Saturday 22 September 2018

'Very good if you're feeling stressed in school' - Young Irish students target mindfulness... and erasers

Julia Murphy
Julia Murphy

Laura Lynott

EVEN a junior entrepreneur might need to engage in a spot of mindfulness every now and then and, of course, every practical business person needs an erasers to erase their less than perfect plans.

And one national school in Skerries, north Co Dublin, St Brendan’s, has come up with top notch ideas to fill every business person or student’s drawer.

The school - which took part in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) - designed two separate and innovative products under the name ‘Chillows and Sciosan’.

One set of pupils produced traditional Irish rubbers - crafted from cornflower and silicon - selling bucketloads of the handy stationery for just €2 each.

While another entrepreneurial set of pupils from sixth class produced ‘chillows’ handmade, scented mindfulness pillows to help the “stressed out” pupil or businessperson relax for five precious minutes in their busy day.

The product amassed the children a healthy €684 profit and in this busy age, it is hardly a surprise.

Pupil Orlagh Callan, who came up with the brand name ‘chillows,’ said:  “It’s very good if you’re feeling stressed in school that you can get the chillow out of your bag.

“A student had said ‘let’s make mindfulness pillows’ and I thought of the name ‘chillows’ and people said it was really good.

“We had meetings and put ideas down and figured out what to do.  I think I might make a business for myself and I have hopes for the future.”

Fellow pupil and ‘chillows’ business guru, Julia Murphy, also from sixth class, said:  “The chillows are made from scratch, from a soft fabric. You lean your head on one and can take your chillow and listen to a soundtrack, for five or ten minutes, while you put your head down.

“To relax and take five minutes out of your day, is very good, especially when you’re working hard.”

The children invested €50 each into the ‘chillows’ and Julia, along with all the other pupils, has become inspired to see the potential in producing Irish made products to earn a living.

Julia said, after her learning experience, she now believed entrepreneurs are “amazing, smart people.”

Matty Scott, another pupil from St Brendan’s, told how it had proven difficult to source the materials to make the traditional rubbers but that after launching a marketing team, this process became more streamlined.

And inevitably the students had to engage in some cleaning, arming themselves with cloths and hoovers, during the production process.

But in the end, the hard work paid off, according to Matty, who admitted the “best thing” about being a junior entrepreneur is to “take a risk, go with your ideas and see if it works.”

“I think it’s nice seeing someone using our rubbers in class and then they tell their friends to go get one,” Matty said.

JEP has produced €140,000 profits in 2018 for children across the country, who’ve invested in their own ideas and products.

The programme is creating a roadmap for young minds to realise they can build their own futures as businesspeople.

According to a JEP survey teachers have witnessed “improved confidence, team building, communications and independence” in children who have taken place in the initiative.

JEP is open to fifth and sixth class pupils from across Ireland and to P6 and P7 in Northern Ireland.  The scheme for this year is open for new applications until Friday, September 28. If your school would like to enter the Junior Entrepreneur Programme 2019, click here

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