A Primer for Teaching Personal Finance in Schools
Do you feel called to the task of teaching personal finance in schools? If so, we commend you for your passion and direct you to the information below. These pages offer resources and guidance to those with an interest in teaching money management in schools, according to an approved eight-step process.
There are proven best practices for teaching money management in schools, which you will find here. First, read the following case study that illustrates how the guidelines can be put into action.
As a volunteer leader for Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Mandy Mills’ mission was to help Girl Scouts unleash their inner G.I.R.L. – Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader™. Mandy had decided that teaching personal finance in schools in her community would be a great service, but she wasn’t aware of the best practices for program initiation and follow-through. The audience Mandy especially wanted to empower with money management skills was Girl Scouts in middle and high school – ages 10 through 18. To assess her audience’s needs, she solicited feedback from the parents of her Girl Scout Troop, and learned that the girls lacked knowledge about career and higher education pursuits.
Ms. Mills had clarified her near-term and longer-term objectives; now she could turn toward choosing delivery methods for the workshops. She had about an hour for each of the four workshops, but she wanted to give the girls more in-depth information than she could cover in an hour. Mandy opted to have the girls conduct online research about their career interests and colleges they might want to attend, and then bring the information to the workshops to discuss – a blended delivery option. Thus the activities would be a hybrid of self- and timeline-based pacing.
What next? Mandy needed to locate an educator with superior qualifications, both in teaching money management in schools and in personal finance content. Mandy herself had no background in education or finance, although she was well-versed in leading a Girl Scout Troop. Ms. Mills’ solution was to bring in personal finance speakers who meet national standards for teaching personal finance in schools by graduating from the NFEC’s Certified Financial Education Instructor program.
Mandy’s workshops were quite successful. A total of 16 middle schoolers and 12 high school students attended her initial attempt at teaching personal finance in schools, and out of those 28 total, the average improvement in scores between pre- and post-test was 14%. Mandy gathered these data into a succinct report and presented it to the Girl Scout Council, with the hope that they would help fund future workshop opportunities.