LITTLE ROCK, Ark. ‑‑ Economic education lessons created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis have helped teach more than 2,500 northwest Arkansas pre-schoolers in the past year about saving, spending and other personal finance topics. Now the goal is to expand the curriculum to early childhood centers across the state.
In a 2016 pilot program that just ended, the St. Louis Fed partnered with the Early Childhood Initiatives Center of the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, Economics Arkansas and the University of Delaware Center for Economic Education & Entrepreneurship. As a result, 2,682 children in 49 classrooms were introduced to basic personal finance and economics concepts.
The Kiddynomics lessons engage children through popular children’s books, questions and answers, songs, play and art, to teach such topics as scarcity, choice, goods, services and banks. Economic education specialists from the St. Louis Fed provide the curriculum and training for teachers free of charge.
“The St. Louis Fed developed Kiddynomics to provide the building blocks to help put students on the path to healthy economic lives in the future,” said Mary Suiter, economic education officer at the St. Louis Fed. “We know that students develop their financial habits as young as age 7, so starting early and providing reinforcement at school and at home is important.”
Following a successful pilot program, the next step is to roll out the Kiddynomics curriculum to a broader area of early childhood centers: “We want to be across the state in Arkansas,” Suiter said.