Child Enrichment Program

JCPS/YMCA Child Enrichment Program Partners with Class Act FCU to Teach Students Financial Success Skills During Summer Camp


 At what age are we supposed to start teaching kids about money?

Do we start in Pre-K or wait until they get their first part-time job? Is it now? I feel like it’s now.  Do we have more time? We need more time.

Actually, Kindergarten seems to be a great time to start building financial literacy skills, as kids learn about needs versus wants, different values placed on coins and how not just to spend, but also to earn money.  However, teaching them about money isn’t as simple as it sounds.  Kids today, don’t have much exposure to cash as in years past.  Teaching them about money can be challenging when what they see is a little plastic card that has money “inside”.  When money is intangible, it’s a much more difficult concept to understand.

That’s where our credit union stepped in, to make learning easier and more fun.  Class Act FCU is passionate about financial education at all ages.  We believe it’s part of our mission to help build a community of smart savers.  To support that mission, we partnered with the JCPS/YMCA Child Enrichment Program (CEP) and taught financial success skills during summer camp to more than 600 students ages 5 through 11.  Class Act FCU staff visited 19 CEP school sites over the course of two months teaching about money with accompanying interactive activities to expand their thinking.

The lesson, based on the book Less Than Zero integrated English, language arts, personal finance and mathematics. We read the book to the classes and they had to track progress made by the main character by listening for cues to follow along with the story using a number line – a graph that arranges positive and negative numbers in their order on either side of zero.  Each student received a penny to help them navigate it.

They learned that negative numbers with respect to money, means that a person owes money to someone else or that a person spent money that wasn’t his or hers. They had to evaluate needs versus wants and they learned about earning opportunities, interest, instant gratification, delayed rewards, borrowing, spending and saving.  “Anything we can do as an organization to help kids make good choices about money and saving before a financial crisis, we want to do,” says Laura Lewter, Executive Director, School Age Child Care at YMCA of Greater Louisville.

The objective of the lesson was to teach each student to identify savings goals and discover a way to reach it.  Each student also received a Class Act Federal Credit Union piggy bank. We asked the students put their penny inside and to start their very own savings journey, just like the character in the story. Lewter added, “It was a perfect fit for us to have area experts for them to hear from about how to handle money and reach savings goals.  To us, it’s a total investment in their future. If you plant those seeds as early as possible, they will grow!”

CEP sites offer childcare before and after school at select locations throughout the school year, as well as holiday break and summer programs.  The CEP is a 34 year old partnership between JCPS and the YMCA and it provides a safe, quality place to go before and after the school bell.  Financial assistance is available.  For more information, click here.

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