Money Smarts

May 19, 2016 - 5 minutes read

Talking to our kids about money is a responsibility of the home and school.  In fact, building financial literacy is a lifelong process and students as young as kindergarten and younger can benefit from early discussions about money.
To bring attention to the importance of talking with our kids about money and to help get the conversation started, Ridgeview students participated in the “Talk With Our Kids About Money Day” held this past month (and celebrated the third Wednesday of each April).

Talk With Our Kids About Money Day is an initiative which in the past year saw 2,020 schools and over 400,000 students across Canada participate.  Classroom and subject teachers were encouraged to engage in conversations with students about money.  A comprehensive, creative, collaborative approach to healthy financial conversations was encouraged.  Some ideas discussed included:

Science:  How can we save money and help the environment?

Math:  How do you balance a personal budget?

Language Arts:  Read a newspaper article and discuss countries and currency.

Social Studies:  What motivated the start up of the Hudson’s Bay company?

Arts Education:  Listen to a money song and create a collage depicting needs versus wants.

Health Education:  Compare and contrast a weekly menu:  eating out versus eating homemade food.

Career Education:  Conceptualize and implement a small enterprise in your school…Dragon Den style.

A cross curricular approach to teaching financial literacy was also explored by Mr. Blackburn’s grade 6 students who participated in a program called Start Up Skool.

Start Up Skool is a program designed to work with teachers in the classroom to help transform youth into critical thinkers, problem solvers, creators, and ethical entrepreneurs.  Start Up Skool challenges students to make a pitch, Dragon’s Den style, in order to apply for a loan that they can use to start an ethical business.

The grade 6 students pitched a smoothie business, which they called “Instasnacks” (follow them on Instagram!).  After some research, the team decided that they would donate the profits from their business to the Free the Children charity.  The pitch was a success, and the marketing, operations, finance and product design teams worked hard to turn a $200 loan into a successful business.  After their very first sale, Instasnacks was not only able to pay back the loan, but also raised over $600 for Free the Children.

Together, the students learned about entrepreneurship, collaboration, leadership the importance of giving all components of financial literacy.

There are numerous resources for parents to support the teaching of financial literacy.  One site, Money Coaches provides quick tips to get you started.

Gail Vaz Oxlande’s blog, Making Money Make Sense​, is also an excellent resource .

Gail emphasizes that teaching kids a healthy, balanced attitude towards money begins when kids are young.  She provides lots of tips and strategies so support raising Money-Smart Kids.

It is no surprise that Kindergarten teachers Mrs. Daudlin and Mrs. Campbell promote many Money-Smart strategies learned from Gail in their recent blog post Talk to Our Kids about Money on  their website The Self Regulated Teacher.
There are many storybooks that emphasize financial literacy for primary students. Staff top picks are:

  • Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz, and
  • Bunny Money written by Rosemary Wells

Research shows the importance of starting the conversation about money early in order to promote the development of positive skills, attitudes and behaviours toward money.  Financial literacy, like all other forms of literacy needs to be taught explicitly and practiced in real life contexts both at home and at school.  Here’s to raising the next generation of money-smart kids!