Elementary School

The elementary school programs include six sequential themes for kindergarten through fifth-grade students and one capstone experience. Students learn the basic concepts of business and economics and how education is relevant to the workplace. The sequential activities build on studies from each preceding grade and prepare students for secondary school and lifelong JA’s elementary school programs are the foundation of its K-12 curricula.  Six sequential themes, each with five hands-on activities, as well as an after-school and capstone experience, work to change students’ lives by helping them understand business and economics.


Ourselves® uses compelling stories read aloud by the volunteer, along with hands-on activities to demonstrate helping, working, earning, and saving. Five required, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for kindergarten.

Concepts–Barter, Benefit, Buying, Choices, Consumer, Costs, Earning, Entrepreneurs, Giving, Goods, Incentives, Income, Money, Resources, Rewards, Saving, Scarcity, Selling, Spending, Voluntary exchange, Wants, Work.

Skills–Abstract thinking, Coin recognition, Decision-making, Drawing, Following directions, Interpreting information, Listening responsively, Matching, Responsibility, Sequencing, Teamwork.

Our Families® emphasizes the roles people play in the local economy and engages students with activities about needs, wants, jobs, tools and skills, and interdependence. Five required, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for first grade.

Concepts–Business, Choices, Consumers, Economic institutions, Employment, Family, Incentives, Income, Interdependence, Jobs, Needs, Resources, Scarcity, Skills, Tools, Voluntary exchange, Wants, Work.

Skills–Analyzing information, Decision-making, Differentiating, Drawing, Following directions, Interpreting symbols, Listening responsively, Making observations, Map reading, Matching, Teamwork.

Our Community® explores the interdependent roles of workers in a community, the work they perform, and how communities work. Five required, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for second grade.

Concepts–Banking, Business, Choices, Circular flow of money, Community, Division of labor, Economic institutions, Goods, Government, Incentives, Interdependence, Jobs, Money,  Productivity, Taxes.

Skills–Comparing, Critical thinking, Decision-making, Identifying choices, Listening responsively, Making observations, Matching, Problem-solving, Role-playing, Teamwork.

Our City® studies careers, the skills people need to work in specific careers, and how businesses contribute to a city. Five required, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for third grade.

Concepts–Banking, Business, Careers, City, Consumer, Economic institutions, Entrepreneur, Incentives, Income, Jobs, Money, Producers, Quality, Resources, Skills, Specialization, Zones.

Skills–Applying information, Conducting research, Decision-making, Filling out forms, Interpreting directions, Map reading, Math computations, News writing, Role-playing, Teamwork.

JA More than Money® teaches students about earning, spending, sharing, and saving money, and businesses they can start or jobs they can perform to earn money. Six required, after-school, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for grades three-five.

Concepts–Advertising, Banking, Business planning, Consumer, Deposit, Earn, Employee, Estimate, Expense, Goods, Income, Market research, Money management, Profit, Role model, Save, Self-employed, Service, Share, Spend, Withdrawal, Work ethic.

Skills–Active listening, Analysis, Applying information, Brainstorming, Chart data, Compare and contrast, Computation, Critical thinking, Deductive reasoning, Decision-making, Drawing, Evaluating data, Follow written and verbal instructions, Group work, Mind-mapping, Problem-solving, Recording deposits and withdrawals, Role-playing, Self-assessment, Taking turns, Teamwork, Vocabulary building.

Our Region® introduces the relationship between the natural, human, and capital resources found in different regions and explores regional businesses that produce goods and services for consumers. Five required, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for fourth grade.

Concepts– Business, Choices, Economy, Exchange, Expenses, Goods, Incentives, Income, Investment, Products, Profit, Region, Resources, Risk, Scarcity, Services, Specialization, Taxes.

Skills–Comparing, Compiling data, Conducting research, Decision-making, Differentiating, Giving reports, Interpreting data, Math computations, Problem-solving, Reading, Teamwork, Understanding symbols.

Our Nation® provides practical information about businesses’ need for individuals who can meet the demands of the job market, including high-growth, high-demand jobs. Further, it introduces the concept of globalization of business as it relates to production materials and the need for students to be entrepreneurial in their thinking to meet the requirements of high-growth, high-demand careers worldwide. Five required, volunteer-led sessions. Recommended for fifth grade.

Concepts– Advertising, Capital resources, Career preparation, Communication, Competition, Corporation, Demand, Employees, Employers, Engineering, Entrepreneur, Free enterprise, Global competition, Goods, High-growth, High-demand jobs, Human resources, Natural resources, Opportunity costs, Partnerships, Price, Products, Profit, Resources, Resume, Scarcity, Services, Skills, Sole proprietorship, Specialization, Stock, Stockholders, Supply, Technology, Technophile, Technophobe

Skills–Addition and subtraction, Brainstorming, Conceptualizing and designing advertisements, Creative thinking, Critical thinking, Decision-making, Drawing conclusions, Estimating, Evaluation, Following directions, Graphing and graph interpretation, Listening, Map reading, Problem solving, Reading and writing, Reasoning, Role-playing, Teamwork, Verbal communication, Working in groups.

All JA programs are designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These programs also augment school-based, work-based, and connecting activities for communities with school-to-work initiatives.