Learning to handle a budget is something many people don’t learn until there are out on their own — even then, some adults still aren’t great at it.
Rianna Brown, fifth grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, was inspired by another teacher to starts a program where her students learn about money management and are able to help their families with some expenses. Students earn “good bucks” for attendance, good behavior, showing kindness and more. At the end of the week, they can spend their money in the Care Store. Instead of just items like toys, candy or self rewards, you will find hygiene items, household needs like dish soap, laundry detergent and even food like mac n cheese, noodles and more.
“We do a ‘Care Store’ every week on Friday, they earn money either by coming to school or good behavior or acts of kindness, stuff like that,” she said. “I always thought that was a good idea, I know how every family is and the kids really like it being able to be part of the family and help by bringing something home. It makes them feel responsible and a part of their family and just learning what it costs to have their own house.”
Brown said her students get lots of “thank yous” from their families and lots of encouragement to do well in school.
Something Brown noticed is her students take hygiene seriously.
“The biggest thing they enjoy is they get to buy shampoo and conditioners, toothpaste and stuff like that,” she said. “Every fifth-grader likes to have their own stuff, so I think it gives them a sense of pride, ‘I work really hard and I bring this home’ not just laundry soap to make mom happy. It gives them a sense of pride of doing a ‘grown up’ thing and also ‘I worked hard to get to that.’”
Stock comes from donations and sponsors according to Brown.
“Without the sponsors, I could never do that store,“ she said. “Our furthest sponsor lives in New York.”
The store isn’t the only thing sponsored in Brown’s classroom, which also explains the gifts all over her classroom for each student. Friday afternoon they had a Christmas party.
“Every child has a specific sponsor. I have businesses from all over — Lawton, Cache, Comanche, here in Duncan,” Brown said. “Our room is completely packed with presents, we have bikes hidden in other classrooms to give them. It’s going to be a great afternoon. We are all in our pajamas just like if we woke up on Christmas morning.”
The biggest thing Brown wants she said is for her families to be taken care of.
“I hope it helps their families. I love all my students and all my families,” she said. “I have a very good relationship with them, I talk to their families all the time making sure my students don’t go without anything.”
To make donations to the Care Store, contact the school office at 580-255-8107.