Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big Bird Wants To Teach Your Children About Money

Big BirdImage by LR_PTY via FlickrBecause of our current economic climate, financial literacy, or lack of it, is in the forefront. Teaching of these vital skills have been put on the back burner at many schools. Researchers and educators think it's time to bring financial education back to the schools and even to the very youngest of children. Even without a basic organized education, children are being educated by their parents whenever Mom and Dad use a credit card or use an ATM. Through observation of their parents behaviors in life, children are learning behaviors, both good and bad.

There is a lack of educational materials to help teachers in the classroom. To combat this lack of educational materials for children to use to learn about money, Sesame Workshop has started a program called "For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving". With a 100 million dollar program, over a ten year period, Sesame Workshop has developed a learning experience for children. This program is being paid for by PNC Bank.

All this is happening at sesamestreet.org/save and pncgrowupgreat.com. Also more video content is available at Itunes and Amazon.com VOD. The titles to search for are called "Learn Along with Sesame".

At Sesamestreet.org/save there is a large amount of teaching materials amount money lessons. There are games to play, videos to watch, and printable items for fun and learning. All the Sesame characters are used in the videos to teach about money and the proper ways to use your money.

What's Being Taught?

The foundational teaching is concerned with showing the children to properly use their personal money. They are taught that you divide your money up three ways. In three separate piggy bank jars you label each jar "Saving, Giving, and Spending". The saving jar is to teach how you must save for future wants and needs. The Spending jar is for current purchases, and the giving jar is used to help others. In the videos, children are shown with their parents shopping with their spending jar, at the toy store. Also the children use their savings jar to save money to buy a more expensive item, sometime in the future. There are videos showing how the giving jar is used to buy cat food for abandoned cats at a shelter.

These videos are at the perfect level for small children. There are no religious subjects mentioned. Also purchases by a small child is are mainly things a 8 year old would like to buy. All the materials are politically correct and do not step on anyones toes. It's nice to see how basic moral values could be taught without bringing in any specific religion.

The website has many things to explore. Your child's favorite characters like the Count, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and others also appear. There is a mobile site if needed. Also there are parent-educator materials to help in implementing the great content. Also on the site are more links to Sesame Streets interesting educational websites.

I liked the idea of using Sesame Streets well known characters to teach a basic foundation on money. The three jar system is a great stepping stone to more mature teachings in the future. I was surprised at the section on the teaching of "Giving". That was the hook that got me interested in the program. They could of just of taught about saving and spending, but the giving part, helps you teach on being unselfish. A hard concept for to teach a 5 year old. 


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