Since 2010, when Babson championed the effort to bring Lemonade Day to the Greater Boston area, thousands of local school-age students have learned about entrepreneurship by starting a lemonade stand. To spur further interest in the spring event, Babson this year offered free workshops to Boston Public School teachers, helping them learn how to introduce entrepreneurship to their students while expanding the reach of the Lemonade Day program.
Working for the Youth Entrepreneurial Leadership Programs at Babson’s Lewis Institute, Sarah Schwartz, program manager, and Janai Mungalsingh ’08, manager, recognized that connecting with students through schools and community programs would be more efficient than the current concept of working one on one with families and children. To introduce Lemonade Day to as many teachers as possible, after-school workshops were held in four Boston locations. Teachers also earned credits that apply toward professional development points.
The workshops guided teachers through the program, which aligns with Common Core requirements being taught in the classroom. The curriculum builds on math and literacy skills and introduces life skills such as financial literacy. It also encourages teamwork, leadership, and responsibility; participating students are encouraged to save some of their earnings, spend some on themselves, and share some by giving back to their communities.
Mungalsingh, who supports the educators as they deliver the curriculum to their students, says, “Some of the teachers may initially have been intimidated by the concept of entrepreneurial thinking, but many were pleasantly surprised when they realized they were doing it already.”
The workshops, for example, demonstrated how teachers could challenge students to think creatively and take the initiative to reach out when facing problems. Many classrooms already have students work in groups so students with different strengths can complement each other, effectively helping them learn together. “The training helped teachers to be more intentional about this,” says Mungalsingh, “to create more opportunities for students, not only for the Lemonade Day program itself but also during the entire school year.”
Schwartz says the program teaches “a proactive way to look at a situation, a way to change the trajectory, to help students think about improving their community and their world.”—Sharman Andersen