Financial literacy is important, and it should be integrated into modern education for all children. Students of today shoulder a lot of burden. Sending them out into the world without a financial education is an injustice that results in a lifetime of hardship. While it can be difficult to teach children and young adults about money, there are some creative lessons available that can make the job easier and help ensure that they are prepared for their future.
The key is to start with an age-appropriate lesson. Later financial lessons will build on your foundation. Financial literacy for school children can be divided up into three main categories by grade level. General money knowledge begins in elementary school. Middle school students build on their financial literacy foundation by beginning to learn how to manage money. High school students can prepare for financial independence with valuable lessons about responsible financial management skills.
Elementary School: The Basics
It’s never too early to foster financial literacy in children. Elementary school is a great place to teach children the basics of exchanging money for goods and services. Teaching elementary age school children about money can be fun. Many educators incorporate games into lesson plans about money. This leads to open discussions and demonstrations about saving, spending and sharing money.
Earning & Spending Money – These activities for the very young include simple but important lessons like recognizing different coins and understanding what they’re worth.
Money I Have Who Has Game – Download this free game for your students to learn how to recognize and count money $1 and under.
Money Booklets – Download these free printout booklets to introduce and review coins with your students.
Bank It! – Use this game to teach your students how to add and how probability works.
Peter Pig’s Money Counter – In this interactive game, kids practice identifying, counting and saving money while learning fun facts about U.S. currency.
Middle School: Money Management
As children move into middle school, they are more familiar with the concept of money management. It is time to begin molding and shaping their perception of money and responsible financial management. As youngsters become more independent in middle school, they are ready to learn how to apply some of the concepts they have learned about money. This is a good time for them to learn about banking and balancing a checkbook.
Writing Checks – Use these check print outs to teach your students how to write a check.
Financial Football – Give your brain a Financial Football workout — play the NFL-themed video game developed by Visa.
Financial Soccer – Put your financial skills to the test with Visa’s World Cup-themed Financial Soccer, a multiple choice question video game. Are you ready to play?
Money Metropolis – Navigate Money Metropolis’ multi-dimensional world while making life decisions that will affect whether virtual bank accounts shrink or grow.
High School: Real-World Lessons
High school students are preparing to embark on real-world journeys, financial and otherwise. They are starting to make choices that will affect their future, and it is critical to instill responsible money management skills. With more advanced lessons on budgeting and bill paying, high school students have a better chance of becoming financially independent.
Balancing a Checkbook – Many high school students will soon start working their first jobs, so it is important for them to learn the difference between gross and net pay. They are learning to drive and preparing for college as they move closer to independence. It is a good time for them to practice budgeting successfully with take-home pay through classroom activities that can be reinforced at home.
Making a Budget – Information provided on topics such as: What is a budget? Why do I want a budget? How do I start a budget? How do I make a budget? How do I use a budget?
How to Read a Credit Report – Teach your students what a credit score is and how they can make sure that theirs is a good one.