Children running businesses, co-operatives and supporting Fairtrade

New Ideals in Education promotes children running their own projects, controlling their own learning, and running their own businesses. In France this was very successful. The children ran co-operatives, some of the earliest were linked to printing. Dr Arthur Brock spoke at the New Ideals Conference on the use of creative work as therapy for shell shocked soldiers, his patients included Wilfred Owen, and how we needed to create healthy children by their schools getting them to express their creativity through work embedded within local culture, art and craft.

“The formation of school co-operatives (see 1923 French Conference) led to wonderful development of this aspect of team work the child – buying and selling in earnest and attending to all the accounting in the same way as would be done in a business undertaking.”

T.J.Gueritte, 20/10/1923 Gloucester Journal

The French school inspector, Cousinet, made presentations on co-operatives in French schools to the French New Ideals Conference, as well as the British.

Homer Lane’s Little Commonwealth

Children running the shop in Homer Lane’s Little Commonwealth 1915. The shop was built by Lord Selfridge, who also had the coins minted. The children earned the money working in the community, on the farm, or building etc, they could spent it at the children run shop or if saved convert it to cash when the children left the farm.

Article in Auckland Star 2 May 1936 promoting Homer Lane’s work and young people running their own shops.

Coin minted for Little Commonwealth by Mr Selfridge.

To launch Fairtrade Fortnight in Tower Hamlets, George Green’s School students are running a miniconference of workshops for primary school children on how to create and run co-operatives to change their communities. They will also be learning of the importance of co-ops in Fairtrade, role-playing Ugandan farmers, an activity created in partnership with the Uganda Co-op Alliance and featured in the Fairtrade Foundation Schools DVD. The United Nations sees Co-ops as helping to improve the lives of half the people on the planet, especially women and young people. The UN sees them also as ‘schools of democracy’.

Download the flyer for the event.

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