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Experiencia’s Exchange City: Teaching Life

Posted on April 19, 2007

Exchange CityI was introduced to an innovative company called Experiencia the other day by its’ Chairman, Howard Tullman. Experiencia runs two distinct learning programs called Exchange City and Earth Works but this post will focus on Exchange City in particular.

Exchange City is a miniature city in which children are immersed in “real life.” Together the students run the entire city for one whole day. They elect a mayor, start and run businesses, take out bank loans, get paid, run the TV station, manage the bank and do a number of other things to keep the city moving forward.

This experience, as you can imagine, is much more than play. The amount of responsibility these kids undertake throughout the day is sizeable. For example, businesses that take loans need to work to repay them by the end of the day. The businesses also need to monitor their electricity usage, have the phone service come set-up their phone lines and pay their bills.

The program is fantastic (I wish I had it when I was growing up) and it gets the 4 - 6 graders who participate in the program thinking about the real world and what they may want out of work when they get older. It is very important to instill this type of real world experience early on but, unfortunately, the public schools (for the most part) simply don’t have the budget to put something like this together on their own so it is great that there are programs like Experiencia’s Exchange City out there. Hopefully the Exchange City concept will move to more cities going forward so that other students around country can have a chance to experience life.

Check out the Exchange City video for a look at the program.

Side note: Experiencia also runs Earth Works which gives children the opportunity to learn about careers in Science through an immersive program that involves many interesting situations and unique animals.

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