MicroSociety, the school is a society, a thriving, modern-day, mini-metropolis—complete with a government center, entrepreneurial hub, non-profit organizations, consumer marketplace, University and community gathering spaces—created and managed by students and facilitated by teachers and community mentors.
Laurie Kay is the community mentor and works along side Ms. Olzelski, a 3rd grade teacher, at Chochacatti Elementary School. We have two sessions through the year. The children fill out applications and interview for the position. This past year we had, an overwhelming, 100 applicants for the first session. We appoint students to be a Manager and Assistant Manager to help make decisions to keep the business profitable. The students are paid a salary of Micro Money, that they can use to spend on goods and services or pay fines if need be.
The children are first taught to sew basic monsters to sell during Micro Market Days and Winter Wonderland. They then make a Monster for themselves, listing what they love most about themselves and then putting that love in their Monster. In the second semester, with a few experienced sewers in the class, they make cat and dog toys to donate to the SPCA, which we hand deliver to our furry friends. We also create larger Monsters to give to foster children with the help from Foster Parent Association of Hernando County. Each one is special and is accompanied by a handwritten letter from the creator, explaining that the Monster is a good not scary and is there to love them.
The challenges faced with the business partnership are that we are creating products to be sold and teaching different children with different levels of abilities. We have quality control and need to make enough Monsters to be a profitable business. A few weeks out of the session we try out assembly line production to boost quality and production. Unfortunately, it causes some of the Monsters to be made with a little less love; this is something that we hope to change in the future. The most rewarding part of the business partnership, is knowing that the children create Monsters on their own time with anything they can find at home to spread the love.
It is the Monsters Made with Love dream to spread the Monster craze through other MicroSociety and Maker Schools. It is a wonderful program that has been developed to help children of all genders and ages create something while exercising fine motor skills, dexterity and hand/eye coordination. Who doesn’t love Monsters?