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Kidz Biz

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Fifth graders at Clear Creek Elementary got a head start on becoming CEOs and business executives on Wednesday when they received hands-on training in economics, business strategy and financial management.

Students in Stephanie Herndon's class took part in "Money, Markets and Moguls," a two-hour financial literacy program sponsored by the Kentucky Council on Economic Education that taught the students entrepreneurship, money choices, product and market management and the need for philanthropy.

The program, which was taught by volunteers from Citi Cards Louisville, used hands-on activities and real-life situations to engage the children's minds.

Students were introduced to concepts such as product, profit, capital and loss through a simulated business venture.

The students were broken up into groups and were assigned the task of making a product -- in this case the students were charged with making as many hamburgers as they could. And just like in the real world, the team with the highest efficiency and production quality earned the largest profit margin and was declared the winner. Once the students were given their wages for their labor, program facilitators instructed the students in how their money could be spent, saved or invested back into the community.

Betty Johnson, program coordinator, said the children who go through the program have a greater understanding of how our economy works.

Johnson said that because of the hands-on nature of the program, children are able to remember what they are learning and apply it to their lives.

Students who take the program are tested before and after they are given the training. Johnson said that 100 percent of the students who go through the program have seen test scores improve. Johnson also said that the program fits in the core content for fifth graders who are required to study economics.

Willie Cole, one of the students who went through the program, said that he enjoyed learning about economics because he could apply the information to his everyday life. He said he now has a better understanding of how money and businesses work.

Johnson said that Cole and the other students in Herndon's class were the "future entrepreneurs" or our country.

The program helps give them a good start in making wise financial and business decisions, she said.

KCEE is a statewide non-profit organization committed to providing economic education for Kentucky teachers in their classrooms. Programs such as the one given at Clear Creek have been in operation in the region for three years, but this was the first time that it has come to Shelby County.