design and social media content business(es) - using the skills they learn in technology, English, and art credit courses. As Odyssey Heights School for Girls grows, other student run enterprises will no doubt be proposed, created, and run by our students.
Examples of Micro-Economy Enterprises From Other Montessori Schools
Keys for Hope
Keys for Hope was started as a school peace project by a handful of girls at East Cooper Montessori Charter School in South Carolina, who wanted to raise money for Crisis Ministries, Charleston's homeless shelter. Instead of asking people for money, they wanted to make something and sell it.
Students raise funds by collecting donated old keys, decorating them, and then selling them as keychains, zipper pulls, necklaces, and decorations at local farmer’s markets and special events. The funds raised are dedicated to building the new shelter building and soup kitchen. Each decorative key symbolizes "shelter" and the hope for a better future for Charleston's homeless men, women and children. These future philanthropists realize that together, even kids can impact their community in a big way.
The girls have raised over $80,000 to date, and have brought their program as a workshop to other schools, businesses, and community organizations across their state. Keys for Hope is now a registered 501c3 American charity.
Hershey Farm & Market Microeconomy
The Hershey Farm & Market Microeconomy is the capstone to Hershey Montessori School’s adolescent (Secondary I and II) program. Proceeds from The Hershey Market go back into the Huntsburg campus’ micro-economy, which supports economics-class projects of the middle school as well as the market itself. Students in 9th year apply to be managers of various parts of the farm that they’re interested in such the dairy, special events, or the kitchen. With as little of adult guidance as possible, students assume all the responsibilities of running their area of the farm. Adolescent students in the 10th and 11th grades participate in weekly workshops in financial literacy, business management, and entrepreneurship. They also learn fundamental concepts of business operations as they work to develop the various business ventures on the farm and manage the operations of The Hershey Market.
Odyssey Heights School for Girls will be following in the Hershey Farm School’s footsteps when we purchase our Northern Farm Campus.