Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kidsville a Lesson in Society Kids Take Roles in Pretend Village

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kidsville a Lesson in Society Kids Take Roles in Pretend Village

Article excerpt

WAYCROSS -- Children sometimes play school.

But several days a week, fourth- and fifth-graders at Memorial

Drive Elementary School pretend to work at the post office, at

factories, the police department and, yes, at school.

Kidsville, a micro-community within the Ware County school, was

started four years ago as a hands-on way of teaching students

math and reading, said Maurie DeVane, chairwoman of the school's

micro-education program.

So far, Kidsville has been successful. And the program, which

is funded through state grants and private contributions as part

of Georgia's Next Generation Schools Project, will continue to

grow, DeVane said.

Three times a week, the school's children go to jobs at the

Kidsville Post Office, the First Bank of Kidsville, the

Kidsville Bureau of Investigation, several factories, a supply

house and the mall.

On Friday, Lyndsi Williams was at one of the factories in the

transformed cafeteria buying stationery for resale at the post

office, her current job assignment.

"It's fun," she said. "You've got to add, and you've got to do

it right."

The program educates by using practical skills, such as

balancing government budgets and paying wages and taxes.

"A lot of people were just sitting around brainstorming about

what you could do to make school relevant" before the program

got started, said Pam Jackson, assistant superintendent for

instruction in Ware County.

"It started with a question students ask that I have always

thought was a good question: 'Why do I have to learn that?'"

On the other side of the cafeteria Friday, students lined up to

withdraw Kidsville scrip from the bank. They can use the play

money to buy stationery and plants from the greenhouse or to

play games at the town's health club.

"We think our test scores have gone up, in math especially,"

DeVane said. "Everybody has a personal checking account. …

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