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Educate and Foster Entrepreneurship Through MicroSociety (Co-Sponsored)

Educate and Foster Entrepreneurship Through MicroSociety (Co-Sponsored)

Workforce Development Provincial Policy

Workforce Development - Provincial Policy

Sponsor: Red Deer
Co-Sponsor: Medicine Hat


The MicroSociety program is underutilized, yet an incredibly  effective  learning tool that helps students develop invaluable skills resulting in higher student engagement and grades.


MicroSociety create   learning   environments   in   grades   K-12   allowing   students   to   apply   classroom knowledge  to  a  real-world setting. The MicroSociety learning  environment  offers  students  authentic, hands-on  learning  through  the  creation  and  experience  of dynamic  miniature  societies,  reinforced  by educators with classroom curricula. Schools include government, entrepreneurial hub, non-profits, and marketplaces all created and managed by students and facilitated by teachers. 

Students  are  the MicroSociety government,  their  bankers,  police,  store  managers/owners,  clerks, accountants. They pass laws on taxation, they borrow money to buy a business, they apply for jobs and they hire and fire others. They create and their own goods and services, contribute to community service projects  (local  charities),  and  are  responsible  for  solving  their  own  problems.  They  do  job  evaluations, bookkeeping and profit-loss graphing, followed by analysis. 

Schools  that  have  chosen  to  institute  a MicroSociety program  have  seen  significant  improvements  in attendance,  student  engagement,  and  the  grades  of  participating  students.  Aspen  Heights  Elementary School  in  the  City  of  Red  Deer  was  struggling  with  a  shrinking  student  population, along  with  poor attendance and student grades. 

After initiating the program in 2009, Aspen Heights Grade Three Provincial Achievement tests went from 64%  acceptable  and  5%  excellent  in  2009-2010  to  92%  acceptable  and  16%  excellent  in  2011-2012. Discipline referrals to administration dropped from 55 in 2009-2010 to 14in 2011-2012. The school also sees  higher  than  average  student  and  parent  satisfaction  and  higher  attendance.  The  percentage  of parents,  teachers  and  students  who  are  satisfied  that  students  model  the  characteristics  of  active citizenship was 96% at Aspen Heights compared to 80% average in the Red Deer School District and 82.5% provincially.

Aspen Heights has been the recipient of a number of education awards including the Ken Spencer Award for  Innovation  in  Teaching  and  Learning  (2017)  and  the  Alberta  Emerald  Foundation  Award  for Environmental Excellence (2017). Aspen Heights was able to replicate similar success stories seen across 251  schools  in the United States.  Despite  the  success  of  the  program, there  are  only 3  schools  in  all of Alberta utilizing a MicroSociety model.  

Alberta Education outlines several core competencies by The Three E’’s; engaged thinkers, ethical citizens, and entrepreneurial spirits. Those core competencies include critical thinking, problem solving, managing information, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, cultural and global citizenship, and personal  growth  and  well-being.  Students  show  strong  development  in  the  areas  of  mental  health, resiliency,  confidence,  and  financial  literacy.  Educators  and  parents  have  described  the  MicroSociety Program as being an excellent tool in helping students foster and develop these essential skills. Skills that are key to student’s future success. 

In an analysis comparing 13 MicroSociety and 13 regular schools in Florida with similar demographics, the MicroSociety schools  consistently and  significantly  outperformed  in  reading  and  math  with  the  gap expanding  over  time.13Beyond  exceeding  standards  at  basic subjects,  students  also  gain  invaluable experience solving real world problems. “During Micro-Time, students often counter unanticipated and messy  problems -settling  a  contractual  dispute  among  students,  figuring  out  how  to  turn  around  an unprofitable business, writing and then effectively enforcing legislation to reduce bullying -are dynamic dilemmas which provide opportunities for students to apply their school learning in authentic contexts. 

While MicroSociety models do come with some marginal training costs and involve a degree of complexity to  initially  set  up  and  administer, the  program  provides  a  significant  net  benefit  through  its  ability  to attract and retain students while fulfilling and exceeding curriculum requirements. 


The Alberta Chambers of Commerce recommends the Government of Alberta:

1.Work with MicroSociety to develop and distribute a guide and toolkit for schools that want to have a MicroSociety

2.Encourage Alberta school boards to create MicroSocieties in k-8 schools across the province with the goal of at least 1 per district by 2025.


“MicroSociety,” 10 February 2018.
“MicroSociety”, Aspen Heights Powerpoint Presentation. February 23, 2018 
“Red    Deer    school    puts    society    under    the    microscope,” Teachers Association. 10 February 2018.
“Data from 13 MicroSociety and 13 Control schools,” Kutzik and Associations (2005.)
“Solving Real World Problems,” 12 Feburary 2018.

Date Approved: May 2018
Date Renewed: May 2021

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