On March 6th, the 4th and 5th grades got down to business at JA BizTown, the simulated town experience sponsored by Junior Achievement of Central Maryland. For the past 14 years, Garrison Forest Lower School students have been enjoying Biztown, which is part of the Lower School's financial literacy program, in conjunction with the school's James Center. BizTown provides opportunities to experience real-life economic, workplace and personal finance challenges and benefit from the learning those challenges provide, as well as gaining an understanding of civic life, complete with a mayor, taxes, etc. The 10,000 square-foot, life-like city reflects the importance of workplace performance and financial decisions in an authentic economy, and the program's lessons in personal finance -- earning a salary, managing money, applying for loans and getting a taste of corporate finance -- stick.
"The fun, immersive atmosphere inspires teamwork, critical thinking and decision-making skills for each student," notes Dana Livne, 4th Grade teacher. For the 4th Grade, it was a chance to get "real life" experience on many of the lessons the class has been learning through the class's deep-dive into financial literacy and leading the Lower School's banking program with M&T Bank. "Biztown helps students develop a stronger link between what they learn in school and the realities of how our economy works. For many of the girls, it's the first time they experience the interconnectedness of each of our lives. When students take on a different role in this "micro-economy," they witness how their decisions affect each other."
Prior to the event, students completed job applications and interviewed with Lower School administrators and teachers for various positions. All students vote in the Biztown Mayor and Deejay election, and this year, Mayor Riley and DJ Chlo Chlo (aka Chloe) led the students through an exciting day. Other roles included CEO, CFO, salesperson, food and beverage manager and bank teller. Adds Mrs. Livne: "Each role has its own perks and challenges, allowing the students to see the complexity of an economy unfold before their eyes."
For the 5th Grade, the second year at Biztown was highly anticipated. This year, the class took hands-on to a whole new level with the Stanley Black and Decker team building an Adirondack chair.
Thanks to all the parent volunteers who made this possible! Enjoy the photos.