By Jacqui Noble, Deputy Head
As My Money Week hits the UK next week, there’s never been a better time to highlight the importance of financial literacy as a talking point amongst teachers, and as a significant educational experience for children at primary schools.
Now in its eighth year, My Money Week is a week-long initiative run by Young Enterprise, the UK’s leading charity that empowers young people to harness their personal and business skills. The week aims to improve young people’s financial skills, knowledge and confidence through lessons and activities focused on money matters.
Money management is something I strongly advocate for the pupils at Luckwell Primary School, Bristol. I believe that teaching children how to save and spend money responsibly, and live within their means from a young age, leads to good financial well-being later in life and establishes healthy self-esteem and confidence.
Many of the children in our school come from different backgrounds; some children have both parents who work, others have just one parent who is the sole breadwinner, but the subject of money and how to spend and save remains a universal topic of conversation for all, both at home and in school.
An example of a teaching resource we’ve used in the classroom is Experian’s Values, Money and Me. The free online resource aims to help children develop their attitudes and values towards money by presenting them with real-life scenarios and moral dilemmas faced by characters in a fictional community known as Pride Place. We’ve found the storybooks and quizzes a useful way to help de-mystify personal finance and break down money management into simple, digestible steps for primary school age children. Experian also sent in trained staff to deliver sessions talking about taxes with children from Year 5, which they found extremely beneficial.
To celebrate My Money Week next week, there’s no better time to get your class involved and excited about their own financial literacy. For a second year at Luckwell Primary, we are hosting a week-long set of activities where we turn the school into a town to teach the children about living wage and good financial practice. It worked so well last year that when we told the children in assembly that we would be doing it again, all 200 of them cheered!
As a teacher, it’s important to consider these factors, and recognise that children may risk getting the wrong messages about money simply from their peers at school. For example, from conversation, some children may believe that money is simply handed to you, rather than from the result of hard work and making sensible decisions about spending and saving.
My school was accredited as a Young Enterprise Centre of Excellence, a programme which helps to support practical, effective and sustainable financial education in schools, in 2014 with support from Experian. The programme places young people at the heart of the delivery, by developing engaging and inspiring learning programmes to help them understand the basics around money management.
Each child will apply for a ‘job’ on the Monday, get interviewed and then spend the rest of the week running those businesses with support from the teachers. They will get paid in tokens, some of which they will contribute to taxes. It’s such a great way of involving children in the real world of work and money, and they got so into it last year that we’re sure this year’s will be just as successful.
The activities will culminate in a market at the end of the week, where parents are invited to see the children put into practice the knowledge they’ve learned about buying and selling.
By teaching your children about money, as well as sharing your own experience and perspective, you can help them discover the important relationships between earning, spending and saving. In doing this, children can gain the skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters to thrive in school and in their lives beyond the classroom.
In celebration of My Money Week 2017(12-18 June), Experian’s Values, Money and Me is giving away free teacher packs, including an A2 poster to help schools get involved! Sign up for your free pack now.
About the Author:
Jacqui Noble is a Deputy Head teacher at Luckwell Primary School, in Bristol.