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All 4 Each: Co-ops in the Classroom

The Ontario Co-operative Association and its members work with all levels of the Ontario education system to create awareness of co-operative enterprise and educate young people regarding the benefits and opportunities the sector presents. On Co-op has developed projects, materials, and curricula to encourage young people to consider co-ops and credit unions as a viable business enterprise and career option.

The Ontario Co-operative Association has successfully re-introduced education about co-operatives into classrooms in a unique and fun way, through a suite of co-operative educational resources. This program, called All 4 Each, engages students in business, civics, and world studies classes about the 7 principles, the triple bottom line, and other benefits unique to co-operative enterprise all in the context of their standard curriculum. We have created our own lessons that use co-op examples, and are reaching many hundreds of high school students every term. They've become so popular that others are using them in classrooms across the country. Kerr Smith, On Co-op’s Education Manager and author of the program, has received international acclaim for his work on the project, and won the 2012 William Hlushko Award for Young Co-operative Educators from the Association of Co-operative Educators.

Focusing on the connection between co-operative principles and popular concepts in today’s classrooms (e.g., sustainability, democracy, social justice, community), we are engaging students in a profound yet practical manner through the innovative All 4 Each Outreach program, which consists of three primary components:

1. Fully-developed lesson plans that mesh with the provincial curriculum;

2. Train-the-Trainer sessions, with ongoing mentoring opportunities, to develop co-op and presentation skills in sector and youth presenters; and

3. The Create a Co-op Challenge, which leverages the material learned and incents young people to create hypothetical co-operatives.

All 4 Each connects co-op and credit union staff with their local schools by providing them with a suite of fully-developed, interactive and entertaining teacher-created resources, presentations, activities and lessons, which are designed to seamlessly align with the approved local school curriculum. 

The “Train the Trainer” component prepares youth leaders and co-operative sector representatives to present All 4 Each. This provides the trainers with new or augmented skills and creates a sustainable community model where an ongoing relationship can grow between teachers/students, and their local co-operators.

The “Create A Co-op Challenge” reinforces the curriculum material and engages the broader community through viewing and online voting of the youth-created co-ops. The Challenge culminates in a public ceremony where three finalists present their ideas to a co-op and business sector panel. Financial awards and ongoing mentorship opportunities continue to advance the benefits of All 4 Each. Additionally, some teachers and classes have expressed interest in creating youth-focussed credit unions or co-ops within their own schools. Read more by downloading the Program executive summary from the link at right.

The All 4 Each suite of educational resources received first prize in the "Mobilization and Involvement" category, in the 2014 Quebec Summit's International Communications Contest!

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The All 4 Each program ‐ a suite of youth, co‐operative and community engagement initiatives created by the Ontario Co‐operative Association (On Co‐op) ‐ was presented with the Award of Excellence in the Mobilization and Involvement category by the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives.

“It is an incredible honour to be recognized with an international award for All 4 Each,” said Kerr Smith, Education
Manager of On Co‐op. “This affirms that the various components of All 4 Each combine to produce a sustainable,
efficient and effective program for mobilizing and connecting co‐ops and credit unions with their local schools.”

Kerr Smith, Education Manager for On Co-op received the award at the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec City on October 7th. "It is an incredible honour to be recognized with an international award for All 4 Each," said Kerr Smith. "This affirms that the various components of the program combine to produce a sustainable, efficient, and effective program for mobilizing and connecting credit unions with their local schools." 

Now that the program has gained international recognition, it has the potential to reach beyond Canadian borders to bring co-operative values to high schools all around the world. Read the full press release HERE or find it in the downloads section on the right.


The Ontario Co-operative Association has launched a ground-breaking program called “All 4 Each: A unit to inspire a co-operative conscience.” Educators and school administrators are extremely impressed with the award-winning program which is exploding into Canadian classrooms.

This project marks the first time standardized co-operative teachings have taken place in high schools for many years. The lesson manual links directly to a number of the Ontario education system’s curriculum expectations, and is currently being expanded to include sections on financial literacy, aboriginal affairs, local foods and renewable energy. See the Press Release in the Downloads section on the right for more details!

All 4 Each is a core part of On Co-op’s youth engagement and education strategy and is designed to link youth with co-operatives and credit unions in meaningful, relevant and engaging ways. The lessons are written to be instantly accessible for anyone presenting the material regardless of their prior knowledge of co-operatives. As a result, teachers and specially trained young leaders or co-op/credit union staff can bring All 4 Each to life.

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On Co-op is meeting with school boards and educators to demonstrate how the free, five-lesson unit and pre-packaged presentation resources can easily be adapted to a number of classes: from business to civics and world studies. As the interest from school boards and teachers continues to grow, Ontario credit unions are partnering with On Co-op as regional sponsors. These credit unions see the potential in engaging existing young members, as well as potential new members who share the same foundational values (but have not yet been exposed to the co-operative movement). All 4 Each is the perfect way to link your credit union, co-op or school with a community of engaged and energetic individuals who are building better communities.  

Talk to Adam Malloy to find out more about how YOUR school, school board, co-op or credit union can be part of this incredible co-op phenomenon.


The course packs include everything a teacher (or trained session leader) requires to present the lessons, including background material, handouts, assignments, presentation resources and discussion topics. Material is relevant to co-ops and communities across the country and the lessons can be easily presented in any classroom in Canada. 

Specifically, All 4 Each consists of a five-lesson unit cumulating in a final entrepreneurial assignment— generating your own co-op business plan— which can be submitted during On Co-op’s “Create a Co-op” challenge for the chance to win recognition and prizes. Module topics are being expanded to include credit unions, renewable energy and aboriginal affairs.

** Download the basic lesson plans from the Downloads section at the right of this page. This series of five lessons (plus co-op links and other curriculum resources) can be downloaded in PDF format. Hard copy and CD versions, sponsorship packages, promotional materials and a guide that summarizes All 4 Each’s links to the Ontario curriculum are available as well (contact Adam Malloy).**


All 4 Each has generated a huge amount of interest nationally. Co-operatives and educators alike are embracing the easy-to-understand lessons and the depth of the content. The project created buzz at the 2011 Canadian Co-operative Association national congress in Halifax where it was featured, as well as other conferences across Canada.

Every province has expressed interest in presenting the lessons and it has recently been translated into French. On Co-op has even received international inquiries.

Many respected institutions—such as Canada’s provincial co-operative associations, the Canadian Co-operative Association, Arctic Co-operatives Limited and the Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto—recognize the value of the program and have contributed both input and support.

On Co-op’s Education Manager, Kerr Smith, was awarded the 2012 William Hlushko Award for Young Cooperative Educators in response to the programming he’s developed, including All 4 Each. To learn more about the award and Kerr's achievement read the full press release here.


  • Workshops on co-operative concept & enterprise 
  • Workshops on co-operative careers 
  • Facilitate interactive co-op activities during general assemblies 
  • Participate in on-site career days
  • Provide speakers or panelists on various aspects of the co-operative sector, including: an overview of the movement, economic and social impact, the diversity of the co-op sector, etc.
  • Co-operative resources & marketing materials highlighting co-operative information & opportunities

Better Together and Working Together -  two great teacher resources developed a few years ago by On Co-op in partnership with Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. - can be found in the 'Related Documents' area. These documents, and many others, can also be found on the OAFE website.


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