Practicing social skills and work life at a spring bazaar was how students in special education classes set up mini businesses that provide basic understanding of marketing, sales, advertising and work skills.
Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 has made the twice a year bazaar a tradition for 15 years. Students with special needs set up mini-businesses that market and sell their handmade items as a way of learning life and work skills.
The event started small but grew to include other districts that adopted the mini-business model for their special education classes. The most recent bazaar included 53 classes of students in Autism support, life skills, and learning support. 14 classes were from IU13, and the others were from schools in Lancaster and Lebanon counties.
While the emphasis was on sales for the students, adults agreed that there was a more important aspect to the activity. Students practiced functional communication, making eye contact and using appropriate speech. Teachers offered prompts for social skills.