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Schools working with industry groups: 
Enterprise Education and Discovering Democracy

Sandra Kenman

Teachers of enterprise education

To illustrate how two sets of materials provided freely to all Australian schools: Making it Happen kit and Discovering Democracy kit might be linked and used for civics and citizenship education. The section on the Maitland Primary School in NSW has been analysed and linked to material in the Discovering Democracy kit. The case study also provides suggestions on linking activities in The Red Cross Community Action Kit which can be purchased from Red Cross Australia.

Links to Curriculum:

Discovering Democracy links

Units: Stories of People and Rulers; Joining In



Schools in Australia have been provided with a kit Making it Happen. This kit was produced by DETYA under its Enterprise Education Programme. Sections of this kit could be used by civics and citizen teachers. Teachers could also use the Discovering Democracy kit when planning enterprise courses. This case study illustrates how these two kits might be amalgamated to provide rich learning experiences for students.

The case study also describes how the Red Cross kit might link to a unit on Enterprise Education and Discovering Democracy.

Making it Happen The Video

Throughout the video, the presenter introduces a number of case studies demonstrating how schools have introduced courses on enterprise education. The case study of particular interest to civics and citizenship teachers is the case study on the Maitland Primary School, NSW.

Maitland Primary School NSW

Life skills Economy Project

Students at the school have established a community with a Prime Minister, a democratic process for electing leaders, their own school currency, a system of banking, a variety of jobs and enterprising projects (selling items), auctions. Students develop skills in campaigning, finance, science, leadership, communication and a host of general life skills. The particular enterprise activities include recycling cans, and crayfish and catfish farms. They have shops where students can sell items. The local council provides a swimming pool pass for environmental work completed satisfactorily and the passes are auctioned to raise funds. Students can save and borrow funds, and a fictitious school bank pays interest at different rates. Students have many opportunities to learn functional literacy and numeracy skills. Technology quests are held once per term eg cubby building contents. Most of the enterprise activities occur before school, after school and lunch time. However, many lessons include enterprise concepts. The presenter uses this case study to illustrate how students can make things happen, rather than merely watch them happen.

Links to the Discovering Democracy kit:

Teachers setting up such a simulation might prepare students for the experience by working the following activities:

Suggested activities

Middle Primary book: Stories of People and Rulers

Who rules? Activity 1 – Ruler for a day;

Should one person rule? Activity 1 Ancient Egypt; Activity 2 Pharaohs of Egypt; Activity 3 Rights and responsibilities; Activity 4 Power pyramid; Activity 6 Egyptian system.

Should the people rule? Activity 1 Majority rules? Activity 2 Direct democracy for a day.

Who rules in Australia? Activity 5 Vote for representatives.

Middle Primary book: Joining In

Why do community groups exist? Activity 1 Introduction. Activity 2 Other groups in the community. Activity 3 Community groups. Activity 4 Community poster. Activity 5 Forming the group. Activity 6 Seeking approvals.

How do groups function? Activity 1 Looking at other groups. Activity 2 Developing a Constitution. Activity 3 The suggested model. Activity 4 Selecting leaders and committee members. Activity 5 Decision making. Activity 6 Meeting procedure Activity 7 Ratifying the constitution.


On this video, teachers and students make comments about their involvement in volunteer work. Young people describe what they have gained from working as active volunteers, and how they might consider this type of work post school. As some of the following contexts are expected to have job shortages in the future, students should benefit by becoming aware of these contexts for possible future job or business opportunities.

Context 1 - Education

Students particularly mention the importance of

  • Communication skills

  • Outcomes achieved.

Context 2 – Environment

Students particularly mention the importance of

  • Skills development eg grounds maintenance, mowing, assessing, dealing with vandalism

  • Using the experience to help finding a work placement

  • Learning about ecosystems and caring for the environment

  • Becoming more aware of the community.

Context 3 - Special Schools

Students particularly mention the importance of

  • Making a difference

  • Having a real sense of achievement

  • Working in a ‘cool’ place.

Context 4 – Welfare

Students particularly mention the importance of

  • Organisations such as Crossroads – Salvation Army

  • Making you realise your own life is OK

  • Skills development eg making and serving meals.

Context 5 – HealthCare

Students particularly mention the importance of

  • Working with children

  • Young people working with young people - closer to their age – easier to communicate

  • Learning what happens in the real world – behind the scenes

  • Clarifying understandings - thought kids would be sicker, but because they are young they are enthusiastic

  • Communication skills

  • Experiencing life.

Context 6 - The Elderly

Students particularly mention the importance of

  • Making a difference in people’s lives

  • Caring for others

  • Learning from people’s past experience

  • A new experience for many students

  • Making a difference to people we work with – a satisfying feeling.

Voluntary work is important.

Red Cross believes in developing humanitarian ideals and breaking down barriers.

Students are putting the principles of Red Cross into practice.

Some possible links with the Discovering Democracy resources:

Joining In – Middle Primary

Page 107 How do groups get things done? Activity 1 Working together. Activity 2 Planning the Environmental Clean Up Day. Activity 3 Using the CD ROMS – Parliament at Work ‘Save the Wombat’ and Stories of Democracy ‘Help Town’. If students take part in a clean up activity, they would complete Activities 4 and 5. The Red Cross Kit provides ideas for other volunteer work.

How can groups make a difference? Activity 1 Evaluating the group activity. Activity 2 Students evaluating their contribution.

How and where in the community can people join it? Activity 1 Local government services. Activity 2 Barriers to joining in. Activity 3 Designing a brochure.


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