Enterprise workshops with Year 4s

I recently ran a 3 hour workshop for Year 4s in a Northumberland school.  I must admit that I was quite nervous about running the workshop because, although I knew the exercises and the process worked, I hadn’t ever run it with children.  I was stepping into the unknown.

By the end of the first exercise I realised there had been no need to worry.   Whilst I had anticipated that there would be no need to spell out that no idea is a bad idea at the idea generation stage, something that adults do need reminding of, I had not expected the children to demonstrate such clear ownership of their projects almost immediately.

I worked at Procter and Gamble for nearly 20 years and ownership is one of their core values.  One of the most rewarding aspects of working for P&G is that you are given your own projects from day one, you learn on the job and you are trusted to deliver your work without your manager overseeing every tiny step.   In order to be able to deliver in this environment you need to take real ownership of your projects, which means taking the initiative to work through problems and find solutions, thinking ahead and going above and beyond what has been asked of you.

There were many moments when the children demonstrated true ownership – here are just 3 of them:

  • One hour into the workshop and each team had identified a product they were going to make and sell, they each presented their idea back to everyone before breaking for lunch. There was a concern about one of the ideas as it was very complex to make, so in the staff room it was agreed one person would have a chat with the team after lunch and suggest an alternative.  However as I walked back into the classroom that team approached me to say that they had been discussing the project over lunch and had realised it was going to be very complicated to make their product so they had changed their idea.   I was so proud that this team of 9 year olds had firstly been so engaged by the project that they had spent their lunch time discussing it and secondly had identified the exact concern we had and came up with their own solution.
  • A second team also approached me and said they were changing their product as they too had been discussing it over lunch and had realised that the team lacked a vital skill that was needed to make the product – they had thought ahead and adapted their plans when realising the skills gap.
  • Another team, during the course of the afternoon came up with a company name and a song about their product (essentially a marketing jingle). Again they had not been asked to consider this but they were thinking ahead to later stages of the project and what might be needed.

To find out more about our work in schools visit http://rainbowpotterypainting.co.uk/schools/past-projects/