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Lauderdale Primary making learning real with T-Op Shop

A GRADE four class at Lauderdale Primary School have made “second-hand clothes the new cool” by setting up its very own ‘T-Op Shop’ to help reduce the amount of clothing waste that is produced in the world.

The T-Op Shop, setup by grade four teacher Rachael Coombe’s class, contains a number of t-shirts and tops of all descriptions that have been donated by students and families from the Lauderdale community and surrounding areas.

“We’ve done a lot of investigation on the effects of waste on the world and how it is impacting the environment, and we are aiming to make a difference to our planet,” Mrs Coombe said.

Selling for just two dollars per item, Mrs Coombe said the T-Op Shop had raised approximately $500 in the eight weeks it had been operational, with the finish date set for the end of the year.

“We’ve decided to give half the money that we raise to Give Me 5 For Kids and the other half of the money will go towards the children’s educational materials,” she said.

“We’re open every morning before school, every Monday after school and also lunch times on Wednesday to give everyone an opportunity to come and get clothing.

“It has been absolutely amazing and we’ve been run off our feet – we put on sales and have a few things up our sleeves to entice customers to keep coming back.”

Mrs Coombe said the experience of the T-Op Shop was teaching the children a number of real-life skills.

“They’re learning firsthand how to run a business and there are a lot more skills involved than just selling clothing or preventing waste,” she said.

“There’s a lot of cooperation required, kindness and honesty as the children are dealing with money.”

The students have been given different roles in the operation such as managers, accountants, and chief executive officer.

Ten-year-old Linn was an accountant and said she really enjoyed learning how to handle money and making a difference in the world.

“I really like how the whole class is involved – we always change managers, accountants and CEOs every so often,” she said

“We’re learning how to work cooperatively and to help each other because a lot of people are part of it and it’s not just one person doing one thing.”

Lauderdale Primary School principal Tracey Johnston said it was great to see the students drive an entrepreneurial initiative.

“They’re doing maths, science and English all in the one area,” she said.

“It’s taking the basic skills all children need to learn, but making it authentic and realistic using higher-order thinking.”

Ms Johnston said there were a number of real-world experiences like the T-Op Shop going on throughout the school.

“We’ve got our waste warriors who are planning whole school activities to cut down waste and raise money to get some recycle bins throughout the school, we have scientists come in and take science classes, and our younger students have been building bandicoot bunkers,” she said.

Caption: Rachael Coombe’s grade four class at Lauderdale Primary School have been selling t-shirts and tops to help reduce the amount of clothing waste that is produced in the world.