Some are shopaholics, some are savers, but all of the 28 children in Lapstone Public’s 6B are excited about the program starting in class next week to improve their financial skills.
And they should be.
The innovative program, “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees”, created by teacher Paula Buttenshaw, has seen her recognised last month as one of the top 15 teachers Australia-wide for her efforts to educate her charges about money.
Ms Buttenshaw is a winner of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation 2013 Teaching Award. From more than 200 applications, 15 winning Australian teachers were selected for what the bank called the “creative and engaging ways of improving youth financial literacy”. She won $10,000 for her school and a $2000 personal reward. The school’s money will go towards 20 new iPads for the kids to use in the money management program.
“Teachers don’t usually get that kind of recognition or that much money,” Ms Buttenshaw told the Gazette.
She said the program will involve setting up the classroom as a workplace, “paying” them for their usual classroom jobs and tracking those electronic payments via an app on their iPads.
“They will get paid, pay tax, they can earn bonuses and will have to deal with paying bills and budgeting for life’s sometimes random expenses,” she said. “Purchases, loans and credit are also covered.”
Later in the year it will become a Claymation movie project to help younger students at the school.
Ms Buttenshaw said the aim was to plug “the gaps in my Year 6’s knowledge when it came to financial literacy”. She said it was so students had “a clear understanding of where money does come from — beyond their parents’ wallets, that is!”
Ian Narev, Commonwealth Bank CEO and foundation chair, said the aim of the foundation was “to enhance the financial well being of young Australians and ... inspire teachers across Australia to develop and foster programs to engage our future generations in innovative ways to build their essential money management skills,” he added.
Student Shannon Grazotis said he hoped it would show him “how to save better and make better choices” while Lilli Coard said it might “stop me from being a shopaholic”.