The earnings of an entire town were signed over to Burnaby Hospital recently.
Busytown was a classroom community – complete with nail salon, bank, police station, restaurant and more – formed by Anna Maria Marando’s École Brantford Elementary kindergarten class in May.
It’s a month-long project Marando has run every spring for about five years to give her French immersion students a chance to use their French language skills while learning financial literacy and finding out more about their local community.
Students “apply” for different jobs – police officer is the most coveted, Marando said – and then role-play the workings of a little town in their classroom.
Marando incorporated a fundraising component last year.
During an open house on the final day, parents visit the class and exchange their Canadian currency for Busytown dollars and then spend a day on the town, purchasing goods and services like doctor’s checkups, goodies from the town restaurant and manicures at the nail salon.
“Some brave dads too got their nails done. It was very exciting,” Marando said.
By the end of this year’s open house on May 24, the 20 five-year-olds had earned $100.
They presented the money to the Burnaby Hospital Foundation on June 13.
“The idea of the hospital came up because we did have a little doctor’s office in our classroom for Busytown, so the doctors were really excited to give back,” Marando said.
Many of her students were also born at Burnaby Hospital, she said.
The donation was “absolutely heart-warming,” said foundation CEO Kristy James.
“One hundred dollars may not be the largest donation Burnaby Hospital Foundation has ever received, but in my mind it is certainly among the most meaningful,” she said. “It’s so gratifying to see children this young in our community already learning about financial literacy and giving back.”