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Real world learning for kids

Exchange CityIn Exchange City, students take on the roles and responsibilities of business owners, entrepreneurs, employees, civil servants, public officials, and consumers in a wide variety of stores, businesses, and government offices.

This valuable hands-on learning experience for middle and high schools is designed to integrate into the regular school program. Students from participating schools begin with a standards-based curriculum taught by teachers in their classroom over a two-week or six-week period, learning about entrepreneurship, economics, and financial literacy. The in-class program is followed by a field trip visit to a model city that the middle and high school students run themselves. Exchange City lets students apply and reinforce the lessons learned in the classroom in this real-life “city” setting. Since our children are our future, this program is a great way to prepare them.

Exchange City 2Created by the Learning Exchange of Kansas City, Exchange City is one of the largest hands-on education programs in the world and more than 1,000,000 students have already participated. There are twenty-four Exchange City sites throughout the United States and more on the way. Rhode Island opened its own “city” on May 3, 2007, on the Harborside campus of Johnson & Wales University. This Providence facility serves students in Rhode Island, Southern Massachusetts, and Connecticut. By the time Rhode Island’s Exchange City celebrates its one-year anniversary, it will have hosted almost 12,000 students. What a way to make a difference.

Participation in the program costs $30 per student. This covers the curriculum, training for the teachers and volunteers, all student materials, and all consumables used in the “city.” Although most school districts are able to cover the cost of the program, Exchange City is also actively building community partnerships with local businesses so it can offer scholarships to students or help subsidize the program for the schools that cannot afford to participate.

In addition to the regular school program, Exchange City also offers school vacation programs and activities for summer camps.

To find out how to bring this program to your school, how to become a sponsor, or to volunteer, visit the Exchange City website.

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Written by Anisa Raoof