“Today, I brought in a shell necklace, salt and a $20 bill. What do you think all of these have in common?” asked Candace White from the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union to a group of Lincoln Elementary School second graders.
“You bought the salt and necklace with the $20?” asked one student.
“Excellent idea and I could do that, but at one time in history, all of these were also used as money. Before paper money, people traded things like salt and shells to get things like food and clothing. Trading like this worked well as long as a person had something that someone needed in return. It is called bartering. Anything can be money as long as we all agree it has value.”
Mrs. White was conducting a “Kid’s Credit Union.” As part of the barter lesson, she gave each student a strand of colored beads and told them if they didn’t get the color they liked, they could barter with a fellow student. Lincoln second grade teachers, Laura Burstrom, Mary Cook, Jen Jones, Matt Langworthy, and Lauren Walter invited the Credit Union to meet with their students to help them better understand the real-life issues of money and savings.
The Kid’s Credit Union is a monthly program provided by the Southern Chautauqua Credit Union in area schools. Mrs. White visits Lincoln School once a month with the goal to teach children fiscal responsibility
“We want students to get a strong foundation on establishing good money habits early,” said Mrs. White. “We are trying to impart life lessons and really emphasize saving. We like working with the second graders because we want them to establish lifelong habits. They are at the perfect age to retain and understand the information.”
The credit union also gives each student a piggy bank to encourage saving money.
“I learned that you can go to a credit union to save money,” said Lincoln Elementary School student Madison Hill. “If you really want something, you need to set a goal and save your money to get it. I learned it is good to save money.”