On a recent morning, second-graders at Ellwood School in Goleta gathered in a half-circle to listen to the Berenstain Bears story, “Trouble with Money,” as classroom guests from Montecito Bank & Trust taught them about saving.
Volunteers from the bank have been visiting local classrooms for years as part of the national Teach Children To Save Day, and several employees talked with students at Ellwood, Franklin School and Dos Pueblos High School last week.
In Stephen Thomsen’s class, the second-grade students shouted out things they wanted to save for: “A car!” “A motorcycle!” “A mansion!”
One girl insisted she wanted a “private, made-of-gold limo.”
Montecito Bank & Trust employee Will Freeland told the students they don’t want to be all spendthrift or all miser, but they should find a balance in funding their needs versus their wants.
The students learned about interest money, too, which he explained as the bank saying, “Hey, thanks for putting money in me, have some more money for your account.”
“Would a shoebox do that?” he asked.
A shoebox really shouldn’t talk, a student said.
“True,” Freeland said. “If you have a talking shoebox, something’s weird; you should get that checked out.”
In Alice Robles’ third-grade class, students got an imaginary $100 budget to start a pet shop. They had to decide what items to buy, and at least a third of the students went over budget. It isn’t easy, they shouted out.
Principal Abby Vasquez said the bank employees do a fantastic job with very age-appropriate lessons that tie in with their regular classes.
“We always appreciate when local businesses are partners with our schools,” she said.
“I’m sure these lessons will go home to the parents and grandparents, too,” she said afterward.