Who better to teach fourth graders from the May B. Leasure Elementary School in Bear, Delaware how to save than Delaware State Treasurer Colleen Davis?
Davis joined more than 130 guest lecturers from Delaware’s banking community who volunteered their time to visit with third and fourth graders across the state during Teach Children to Save Day Week, held from April 19 to 23. Delaware Governor John Carney created a video for Teach Children to Save Day to kick off the week.
“The Teach Children to Save event is important to me,” Davis said. “My family experienced financial difficulties when I was young and it has been my life goal to teach the importance of saving.”
Teach Children to Save, offered through a partnership of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) in the University of Delaware’s Lerner College and the Delaware Financial Education Alliance, is one of many ways that the CEEE is working to ensure that students start learning personal finance skills early. This year, over 200 classrooms statewide participated in the program, reaching over 4,200 third and fourth grade students. The event is staged during National Financial Literacy Month.
“We are glad to bring the Delaware educational community and the state banking community together each year for this annual event which shares how very young children can and should learn to save early and often,” Bonnie Meszaros, assistant professor of economics and associate director of CEEE, said.
“CEEE is involved in the implementation and ongoing support of Delaware’s Financial Literacy Standards,” Meszaros continued. “The Center continues to work with appointed stakeholders to offer professional learning opportunities needed so that teachers can fully implement new standards and ensure that Delaware students properly learn how to set financial goals and achieve them through sound decision making.”
Volunteers representing 11 Delaware financial institutions visited classrooms virtually to read a children’s book, The Great Investo and the Money Tree, that encourages the lifelong habit of saving, teaches a short, related lesson and prompts student discussion. The book, illustrated and written by Greg Koseluk of the Delaware Bankers Association, was made available for free to students on Kindle during that week.
Davis told the students in Gina Rexrode’s fourth grade class about The Great Investo, the world’s worst money magician, and his quest to find out who benefits from saving money in a local bank. With help from his old magic teacher, The Wizard of Wealth and his friend, Penny, The Great Investo discovers that his whole community benefits from banking.
After reading the story to the class, Davis shared her personal experiences with saving and then led the class in an interactive group exercise in which students applied the lessons from the story to the realistic example of saving their own money for things such as toys. Students also had the opportunity to ask Davis important questions about saving and personal finance.
A student in Rexrode’s class asked Davis, “Can you open a bank account as a kid?” Another student asked, “What happens when you pay taxes?”
Davis explained that students can open a bank account with their parents’ help and that tax dollars fund important state resources such as public schools.
“Our students loved every minute of learning about saving from Treasurer Davis,” Rexrode said. “They really enjoyed being able to ask questions and sharing her personal story was a way to connect, as well as show that she was just a regular person. The students were a little ‘star struck’ and I cannot think of a better person to teach our youth about savings.”