I grew up in South Africa where we had little to no social welfare system. As a result we were known as a very entrepreneurial people. You’ve never seen anyone with a bag of maize, a giant pot and some polystyrene plates till you’ve a South African turning a profit on the side of the road!
With that in mind, let me tell you about Clever Tykes books. There are three books in the series, currently, and they are aimed at children aged 6-9.
“The stories follow three separate protagonists as they each realise that there is something they are especially good at or passionate about, and they set about making this into their own venture. The stories are fantastic reading books in their own right and incorporate the target literacy and numeracy skills for the specific age range. The entrepreneurial messages are subtle whilst important characteristics such as innovation, independence, goal-setting, hard work and resourcefulness are promoted.”
In Walk-It, Willow, the character Willow loves dogs, and loves walking them. Willow is asked to walk one of the dogs, which she realises she could turn into a job, and earn some money. She puts the word out about her new business, and soon finds herself walking 6 dogs – all at once on one particularly stormy day.
In this story, children learn about honesty and planning as well as managing mistakes in the workplace – all in a story context that they can relate to.
Code-It Cody is in computer class when a competition is announced to create a game. Through the development of the book, Cody learns to do market research, he discovers the amount of work that goes into developing a new product and he learns about what’s important to his target market. He also discovers that he needs to improve his own skills to be able to provide what his potential buyers want. On top of all that he has to prepare a pitch that makes his product stand out from the rest of the class.
Ameli’s favourite was Change It, Cho. Cho realises that everyone in her town eats a lot of junk food, and wants to start encouraging better diets.
Cho begins raising awareness about healthy eating but gets a frosty response from the shopkeeper. After the local council tells her she can’t start her own fruit stall in the village, Cho is faced with her biggest challenge ever.
Cho goes through all the steps of starting a new project, including researching her project, presenting her ideas and learning about supply and demand.
The authors suggest that you can integrate the the books into maths or numeracy tasks.
The Clever Tykes series are lovely books, written in an easy-to-read style with enough illustrations to keep children engaged, but enough words that it’s aimed at those who can already read to themselves. I must admit I was really surprised by these books. They are the first chapter-style books that Ameli has read entirely to herself, and that she’s been thoroughly engrossed by. We were camping when I gave her the first book to read, and I didn’t see her again for over an hour. When I asked again, she had finished the book!
Another evening I sent her up to bed with another book, and the next morning told me she’d finished it before going to sleep. I confess I didn’t really believe her, till she told me the story! She loves the stories and actually wants to read them again, and I can’t actually imagine what could be a bigger indicator of how good they are!
If you’d like to turn them into more formal learning, the Clever Tykes website has a downloadable resource pack (£9.99). The guide provides chapter walk throughs of all three books highlighting important concepts and opportunities for discussions and associated tasks. It also includes 18 lesson plans for more structured learning and additional exercises and project-based learning creates hours of valuable enterprise education. And if you’re not sure about buying you can try the free enterprise pack first.
These books are available from a range of suppliers, including their own website and Amazon: