Saving money is an easy habit to procrastinate, and since the importance of financial reserves isn’t driven home through public education, the Family Resource Centre hosted a free workshop on the subject.
In conjunction with FrogskinU – a not-for-profit educational foundation from Calgary – Grade 5’s and 6’s were invited to a financial literacy program at the Family Resource Centre in Fraters Landing on Saturday, January 17th.
For the past three years, FrogskinU educators have been offering workshops which apply the academics of school to life as an adult. To intervene at a students’ most important stage, FrogskinU aims to teach financial literacy to middle-school students, and reinforce the message with their parents.
Teaching the importance of responsible money management is a popular idea, but implementing it into the public school system has proven to be a challenge.
“Everyone knows there’s a need, it’s just no one seems to know where to start,” instructor Michelle Delisle said. “We decided just to start – and now we can’t keep up with the demand.”
Capitalism tends to promote the benefits of indulgence, while overlooking the pleasures of frugality. FrogskinU doesn’t feel as though the curriculum counteracts that sentiment.
“Instead of hounding them to spend, we hound them to save.”
FrogskinU speaks to the pitfalls caused by debt, and how saving is fun, she said.
“They become engaged with their money, and they start talking with their parents about money.”
After taking in a rare dose of financial education, the students are rewarded with Frog Bucks, which can later be spent, invested, or gambled to obtain prizes.
It’s crucial to involved parents, as finances are a family affair, Ms. Delisle said.
“Money does not grow on trees, and we all have to help each other – there is only a limited amount of money to play with. If we all help each other and we all understand, then we can do better as a family.”
And while financial prudence has always been important, it’s become more difficult in the age of electronics.
“The need has grown even more since money has become invisible,” she said. “Kids are not learning to work with tangibles of money, they just put it on the plastic.”
After positive reception from their pilot project in the valley, the educators are working to secure funding which will allow the program to continue locally.
“There wont be money for their education or goals. They have to start saving right now. Grade 5 at the latest.”