Bunye: Kids learn why money matters

IT HAS been more than a week since the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched its Money Matters for Kids exhibit at the Activity Area of the Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City.

Hundreds have already gone and enjoyed its fun and interactive approach in explaining to children the importance of money and how to use it wisely.

The exhibit, which will be brought to different cities and municipalities nationwide, is a project of BSP’s Financial Consumer Affairs Group, and a component of the Bank’s integrated Economic and Financial Learning Program.

It aims to instill discipline in saving among children, and also to teach them how to be conscious and smart consumers at an early age. Let me give you a quick tour of the exhibit.

Designed for school children 12 years and below, the exhibit has two main attractions: a grocery shop and a make-believe bank, where they are introduced to the concepts of spending and saving.

At the grocery store, a child can play the role of cashier while the other kids are the shoppers. Toting their mini-baskets, the young ones learn how to prioritize needs over wants as they shop within a strict budget.

At the bank, the kids get to try common transactions such as deposits and withdrawals while they pretend to be the bank manager, teller, or client. There is also a mock-up ATM (Automated Teller Machine) where children can learn how to use the machine and what it is for.

After going to the grocery and the bank, the kids can check out a collection of coins from around the world, and a machine that identifies the currencies in different countries. There are also activities and games that can sharpen their counting skills and creativity, and one that teaches them how to spot counterfeit money.

What can probably interest even the adult companions of the kids are the informative displays on the history and characteristics of our currency. Trivia and sayings about money are also posted all over the area to give both information and inspiration to the exhibit-goers of all ages.

The BSP, which also has financial literacy programs targeting adults and even overseas Filipinos, has been very active in educating the Filipino youth about money and saving.

Apart from this endeavor, the BSP has promoted the development of child-friendly deposit products in the banking industry, which won for it the Top Global Honor at the Child and Youth Finance International Awards this year.

It has partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) to incorporate financial lessons in the elementary curriculum. To boost this cause, the two institutions will also launch a recognition program for outstanding teachers in financial education this October.

In an ideal economy, every citizen knows how to save and spend wisely. The only way we can get even near that is to make our children understand why money matters to them, so that they will grow up to be responsible in handling it.

In this regard, I would say the exhibit seems to be doing well. Let me share with you one response from the exhibit.

Asked to write what she learned that day, one girl said, "Magtipid, para makabili ng mas importanteng bagay (Save, so that you can buy more important things)."

The Money Matters for Kids interactive exhibit is at the Gateway Mall Activity Area until August 17, 2013.

Note: My book, Central Banking for Every Juan and Maria is now available in main branches of Fully Booked, Power Books, National Book Store, and University of the Philippines Press. You may e-mail us at totingbunye2000@gmail.com. Past articles may be viewed at http://speakingout.ph/speakingout.php.
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