A Strategy to Enhance Financial Planning The Middle School Years by Al McCaughtry
Students will be introduced to The Classroom Economy in their homeroom classrooms. This is a experiential program designed at teaching students real life financial literacy skills through role play in the classroom environment.
The core principle is simple: Students earn and spend money in a simulated microeconomy. As the grade levels increase, we incorporate additional financial concepts. For example, students in all grades pay rent for their desks, but students in middle school also pay an electricity bill as well as taxes. For high school students, we include experiential learning activities targeted at teaching the foundations of investing and purchasing insurance
- The Grade 6 program has some key learning objectives that will help equip students on the journey to funding Post Secondary Education. These are:
- Learn how to budget their spending, manage a loan, balance a chequing account, and make scheduled payments.
- Discover the importance of saving money to obtain what they want (At the Grade 6 level it is better to focus on short term financial goals as opposed to long term goals. It would be developmentally appropriate to have students plan on saving for something such as a video game system).
The JA organization is a not for profit that links community volunteers with schools to promote a variety of skills including Financial Literacy.
JA Central Ontario is committed to engaging students and stakeholders in the Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, Durham and Simcoe regions with education programs focused on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. These programs are delivered to youth in elementary, middle and high schools by business and community volunteers to help them thrive in a global economy.
Dollars With Sense Program
This is a full day program that provides students with a variety of key learning opportunities relating to planning for the future and implementing fundamental "Sense" to finances. Content is delivered through a variety of games and use multimedia.
Students learn about budgeting, saving, global currencies and safe online shopping.
I feel that a real benefit to this program is getting a "different voice" to deliver content. Students unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) tune out the Educators that are often working with them. JA often sends University level students who add a new flavour to students compare to their teachers.
Parent Workshops on Financial Planning for Post Secondary Education
I believe that it is key to engage parents with content and education regarding their child's post secondary career, well before reaching Secondary school.
Three Potential Workshops/Resources
- Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). It is particularly timely to provide parents with information on OSAP as the program has many changes for the 2017/2018 school year. Parents will signup for a workshop in the School's Learning Commons room. Parents will be guided in navigating the OSAP website https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-ready-osap-2017-18 such areas as: OSAP calculator, Free Tuition for Eligible students , and OSAP Repayment will be addressed.
2. Parents and Students will be invited to view a screening of the Ministry of Education supported, Ontario School Counsellors Association's video: "Cost of My Future"
The Ministry of Education has provided a viewing guide for the video which includes discussion questions that could be selected by the Guidance Counsellor before the viewing of the video.
3. Provide Parents with a digital brochure through an "E-Blast", that outlines Ontario Government Youth job programs.
Youth Job Link
Youth Job Link The program also offers a job-matching service to help connect you with employers offering job opportunities that fit with your skills and interests.
- You must be 15 to 29 years old
Thoughts on Newcomers Relating to Financial Planning
Many students in Ontario have families who have experienced many trials and adversity in creating a life for their family in Canada. It is important that we do our best to accommodate unique student populations. For example, we have all read about and in some instances, seen the stories of recent refugees coming to our country. Some considerations:
- providing print material in the first language of students;
- Have interpreters on hand for parent workshops;
- Partner with community based organizations that can assist in providing information to families in a culturally sensitive way.
Here is a great example of a community based organization which partners with schools to support the demographics of the community.