Our local school district is one of seven in our state to begin a new initiative that is going to look at ways to redesign how school operates using the State Board of Education’s vision, outcomes and definition of a successful high school graduate.

Recently the elementary school that is the lead in our local initiative had an evening get together with parents to introduce them to the school redesign program and in doing so parents had an opportunity to learn about the 10 criteria which the redesign was aiming to meet.

Among the stages that held priority was the social and emotional learning of the students, as well as building relationships with students and families.

The whole process at this point made me stop and think about some of my learning at the elementary level as compared to today and immediately coming to mind were a couple of specific things that stood out and the one that stood out was the project we had the opportunity to do in fourth-grade for the school’s annual open house.

My fourth-grade teacher, a wonderful lady by the name of Mrs. (Mabel) Stansbury, was an original outside-the-box type of teacher and for the annual open house she gave us students a terrific opportunity to learn several life lessons all at the same time – by running a miniature bakery.

Yes, I said a miniature bakery and for me, it was the Busy Bee Bakery.  Dividing the class into three groups, each group was given a bakery project where we had to design the small stand up bakery stand, select a name for the bakery and design logo and short-term marketing ideas.

Within our group the two leaders for the marketing and design was myself and my good friend Mark Buss.  To this day I can remember the cute little bee figures we came up with and in my mind, is stored a mental picture of the Busy Bee Bakery itself.

A little over a year ago I had the opportunity to be with my good friend Mark at the funeral for our dear teacher and friend, Mrs. Stansbury.  We talked about how that Busy Bee Bakery experience catapulted him to the career he chose in marketing and his many years with Amana.

While Mark and I had a grand time with the design and marketing of the Busy Bee Bakery, I think back and come to grips of the several life learning lessons the experience had for those of us that had the honor of being in a fourth-grade class with a teacher like Mrs. Stansbury.

Beyond the education in marketing and design, we had the opportunity to learn about money as we had to work with a small budget of play money within the planning of our Busy Bee Bakery.  Speaking of money, we all took turns running the ‘register’ during the school open house, meaning we had to know how to read, count and distribute money (remember this was before the day of calculators) in dealing with those that purchased our bread.

Did I mention the bread, we even had to work with recipes to make our own mini loaves of bread, honey bread, as I recall?

People skills, another object of learning with the Busy Bee Bakery education.  People skills from learning how to work together as a team on the bakery project itself, plus working and dealing with the customers (better known as parents) as they checked out our bakery and we each took turns at trying to get folks to buy at least one mini-loaf of bread.  These were people skills we were learning way back in the day, long before we realized even then and even more so now, skills that would be needed within those teen-age jobs at places like the local grocery store or now, fast food eateries.

As I remembered the Busy Bee Bakery, I now look back and thoroughly understand the true education I was receiving – education of several skills which I would use in everyday life of living and working.

So as the local school district looks to redesign how the future generations could be educated, maybe some of those ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas from some 50 years ago could still be considered and maybe used as part of a very valuable life skill education for those young critters running the halls of our local elementary schools of today.

There you have it, another yapping by ‘Grumpy Gramps’.  If you want more from ‘Grumpy Gramps’ then check out the Facebook page of CrossDove Writer.

And for those who may be wondering where ‘Grumpy Gramps’ comes from, well ‘Grumpy Gramps’ comes from those moments when I spew out thoughts and opinions I have developed from being around the walk of life for a while and think someone needs to hear or read them.  When those moments come out a little less than calm and collected, it is those moments when the grandkids seem to cringe, laugh and say, ‘being grumpy, gramps’!!

Until next time – prayers, blessings & happy thoughts – ‘Grumpy Gramps’.

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