Economic Literacy in the Lower School

In the Lower School, economic lessons are a part of every grade level’s curriculum. They are often connected to children’s literature. For example, Kindergarteners learn about economic wants with Crispin The Pig Who Had It All. Connected with the entrepreneurship program, first graders create a classroom business and vote on how their profits should used to help the community. Second graders learn to treat the oceans and rainforests as scarce resources and that choices sometimes have bad results. Third graders learn about the major natural resources, agricultural products and manufactured goods from each of the fifty states and fourth graders learn to understand the economic factors of Westward expansion in United States history.

The two highlights of Economic Literacy in the Lower School are the 3rd grade Classroom Economy and the Cougar Savings Club bank run by 4th graders.

Classroom Economy

What if all 3rd graders knew how to leverage how to save more than they spend and how to resist impulse buying? What if they truly had the skills to be smart money managers?  The 3rd grade classroom economy is designed to mimic real-world economics activity, the students earn salaries for classroom jobs, produce goods they sell in a class store, rent or purchase their desks, and even pay taxes.  The culminating activity is a class auction in which students are able to reap the benefits of having saved their money throughout the year.

Cougar Savings Club

Created in 1993, The Cougar Savings Club bank is a unique program offered to Lower School students to introduce the basic principals of banking and saving money.  SunTrust Bank and Collegiate have teamed up to offer students the ability to open interest paying accounts. The bank is run by students for students. Students learn the concept of money: its use, its buying power, and its conservation.  Younger students will learn by experience and eventually become bank 'employees.' Fourth grade students serve as tellers, bookkeepers and security officers at the bank.

"I believe the foundation for a person's financial well being is a knowledge of money and personal finance.  I can't think of a better way we act on our purpose than helping young people like yourselves learn about banking and the importance of saving."
John Stallings, President and CEO of Virginia Division of SunTrust Bank