A Piggy Bank Isn't Enough - First Bank Financial Centre Gives Youngsters a Lesson in Saving
Larry Hanson
Daily News - April 14, 2011

Town of Erin - About 25 hands shot straight in the air Wednesday afternoon when Christa Gavin of First Bank Financial Centre asked about 40 second-grade students at Erin School whether they had ever had their faces painted at a fair or a carnival.

That was the pretext for a presentation Gavin and coworkers Becki Brooks and Jon Martin gave to the students in Kristin Casper's and Stacia Benedict's second-grade classes titled "Teaching Kids to Save."

In the book, "The Penny Pot," which Gavin read to the class, Jesse wants to get her face painted at the school fair but only had 39 cents after buying an ice cream cone. The face painting was 50 cents.

Through a pot where other students could deposit their extra pennies, Jesse eventually was able to muster up the additional 11 cents she needed to get her face painted like a cat.

The plot of the book was a look at the message the bank professionals were trying to share in conjunction with the annual National Teach Children to Save Day, which was Tuesday.

In addition to listening to the story, students also drew pictures of activities they could do as producers and consumer, and they got a lesson in skip counting (two, four, six, etc.), which will help in counting coins.

Benedict said the reason for having the presentation was to help students understand the value of money, how to save and how to spend. "It's a skill to count money and know the value of the coins," Benedict said. She said the lesson could be helpful when children decide how to spend money they get for Christmas or from the tooth fairy or for their chores.

"The kids are really excited. We talked at the beginning of the year about producers and consumers."

In 2010, 411 bankers reached out to their communities to make presentations.

"It's extremely valuable to start at this age," said Martin, the branch manager. "with this lesson, we're just reinforcing what the teachers are doing."

He added those are lessons that should be reinforced all the way through children's growing years so they are prepared to make smart financial decisions as adults.

"This really starts that with the face painting and the ice cream cone," Martin said.