Teaching Financial Literacy
--Regarding your column about the eighth-graders in Virginia who were learning to make real-life financial decisions as part of their school curriculum: Where can schools outside the Virginia area get resources and/or curriculum similar to this?
--Do you know of any national organizations that are involved in teaching financial literacy to children? I'd love to volunteer.
I'm always impressed by the number of parents and teachers who are committed to helping kids become financially literate, and I'm happy to steer you in any number of directions.
For starters, in 2007 the mobile Finance Park classroom that I recently wrote about will be making stops in the Washington, D.C., area, northern Virginia, Richmond and Dallas areas where Capital One, one of the Finance Park sponsors, has offices.
Junior Achievement, which developed the Finance Park curriculum, also offers the program in seven permanent locations in the U.S.: Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Indianapolis; Louisville; Moline, Ill.; St. Louis; Seattle, and Wilmington, Del. JA plans to open more than a dozen other locations over the next couple of years (for more information, go to www.ja.org).
JA is one of many organizations that develop curriculum for students of all ages. To cite just a few: the National Endowment for Financial Education (www.nefe.org); the National Council on Economic Education (www.ncee.net), and the National Academy Foundation (www.naf.org).
The JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy maintains a comprehensive clearinghouse of curriculum materials at its Web site, www.jumpstart.org.
Making money fun
Which board game would be the best to teach my 10- and 12-year-old kids about money? Would you recommend Monopoly?
I sure would. Monopoly is still a classic-even though, as one 10-year-old observed, "you only do one thing, which is buy and sell property."
But my top pick would be The Game of Life. It's a hit with children of all ages because "it covers everything," in the words of an 11-year-old. "Everything" includes careers, college loans, mortgages, car insurance, dividends and taxes -- a money-management course in a box, and fun, too.
Creative people are always coming up with ideas for new financial games, which I'm happy to write about from time to time.