Financial literacy is defined as, “Having the knowledge and skills needed to make responsible economic and financial decisions with competence and confidence.” In A Sound Investment, 2010, a document released by the Ministry of Education, this is the definition according to leading experts called upon to look into the need to integrate financial literacy in the elementary and secondary curriculum.
Four years ago I began to wake up to the fact that I didn’t fully understand my own personal financial reality and the consequences my decisions had on both a short-term and long-term level. I realized that I needed to understand the impact my financial decisions made on both my personal life and that of the global economy in order to participate as a responsible citizen in today’s every-changing and complex society.
I took the first step by immersing myself in resources to support my own financial literacy and those that would help me integrate the concepts and skills into my own classroom. To my amazement (and delight), students thoroughly enjoyed each and every opportunity to learn about topics that focused on money management, healthy living skills, decision-making and personal awareness, consumer awareness, and responsible citizenship. In addition, families showed their appreciation in having their children begin preparing for their financial future at such a young age.
I know that if I had been introduced to financial literacy in the elementary grades and explored it in-depth in secondary school, many of the financial decisions I made throughout my adult life would have been different. We always want what is best for our children and often times that means doing for them what we wish was done for us. Integrating financial literacy just makes “cents!”
The following are a few resources to get teachers started with learning about and integrating financial literacy in their own classroom.
A Sound Investment, Ministry of Education, 2010
EduGAINS: Financial Literacy Resources- Ministry of Education
Investor Education Fund: Inspire Financial Learning