Published On: November 17, 2021
Home>Participatory Budgeting>Real Money, Real Knowledge: Why We Teach Financial Literacy Through Experiential Learning

First For You

Why does this matter to you?

Principals95% of Americans wish financial literacy skills were taught in schools, but how can we implement these lessons effectively? We believe experiential learning is the answer — giving students real money and letting them create lasting results. The realism ensures the lessons will stick with them for years to come. But how can you find these funds for your students? We provide a few ideas in the post below.

Parents and PTAs — Looking for a way to teach financial literacy effectively? Wondering how you can help students engage in such important learning? Experiential learning lets kids work with real money to produce real results. After all, what better way is there to learn by actually taking part in the process? You can find the details by reading on.

Partners — By partnering with a financial literacy experiential learning program, you’ll be able to see exactly where your funds go — because students receive every dollar. And they won’t just be making a difference in their school, they’ll also be building an incredible money knowledge base to follow them into adulthood.

More About Teaching Financial Literacy Through Experiential Learning

78% of adults in the United States live paycheck-to-paycheck. 3 out of 5 do not track monthly expenses, and 2 out of 3 have no emergency savings whatsoever. Expand worldwide, and we see that just 33% of the population can be considered financially literate, with the remaining individuals lacking a fundamental understanding of money concepts.

These statistics are hard to hear, but they’re not all that surprising. Our school systems need to do better in teaching financial literacy to kids. And one of the most effective ways to do this is by giving students real money to work with.

Financial Literacy and Experiential Learning

When it comes to teaching kids about personal finances, calculators, piggy banks, and classroom conversations aren’t enough. By implementing real experiences, you can ensure the lessons from your school’s financial education will translate to financial independence in the real world.

But how do you give students real experiences with something as serious as money management? By giving them real money to manage.

The experiential factor provides learners with:

  • Accelerated learning and increased engagement
  • Personalized, self-paced lessons
  • A safe environment to make money mistakes
  • A bridge between theory and practice

Teaching with real money leads to the creation of real knowledge. It gives kids practice before adulthood hits and they begin working with debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts, savings accounts, student loans, and other serious spending decisions.

It shares the value of money and the importance of good money habits in an easy-to-understand, non-lecturing fashion. It shows students we’re working on ways to help them — not bombarding what they do with the cash in their pockets that they so desperately want to be in charge of themselves.

Implementing Real Financial Literacy Lessons in Your School

Financial literacy through experiential learning sounds incredible, but how can you implement it? How can you give students their own money without bending your budget or creating room for loss and irresponsibility?

In comes participatory budgeting — a tool that’s been used for decades across the globe, implemented in dozens of schools, and even endorsed by the United Nations.

Students are given a piece of the school budget, whether it comes from discretionary funds, grants, or donating. How this money is used is entirely up to them. They’ll plan, refine, vote on, and implement their ideas, forming money management skills like budgeting and financial goal-setting along the way. The process will show them the value of money and the power it can bring when used well, too.

Some financial decisions from past students have included:

  • New sports gear
  • 3D printers
  • Science lab equipment and other educational resources
  • Free feminine hygiene products for high school restrooms

The difference that can be made by students’ efforts truly is endless. They have the ability to improve their learning environments with real money, just as they’ll be able to use good financial habits to affect their life for the better once they’re on their own.

If you’re ready to bring firsthand financial literacy learning and participatory budgeting to your school, reach out to our team at FirstRoot today. Our participatory budgeting software for schools makes the process simple, giving your students access to the real money, real knowledge, and real power they need to change financial literacy statistics for good.