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Q-and-A: Financial literacy by immersion

Students participate in financial decision-making every day, either actively — if they have been equipped with the tools they need to understand this role — or passively, if they’ve not yet learned to make independent financial decisions.

“The earlier we teach our students basic financial vocabulary, concepts and skills, the sooner they will be empowered to make smart choices for both their personal financial futures and the financial health of our global economy,” says April Bond, vice president of education at The BizWorld Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at helping students to become financially responsible and productive members of society.

Bond in this interview with SmartBrief’s senior education editor Melissa Greenwood discusses the impact of a project-based curriculum for financial literacy education, and the benefits of immersion when teaching students the financial world around them.

Why is it important to inspire entrepreneurship in children?

Teaching children about entrepreneurship at a young age helps them to see that one idea can have the power to change the world. Consequently, by inspiring entrepreneurship in children, we are inspiring the next generation of innovative leaders. We need their initiative, ingenuity and perseverance to form businesses that will make our lives better and create the jobs that will support the growth of our global economy.

How important is it that students learn about financial literacy from a project-based curriculum?

The importance of project-based curriculum lies in its ability to teach basic financial principles through engaging teamwork exercises; project-based programs also encourage students to collaboratively problem-solve, which deepens their understanding of financial concepts by providing a platform for discussion and debate. Simultaneously, the project-based format introduces financial concepts in context, making it easier for students to connect what they are learning to their lives and understand how concepts can be applied outside the classroom setting.

Immersion is a term we typically use when talking about learning a foreign language. How does the concept of immersion play into teaching students financial literacy?

The concept of immersion plays a critical role in teaching students about financial literacy, in that true financial literacy can only be achieved when our  students understand that being immersed in a financial world is not a choice, it is a fact. When a student is able to accurately grasp  how finance is connected to the decisions they make every day (from where they live and the friends they have, to what they ate for breakfast and how they will get home from school), they understand its impact and importance.

Funding often is an issue for schools when deciding to purchase new curricula. How do BizWorld’s sponsored program kits help address this issue?

Thanks to our generous donors, The BizWorld Foundation is able to provide reusable sponsored program kits to schools in need. These sponsored materials make it possible for schools across the globe, regardless of funding challenges, to provide a project-based entrepreneurship and financial education experience for their elementary and middle school-aged students. To date, The BizWorld Foundation is proud to have supported over 400,000 students in this experience, and we look forward to supporting many more schools in this new school year.