Money Week 2017: Develop financial literacy skills

This year New Zealand Money Week takes place 14–20 August, with the theme ‘What does debt do for you?’ To help you start thinking about Money Week, we've put together some information about financial literacy — why it’s important to teach students financial literacy, where to find resources to support you, and managing your school library budget.

Money Week takes place annually throughout New Zealand with a week of events and activities that're designed to get people talking and thinking about money — something we don’t often do.

According to Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006, "The number one problem in today's generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy".

Money Week provides a perfect opportunity to help us and our school community develop our financial literacy skills. The first part of this blog looks at how to develop financial literacy skills for your students, and the second part looks at using your own financial literacy skills to manage your school library budget.

New Zealand money

Creating a financially literate school community

You're probably familiar with information literacy, digital literacy, and a multitude of other literacies important to success in our 21st-century lives. Financial literacy is another set of skills in this toolkit. Creating a financially literate school community means you and your students have the ability to use knowledge and skills to make effective and informed decisions about money.

There are several reasons why it's important to teach financial literacy in schools. Here are a few:

  • It's a core life skill for participating in a modern society.
  • It'll help students discover the relationships between earning, spending and saving and thereby allow students to understand the value of money.
  • Helping students develop good financial skills from an early age will ensure they're ready for the financial challenges of adult life.
  • It'll help students understand how the economy works.
  • Students will learn how to be responsible with money so that they establish good spending habits.
  • It may inspire students to pursue a career in finance.

Financial literacy in Topic Explorer

There are many resources available online to help you teach financial literacy. To make life easier for you, we've curated the best resources we could find from DigitalNZ, the Alexander Turnbull Library and the web. You can find these resources in the Financial literacy set on the Topic Explorer.

This set contains resources that provide information on a range of topics related to financial literacy including:

  • history of money
  • banking
  • budgeting
  • saving, earning and spending
  • tax
  • inflation, deflation, depression and recession
  • counterfeit money.

Borrow books about financial literacy

Our lending service has a range of material, for a range of year levels, on a range of topics related to financial literacy and money.

Whether you want to approach the topic through resources about money and finances, or through making and selling arts and crafts items at a school fair, bartering, or other ways, we have resources to support your school.

These books can be ordered during our inquiry loan period, or all year through author-title loans for secondary schools.

More information on requesting books from Services to Schools can be found on the Lending service section of our website.

Other resources for teaching financial literacy

TKI provides a comprehensive list of resources for teaching 'financial capability' at all levels, including:

The Commission for Financial Capability has created lists of reading materials for kids on the Money Week section of its Sorted website (scroll to bottom of page), with recommended titles for both primary and secondary aged students.

JumpStart is an American coalition of financial education advocates who work together to educate and prepare young people for lifelong financial success. According to JumpStart, their JumpStart Clearinghouse is "the premier online library of financial education resources for anyone committed to financial smarts for students", and includes numerous quality resources for teaching financial literacy.

Check out your own financial literacy skills

Take Stuff's Financial Literacy quiz and see how well you stack up!

If you don't do so well, Sorted has tools and resources to help you develop your financial literacy, and manage your personal finances.

Or you could take part in some of the dozens of Money Week events happening around the country next week.

Money Week 2017 logo

Managing a school library budget uses financial literacy skills too

Money Week is a good time to reflect on how you manage your library budget.

In Term 4, most schools will begin preparing a budget to be adopted at the beginning of 2018, once roll numbers are confirmed. You can get started now by talking to students, staff, parents and whānau about their aspirations for the library. Include these in your library plans, and consider how they impact on the funding you'll need. You can then make sure they're reflected in your budget request.

Library guiding documents

Advocating for your school library

In some schools, the library budget is set at a dollar amount per student — you might be given a budget amount without any consultation. Others schools use a needs-based funding approach, based on what you've asked for in your budget request. Either way, you've got to decide how to use the library funding to achieve the vision and goals you've set for your library.

School library budget

Usually, the bulk of your library budget goes towards collection development. You'll need further funding for subscriptions, processing and promotional materials, including printing and photocopying. If you have plans for change, make sure you include any associated costs in your budget calculations. For example, if you plan to organise your library collection in a new way, you might need to budget for updated signage and promotion materials.

Planning successful user-centred change

Items such as shelving, tables, and chairs will be part of your school's asset management plan. You might need to make a separate budget request if you are asking for new furniture and equipment, or IT purchases.

School library suppliers list is a directory of mainly local suppliers of library equipment, software and security systems, furniture and fittings, and shelving.

By Amy Jacob

Amy is a librarian with Services to Schools.

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Mary McKnight August 11th at 12:13PM

Great initiative Amy. As a Financial Literacy/Capability teacher I believe this subject should be compulsory in all schools.