Nga mihi, greetings,
On the road to becoming an independent lifelong learner it’s never too early to learn how to manage money; even a four year old gets the connection between a dollar and a lollipop. So we are pleased to see our year 4-6 students learning great financial literacy skills through their recent market day activities. If you were present at both market days this year you will have noticed a flourishing of entrepreneurial skills between the first day in April and the second day recently.
Having learned how to make money the children are now faced with the challenge of spending it. “Is that a challenge?” I hear you ask, as you notice your wallet empties much easier than it fills. But our children are beginning to discover that money is complicated, and simply blowing what you’ve got in your pocket on sweets or takeaways is neither financially savvy nor, in the long term, satisfying.
Add to their thinking a few new challenges like paying taxes on the amount of sugar and packaging they used in their market day products, how to manage a float, and how to share profits among a group (especially when you think you did more work than your colleagues) and suddenly our children are grappling with the kind of real world learning that our new democratic curriculum is all about.
And just to advance the learning even further we’ve introduced another dimension into their thinking about how to spend their profits – social responsibility. We’re encouraging children to think about how their money could benefit others as well as themselves, about how to view it as an investment rather than a windfall.
And how quickly they get it. The Totara Rua students (year 5-6) considered the financial cost to their families of their school camp in term four and most have donated a large share of their profits towards their camp fees. Many of the same students are also contributing to pay the education of two children in Vietnam. In Totara Tahi the year 4 students have pooled their profit and are researching ways of investing it in a charity or community organization.
It’s fascinating to observe the children learning how good it feels to spend money wisely, especially to benefit others. As I write this a group of Year 5-6 children are taking orders outside my office for their camp fundraising sausage sizzle. Some of these children don’t need to raise funds, their camp fees are already met, but they do it to support their classmates and because it feels good.
This is real learning – learning for life.
You may have noticed in the news recently that the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), representing 50,000 teachers, principals and staff, mostly in the primary sector, has rejected the government’s flagship IES policy.
The policy proposes investing an additional $359m into education over the next four years, almost all of which will go towards salary increase of between $10,000 and $40,000 per year for a group of around 7,000 expert teachers and executive principals whose efforts the government hopes will improve educational outcomes across the school system.
NZEI members disagreement with IES comes down to a simple question: is this the best use of $359m? In the view of most primary school staff the money could be better used to:
- reduce class sizes to ensure more individualized learning
- ensuring early childhood centres have 100% qualified and registered teachers
- provide funding to support another 20,000 children with special needs
- provide better funding for support staff (teacher aides) so teachers can focus on teaching and learning.
What do you think? I’d be interested to know.
Have a great week,
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