Yesterday, I, along with twenty-seven employees from Experian, had the opportunity to spread financial literacy to youngsters in the Greater Boston area. We partnered with the Junior Achievement of Northern New England (JA), whose overall mission is to educate and inspire students from kindergarten to eighth grade about financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
I had the opportunity to go back to kindergarten for a day and share my knowledge about money, earning, and saving with twenty-one kindergartners. JA gave every volunteer a quick training on how to successfully teach your sessions and provided a curriculum for us to follow. The curriculum gave me many opportunities, and even encouragement, to interject my own experiences and knowledge about these topics.
There were five lessons, ranging from what money is, to how to earn money, to learning how to make money-conscious decisions. Each lesson introduced the students to a new topic about financial literacy or making smart decisions, and ended with a hands-on activity. Each activity also incorporated important skills that can be used in and outside of the classroom: counting, making smart decisions, following directions, listening, and teamwork, just to name a few.
My favorite lesson I taught yesterday was called “Do I need what I want?” In this lesson, I taught my kindergartners that there is a difference between a need and a want. We learned how to recognize the difference between wanting something and actually needing something. In this lesson, students participated in an "I spy" poem that I sang to add some entertainment and fun to the lesson. The students were very engaged in this activity and were enthusiastic to have a turn in finding items and deciding if each was a want or a need.
I had the opportunity to participate in Junior Achievement when I was a child, so I have a very special place in my heart for JA. My favorite part of yesterday was seeing the students take what they learned in each lesson and understand how that concept works in real life situations. I also really enjoyed talking to them about what they wanted to be when they grow up, because we’re all still trying to figure that out too, right?
As an adult, I make money-conscious choices every day. I found it very interesting to hear a five-year-old's perspective on money and how they see the world, and see how it compares to my own views. I had an extremely rewarding experience and cannot wait to volunteer again soon!
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