Southbank International School places emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship with global responsibility to young students

Developing financial acumen and a savvy business brain at a young age are increasingly important elements in modern education. At Southbank International School, children as young as grade 2 (age 7 and 8) get involved in projects that relate to learning all about entrepreneurship.

Using the transdisciplinary theme of “How We Organise Ourselves”, children focus on how people work together to create products for the community – and with a big focus on interconnection. Children learn that if one person doesn’t do their job the whole system can fall apart. To make the experience immersive, children work in teams to start a small business together. They decide on a product that they can sell to their target market, which is their parents. The activity commonly happens towards the end of the year so there is often a seasonal theme.

There is emphasis on considering a target audience and the children do their own market research, coming up with questions to ask parents via a Google form. Teachers find this a fantastic way for them to learn how to formulate questions (writing to inquire). At Southbank, everything is cross curricula and data gathering work feeds into maths learning. Next the groups think about marketing. There is a talk by a member of staff or parent to help them decide how to communicate their message and then create an advert. Experts are enrolled throughout product development phase to give constructive feedback on the design process and ways to improve the final outcome.

Southbank International School places emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship with global responsibility to young students
Students learn valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, but with strong focus on giving back to their community

Finally, the product goes into production, with each team member assigned their own tasks. They form a production line and make the right number of pieces as per the order forms from parents. Deciding on a suitable price during the market research phase and collecting money (further maths work) to find out how much each team has raised are important parts of the process. They also decide on a suitable charity or environmental cause to support.

Throughout the entire project there is a lot of reflecting on IB Approaches to Learning, particularly focusing on communication and collaboration skills. Everything is seen through the context of the IB – striving to educate students to think beyond themselves and consider their responsibilities in the world.

“The work at Southbank International orientates around entrepreneurship – children focus on making money not for themselves but to ‘give back'”

Entrepreneurship is also introduced through extracurricular activities. Club such as Action Through the Arts offer an opportunity to work together to make a difference. For instance, Southbank International pupils recently made a video on climate action and also created a book for refugee children coming to London from Afghanistan – children drew pictures and the words were translated.

Last term, children (ranging in age from 5 to 9) decided it would be a good idea to fundraise to support young people fleeing the war in Ukraine. The group settled on key chains and bookmarks – determining costs to make units and a fair selling price. The project raised an impressive total of £373 to buy book boxes for Ukrainian children to be given as gifts on arrival in the UK. Children typically spend 10-12 weeks working on Action Through Arts projects, and all the work involved orientates around entrepreneurship, but there is always a focus on making money not for themselves but to ‘give back’.

Southbank International School

Further reading: Knightsbridge School and Place2Be’s wellbeing partnership