Second-graders learn to be ‘smart savers, wise spenders’
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado
Some of the toughest lessons in life are financial. A company issues you a credit card as soon as you graduate from high school and before the end of your freshman year, it’s maxed out.
For some, it starts a lifelong cycle of debt. For others, it’s a fortunate early lesson in fiscal responsibility.
As an employee at Grand Mountain Bank, Will Arduino sees adults struggle with money management.
“They don’t know their fiscal constraints,” said Arduino, vice president of business development at Grand Mountain Bank. “They don’t know the difference between their wants and their needs. They lack basic budgeting skills.”
Arduino spent the past school year working with elementary school students to teach them things many adults never learn.
Second-graders in Granby and Fraser went through a four-week program with Arduino (they call him Mr. A), called “Teach Children to Save.”
“Teach Children to Save” is funded by the American Bankers Association and involves bankers across the nation going into the classroom.
“It’s appalling the lack of financial education there is out there,” Arduino said. “Parents and children don’t talk about these kind of things.”
Over the course of four weeks, East Grand second-graders learned to be “smart savers, wise spenders,” Arduino said. “They learned lessons that are no less important when you get to be my age.”
Arduino read them the children’s book “Bunny Money” by Rosemary Wells about two bunnies that want to buy grandma a gift. They make some poor spending choices along the way.
Each week’s class included math skills, vocabulary words and lessons in self-control.
It ended with the final lesson “Patty’s Pet Hamster.” A girl asks if she can have a pet hamster, and her mom answers, “Yes, if you can afford it.”
Students have to look at Patty’s finances to determine if she can, in fact, afford a hamster.
By the end of the four-week class, students learned to manage money, and Arduino learned a new respect for teachers.
“Elementary school teachers rock,” Arduino said. “It takes a lot of energy. At the end of each day, I was toast.
“I’ve always had respect for teachers. Now, I have more.”
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