ISF students learn business management fundamentals

ISF students learn business management fundamentals

Students at the International School of Florence are embarking on a fashion business venture.

Mon 25 Mar 2024 10:42 AM

Dr. Seuss once said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. This is the spirit with which 5th graders at the International School of Florence are creating their own small fashion businesses as part of their learning in their final year of primary school. 

This amazing learning journey is currently underway at the ISF Junior School, giving students full immersion exposure to entrepreneurship and the fundamentals of business management. The project is a skyrocketing success and the learning is profound. One parent described his son’s excitement as “off the charts”. Grade 5 teachers Jennifer Walkley and Mike Terrell have taken on Fashion and Business for this year’s Grade 5 IB Primary Years Programme Exhibition and the positive repercussions are school-wide. In providing mentoring, teachers from other classes are involved as well, and there is a collective and collaborative buzz of excitement. 

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) exhibition represents a significant event in the life of a PYP school and student, synthesising the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community. As a culminating experience, it is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP. Students are required to engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems.

This year’s business and fashion focus has small groups of students creating businesses in fashion, completing all the necessary steps from dreams, idea generation and vision to sourcing materials, production, sales and marketing. Two Grade 5 parents with knowledge and experience in creating businesses acted as the catalysts for the project and are offering their guidance throughout the whole process. Fashion and artisan craftsmanship are significant traditions in Florence and Tuscany, providing a rich local cultural heritage, making the students’ inquiries relevant and meaningfully connected to the context in which they live.

Dreams are where businesses begin, and this is how the exhibition began. Students ignited their creativity, curiosity and fascination through personal experiences and a series of field trips and workshops. They were introduced to prominent local businesses in Florence, including Ferragamo, Luisa Via Roma and Le Vanità, to see and experience real aspects of the trade at their most professional and highly functioning levels. At Stefano Ricci, the famous Florence family business selling men’s luxury fashion, they were able to see the whole production process. In a trip to Antico Setificio Fiorentino in the centre of Florence, they observed the antique looms of the silk factory founded in 1786. They even saw the vertical warper believed to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci. They learned about sustainability and production considerations, including issues such as animal rights and sourcing of raw materials. The common themes across these visits were the passion, resilience and courage exhibited by the founders of these successful businesses, and they represent the uniquely Florentine experience of ISF education

So, whether you are on the market for elegant fashion, 1970s-inspired dresses, home furnishings, sports apparel or samurai shoes, there are soon-to-be start-up small businesses at ISF to fulfil market needs!

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