It can be difficult to keep track of your money, especially when you’re young and just starting out on your own. One Montgomery County, Maryland, teacher is proving it’s never too early to begin learning about income, paying bills and fiscal responsibility.
On Tuesday morning, Capri Coleman’s second grade class at The Woods Academy in Bethesda did the math to deduct $200 from their “classroom savings account” to pay rent on their desks as well as their water bill.
“We’re losing money!” said one of the students as she paid up and watched her bank account tick slightly down.
“They are not too young to understand the value of a dollar,” Coleman said on why she introduced this micro-economy to her classroom.
Not only do they pay a litany of bills but they also earn a paycheck from one of their many jobs which may include librarian, messenger, banker or custodian.
With no direct influence, Coleman said she sees her students begin saving.
“They’re learning if you’re not paying your bills, then you won’t be able to participate in Fun Friday,” she told WTOP, referring to the weekly fun classroom activities like watching a movie or making slime. “So they have to choose which one is more important. And some, I find them making decisions, ‘I don’t need the store today. I want to participate in Fun Friday.’ Good decision, and I have no influence on that whatsoever.”
Fun Friday is steep too. It’s $450 a week, and with the $25 recess subscription, they learn to not blow all their money.
One student named Sofia is certainly learning to save and spend wisely.
“I won’t spend much of it on the store because I don’t want to lose it. So I can save up for Fun Friday,” she told WTOP.
Sofia also said that she lights up when she sees her paycheck, something we can all relate to.
Coleman found the classroom economy helps with rule breaking and discipline in addition to being an educational tool. She likens it to fines for a speeding or parking ticket.
“You had this opportunity to follow directions. And this is the consequence of your action,” Coleman said.
Kids are often eager to earn the money back, and some students have even discovered entrepreneurship during their time playing with the fake cash.
“Yesterday, I had a student that found a lot of pencils. So he’s like, ‘I want to sell the pencils, maybe I can create my own pencil business,'” said Coleman.
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