The Classroom Economy

Toronto ON – The federal Minister of Finance has made financial literacy education for all Canadians a priority. The Ontario Ministry of Education has mandated financial literacy education in the classroom. North of Toronto there is a Grade 6 classroom living the Ministry’s mandate with a flourishing economy inside. The teacher is the President of the bank. Students are learning how to earn, spend and save money, calculate interest and start their own businesses. This financial literacy program is embedded in every aspect of classroom learning.

The goal is to see which student has the most money in the bank at the end of the school year. We aren’t talking about real dollars, they are Rubin dollars! These dollars come in a variety of denominations ranging from Queen Rubin’s to Princess Rubin’s and Molly Rubin’s. There is even a store in the classroom where students can spend their dollars.

“The earlier we start educating our children about financial literacy, at home and in schools, the quicker they will be able to live what they learn,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “Financially literate children have a much better chance of becoming financially responsible adults.”

On the first day of school each child received a wallet with the same amount of Rubin dollars inside and a bankbook. Each time they receive or spend a dollar it must be recorded in their book. No credit allowed in this classroom and bankruptcy is a possibility. At the end of each month students calculate interest earned on their money and add it to their total.

“Parents must be role models who demonstrate financial responsibility every day. Being able to live within their means rather than living with the stress of debt will help children understand the value of money, and how to save and spend it wisely,” continues Schwartz.

There are free online resources, like Dollars with sense, designed to help parents and teachers educated children about financial literacy.

About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.

Consolidated Credit’s unbiased debt-counselling service offers alternatives to help people get their debts under control. Alongside assisting with consolidating payments, Consolidated Credit experts focus on education and understanding. Strategies include teaching basic but vital concepts such as how to budget, understanding credit and how to manage money.

Consolidated Credit also offers a free web-based budget and debt analysis tool and a plethora of website resources for people interested in learning more about debt and credit on their own, including tips on smart spending, buying a car, taking out a student loan and a survival guide for holiday spending. Its online learning centre offers free personal finance education booklets, financial calculators, resources, tips and suggestions. Also offered is a free iPhone and iPod application, “Budget Tool”, which can be used to manage expenses on-the-go.

Visit www.consolidatedcredit.ca or call the toll-free phone line at 1.800.656.4079.
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For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Ann Dennis, Communications & Public Relations Manager, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.(B) 416.915.7283 ext. 1057 (C) 416.985.1516 or adennis@consolidatedcredit.ca.

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Shivani Karwal
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