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4-Year-Olds Learn About Entrepreneurship

“Camila’s Lemonade Stand” author visits Potomac Nursery School.

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Potomac Nursery School Teacher Barbara Haas reads “Camila’s Lemonade Stand” to her 4-year-old class.

— “If you could start your own business — any business you wanted, what would you choose?” asked teacher Barbara Haas to her class of 4-year-olds at Potomac Nursery School. The question prompted answers from the children of “I would have a business where I could take care of animals” to “I would want to make delicious food for people.” Some wanted to become home builders, doctors or fire-fighters; others wanted to become lawyers to help other people.

But the idea of entrepreneurship — and starting your own business became a reality to each of the children as Haas read them a book written by Potomac resident Brian Cunningham.

After the reading, Cunningham addressed the children, telling them about his own entrepreneurship experiences and describing why he decided to put his ideas into a book for pre-schoolers. “I was a physicist, then a salesman and a CEO of a company. Now I’m a writer of books,” said Cunningham.

“Camila’s Lemonade Stand” is the first in a series of six early learning career guides for Pre-K kids that will eventually be part of a comprehensive preschool to college career discovery program. The book demonstrates how ingenuity and perseverance help Camila to launch her lemonade business and to endure through creativity even when problems arise. The illustrations by Lizzy Duncan capture the attention of children while the dialogue teaches them entrepreneurial principles.

After Haas finished reading the book, she highlighted one of the important messages of the book, “Never give up.” The children agreed that they needed to work hard like Camila did — and not give up like Camila’s friends Jaden and Beth. Jaden and Beth had opened a cookie stand and an ice cream stand, right next to Camila’s lemonade stand. However, when it started to rain and the sun got too hot, their businesses had problems, so Camila acquired them, protecting the cookies from the rain and turning the melted ice cream into milkshakes.

The children were excited to meet an author. Cunningham sat with them and answered their questions about the book. When asked why he decided to become an author, he said, “I wanted to help children to understand and think about what they want to be when they grow up — and also to explore the idea of starting a business. You can be whatever you want to be — just commit yourself to working hard. Always say, ‘I’m going to do it. I’ll keep working until I’m successful.’”

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Author Brian Cunningham discusses why he decided to write “Camila’s Lemonade Stand” to Potomac Nursery School 4-year-old students.

“Discover a path where your passions can shine” is another central message of “Camila’s Lemonade Stand.” The book also includes questions for children to think about after they read the book: “Why would you start a business? What would you like to sell? Who could help you? What would you need to prepare for? What might go wrong? How could you fix it?”

“I think the book is a fabulous way to introduce career exploration to young children,” said Haas. “We are planning to read it again when we set up our own lemonade stand in the classroom. I’m pleased that the children have the opportunity to start thinking about their futures.”

Potomac Nursery School is located at 12300 Falls Road, Potomac. For more information, email Rebecca Mancuso at potomacnursery@aol.com or view its website at www.potomacnurseryschool.com.