Fourth grade students at The Lamplighter School oversee a chicken-raising and egg-selling corporation that integrates entrepreneurship into the curriculum. Lamplighter Layers, now in its 47th year, teaches students to apply academic skills to the hands-on operation of a real business that involves selling thousands of eggs and donating most of the profit to charities, including UNICEF and the SPCA of Texas.
Students also gain valuable lessons in economics, politics, farming, and marketing. As company stockholders, they review reports detailing the current value of the stock, income, expenses, sales, egg production, and dividends—and have the final say on philanthropy. Crew leaders oversee teams responsible for feeding; egg collecting, cleaning and preparation; washing and filling water buckets; recording data; marketing; and selling eggs during carpool.
“We take really good care of the chickens,” says Abeera Amer proudly, “so they lay many eggs for us!” Her classmates also enjoy the philanthropic experience. Aditya Shivaswamy likes being someone “who helps make other people and animals’ lives better.” Shaina Starr is glad to be on the dividend committee, “because we get to decide what charities to help.”
“From writing reports to calculating profits and stock values, Layers provides students opportunities to apply academic skills to a hands-on exploration of a business,” says faculty member Jody Stout.
Head of School Dr. Joan Hill agrees. “These are skills you need in life to be successful, both personally and professionally. Lamplighter children will succeed wherever they go; the school has taught them to be leaders.”