Adventures in Middle School

Bringing the shepard FINANCIAL message to kids, getting our minds blown.

As many of you know, we are developing an educational arm, Currency Camp, which will start out teaching kids to know & embrace their natures then move into much needed financial literacy skills. The first actionable step, we thought, was to talk with people we know in the financial and educational worlds to get their thoughts and advice. We were invited into a classroom right away, and it was an amazing experience.

A friend made through business networking, (2 Degrees Portland), happens to be a teacher with the Jobs for Maine Graduates program, (JMG), at Freeport Middle School.  She was about to launch into a unit on self-awareness. Our philosophy of the 7 human natures fit right in with her curriculum, so we decided to collaborate on a 4-day adventure teaching 11-14 year-olds about their superpowers. Here is a short look at some of the things we learned:

  1. No matter how much they may roll their eyes, middle schoolers are curious about themselves and life around them, and they want supportive, useful information. They’ll even go home and talk with their parents about it. They’ll even dream about it!
  2. Middle School students are as able to make the most out of a “learnable moment” as educators are able to make out of a “teachable moment.” The level of interaction, engagement, and the types of questions the students asked were unexpectedly deep & relevant.
  3. The pre-teach/discover/interact/reflect model is highly enjoyable, no matter one’s nature. We started with an overview of the natures, a developmentally-appropriate survey to discover theirs, a game that got their bodies & minds active, and finished with summaries of their experiences in their own words.
  4. This material, so far, seems to be easier for kids to grasp, accept, and integrate than for adults.

After the last day with the students, we talked about what we experienced and observed. Given that last take-away, we wondered what happens as we get older that closes our minds to new information. Is there a reason adults seem to struggle to embrace certain information while kids can easily relate to it? What does it mean for us that we seem to develop an inability to embrace deeper self-knowledge and strategies for honest, true personal evolution?

This experience has motivated us to continue to develop our educational program, Currency Camp. Though this time we focused on the 7 natures, we have plans to go back during their financial literacy units, and we expect to have our minds blown again.