A brand new kid-friendly hotel concept is underway, and it’s the result of the hard work and creative thinking from the students in Ms. Yessica Barrientos’ prekindergarten class.
How it all started
“Our hotel investigation all began in our dramatic play area one day, when I checked in to get a room with two beds and, of course, a big tub,” explained Ms. Barrientos, who made sure that as she checked in to the PK Hotel, she created several obstacles for them to problem-solve, which also served to gain more of their interest.
“As I ordered room service I said, ‘I would like my dinner by 5:00pm please,’ but they served dinner at 8:00pm,” she shared, as an example of a problem they had to solve. “I asked to speak to their manager and promised to not return to their hotel. I also told them I would leave a bad review.” The purpose of the exercise was to teach her students the importance of compromise and the value of customer service.
The experience was inspiring, and Ms. Barrientos’ students had an idea: they wanted to visit a real hotel, Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel to be specific. It was a great idea, but they knew it was not going to be easy. “As a team, we created a plan to make this trip possible,” said Mr. Barrientos.
The Field Trip
First, the students took the initiative to make an appointment to meet with Mrs. Shelley Lawrence, ECC and Lower School Director. They met with Mrs. Lawrence in her office and asked her for permission to visit the hotel. “She heard all of their great ideas and said, ‘YES!’ ... but the children knew we also had to be accompanied by security,” added Mrs. Barrientos. This is where the determined group encountered another problem to solve.
The students discovered that security was unable to accompany them on the hotel trip. Naturally, they were disappointed to hear this news, but they didn’t give up. “We discussed how we can make this trip possible,” shared Ms. Barrientos. “The students had an idea that some of their moms could come along. I thought it was a great idea and our parents agreed to accompany us on our hotel trip.
Four students from the small prekindergarten group headed out to visit the Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel and immediately took charge of the excursion. “As soon as they walked into Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel they went right up to the front desk and asked if we could walk around and check out their hotel,” Ms. Barrientos shared. “The hotel manager welcomed us and gave us a tour.”
As part of the tour, the manager showed the group one of the bedroom suites; the students noticed there were no bunk beds or small beds for children. “They suggested to the manager that she put bunk beds in her hotel,” added Ms. Barrientos.
Once the group came back to the classroom, they shared their experience with the other students.”They could not get past the fact that there were no bunk beds at the hotel,” shared Ms. Barrientos. So, the hotel group suggested that they build a bunk bed for the classroom. They also had the idea, “What if we ask our construction group to help us build a bunk bed for our classroom?”
Both the hotel and construction groups created a blueprint of the classroom in order to see where a bunk bed would best fit. Then, the hotel group took charge of scheduling a meeting with Mrs. Lawrence to get the project approved. “They learned all about what a budget is and if our school can afford it. The students were determined to raise money to pay for the bunk bed but we received the great news that our school budget can cover the entire cost.”
The construction group took charge of measuring our classroom areas and moving the furniture to make space, and also explained to our hotel group that building furniture is not easy but as a team, they can work together. According to Ms. Barrientos, “The construction group experts also helped the hotel group understand the importance of problem-solving and having patience throughout the building process. They also taught the hotel group how to properly use a hammer and screwdriver. We could not have done this project without Ms. Courtney Burchett and her construction group!”
Check out the final product in the pictures!