Help Children and Parents Get Right on the Money

Throughout April, we are celebrating Financial Capability Month by featuring a variety of financial education programs and resources that you can put to use in your classroom right away. The 27th in this series focuses on Right on the Money.

Right on the Money is a financial education developed by Penn State Extension and the former Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education. It was supported by funding from the Heinz Endowments. The goal of the program was to develop a simple, easy-to-implement financial education program for both young people and their parents. The target audience for the program is families with children ages 5-7.

The program is designed to be taught in four, 90-minute sessions and requires at least two instructors. Each Right on the Money session begins with a family time. Parents and children gather to hear a children’s story with a financial theme. Then the parents separate for their own lesson while the children engage in fun activities related to the book they had read to them.

The program works best in settings where families naturally gather. It has been used successfully by hundreds of libraries, schools, and other community-based organizations. The children’s portion of the program can be taught by anyone who is comfortable leading activities and lessons. The adult portion is heavily scripted and slides are provided for instructor use. The instructor does not need extensive financial knowledge; however, some organizations partner with credit/housing counselors, bankers, accountants, or others to lead the adult portion.

Right on the Money can be offered on a very low budget using children’s books borrowed from the library and a minimal number of copies. Or, organizations can choose to enrich the program with food for participants, books for each family, and organizational tools for adults. The four children’s books used in the series are: The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money (earning), Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday (spending), Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money (saving), and Country Bear’s Good Neighbor (borrowing).

There are also family conversation starters for each session. In program evaluations, parents and caregivers comment that they have helped them talk to their children about finances – something they were previously hesitant to do or felt unprepared to accomplish.  

Right on the Money is available in two formats. The entire program in both English and Spanish can be downloaded in electronic form, or you can order a hard copy of the program from Penn State Extension. There is an overall program guide plus separate materials for each session. A sample certificate of completion, participant evaluation, and publicity materials are also included.

Disclaimer: Resources included on the Making Cents blog have been reviewed by Pennsylvania educators and deemed worthwhile for classroom or professional use. Inclusion does not indicate endorsement by the Pennsylvania Department of Education or Penn State University.

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