Financial Education from Early Years

As it happens in any educational project, everything arises from an idea that seeks a solution to a problem or as an answer to a need. Boys and girls, since they are small, live with money, and when they grow up, most of the important decisions they will have to make are marked by the economy (student loans, buying a car or house, travel…), that is why the need to teach them financial education and talk to them correctly about money arises.

 Our school has a mission with its students, to form citizens committed to learning, knowledge and universal values for their full development in a changing and global society. We intend with this project, not to qualify financial knowledge, but to train our students to be critical, responsible and caring consumers in the future.

This project has just started, it is only months old and its’ planning has already undergone several changes, because when we set the objectives we wanted to achieve at this stage we thought of financial education as a subject and not as a complementary subject, setting ourselves overly ambitious goals that were not adapted to the time we actually have available. Currently our 5 year old students are working on these five concepts: money, income, expenses, need or desire, and donations. 

These concepts are presented through stories or fables, since this language is the one children understand best, but how do we work on them? Bearing in mind that children learn through manipulation and experimentation, we present them with learning situations based on concrete, everyday experiences, to which our students can attribute meaning, that respond to an interest and that allow them to get to know the objects in their environment and the relationships between them. In other words, we take advantage of everyday situations such as shopping at the supermarket to put into practice what we are learning.  

In the classroom we also have board games related to money appropriate for their age. But the activity that our students like the most is “THE ALLOWANCE”. Every two weeks, our 5 year old students receive an allowance of 5 euros, with which they can buy their school supplies (colors, erasers, pencils …). This activity helps to:

– have a first contact with money and to understand its value. It is very difficult for them to understand the value of coins and bills, they believe that the more coins or bills, the more money they have.

– Discover their needs or desires (I need another pencil or I want another pencil).

– Develop autonomy and self-confidence.

– Thanks to the allowance, they realize and are aware of the value of things (they take care of their school supplies).

This young project is taking its first steps in kindergarten, demonstrating that the little ones can learn very simple economic concepts, explained in a clear way and adapted to their cognitive level. We are aware that it is still early to reap the fruits of this work, but we have to start this path to help our students to be able to make the right financial decisions in the future and promote their wellbeing as individuals.