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One Toronto Teacher’s Answer to Teaching Kids about Money

6 February 2013

We’ve often talked on this blog about the importance of learning about finances at a young age, and how our children not only should be, but want to be, taught the basics of budgeting and managing their finances in school. And learning money management in school is important.

While it can be highly argued that money lessons simply aren’t being taught in schools as much as they should, what little information is being given to students is often hard-to-digest abstract concepts that students forget about nearly as soon as they’re taught it. By the time they really understand money, they’re in their 20s, have wrecked their credit, and are now wondering how to get out of debt. That was the problem one Toronto teacher recognized with teaching kids about money, and she set out to fix it.

Her answer? To give the kids a project that would have them actually applying concepts such as budgeting and saving to a real-life project. In this case, it was a Halloween party the class was going to hold, and they had $50 to do it.

Over the course of two weeks, the students laboured over the weekly sales fliers, looking to see where the best deals were to purchase the decor and food items they needed for their party. They prepared a budget, thought of ways to cut costs, such as using things they already had on hand and figuring out what they could do without.

The whole point? Aside from the fact that the kids got one great party out of it? The entire process also taught them how to handle money, how to use it properly, and how you don’t always need to use it all.

“This was probably one of the most memorable parties ever because each student realized why that item was there. Every student had a voice in determining what was at the party and they realized what they gave up to have certain things,” said Carolyn Ball, the teacher at Sprucecourt Public School in Toronto’s Cabbagetown.

“It is making it real for them.”

Projects like these are just one of many that have been inspired by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, an organization that’s starting to really focus on teaching young kids about the concepts of money and budgeting.

The idea behind “Talk With Our Kids About Money Day,” which is on April 17, is another idea that’s been created by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education. This day will focus on Grade 7 students and will focus on two key money concepts and components, in conjunction with BMO. This program will be carried through Toronto and Montreal schools, with online resources, activities, and online home programs available to the public.

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