An Australian after-school program has set out to teach kids the value of money by putting them into a hands-on “mini economy” reports news.com.au. At Kids at Switch, children (aged 5 to 12) choose jobs and do work, such as app developers, authors, small business owners or website coders.
Their work in the simulated learning economy earns “money” to pay rent and bills. For example at the program they must either rent a chair to sit on or save up to buy one. They can even buy a second chair to rent to classmates. Kids also run a shop during each session.
The program helps kids develop financial literacy. For example, students divide their money into categories for investing, spending (according to a budget), saving, and sharing (donating). Their online accounts are accessible during the program and from home.
What would be interesting from a sustainability perspective is teaching kids about how our “money” economy currently doesn’t account for damage to natural resources—like the air we breathe or the ground water we drink. How would these lessons look in a “green economy” complete with collaborative consumption (the sharing economy) and carbon pricing? !
This story reminds us of how one school district used the building of a new school to involve kids in hands-on STEM learning form professionals working on the school, ranging from plumbers to architects. Read the post here.