Combining an entrepreneurial spirit with a community focus

The inaugural Makers Market saw MLC’s Junior School students discover how to link business acumen with making a positive impact on the community.  
“In Junior School we try to find ways for students to participate in service learning on campus,” explains acting Head of MLC Junior School, Steve Costa.
“The Makers Market is designed to help girls build upon important 21st century skills, including team work, entrepreneurship and innovation while still encouraging them to think about their impact on the community.”
The process of creating their own product and market stall encouraged students to capitalise on the skills and resources they had readily available to manufacture a product that would appeal to their peers.
The exercise required students to consider the cost of manufacturing their product and profit margin to determine a competitive price for their items. Each student then needed to plan how they would make use of any profits – they were required to donate at least half to the Junior School’s aligned charities: KOTO (Know One, Teach One) Vietnam or Loreto Vietnam.
“The Makers’ Market gave everyone from Years 3 to 6 the opportunity to produce their own business ideas based on what they thought people at school would want to buy,” explains Year 6 student and House Captain, Alex Curnow.
“I had a lot of wool and knitting needles available so I decided that I wanted to knit hair ties. After a few experiments I found the knit that I liked and created a product I was happy with. My hair ties were $2 each and I sold out on the day.”
“It feels really good when someone buys something that you have made. It makes you feel that you have had a very innovative idea,” says Alex.
Year 5 student, Amber Stephenson agreed. “The Makers Market gave everyone the chance to create things that they could share with everyone else.”
“I found some material at home and decided to use our sewing machine to make small carry bags with a long strap. Each bag had a different pattern and colour with a rose gold feather.”
“It was a great way to learn about profits, making money and how to use it,” says Amber.
Held at lunchtime, the event was a great success with 80 makers and 50 different stalls on the day.
Service learning is an integral part of learning in MLC’s Junior School. Beyond the Makers’ Market, each House has forged long term relationships with charities of their choosing. Students nominate a Social Service Captain who leads her classmates to run stalls, raffles and other events to raise funds. In recent years students have chosen to support Guide Dogs Australia and an orphan in Uganda, among other causes.
“The girls are very motivated to help others – both locally and internationally,” says Steve.

Click here to view our online gallery of the Market.