Ontario Just Took A Big Step By Teaching First Graders Financial Literacy

April 29th, 2021

School sets the foundation of much of our learning for the rest of our lives. That being said, the public school system in North America is hundreds of years old, and it constantly needs to evolve with the contemporary times.

In an ever changing world, it can be hard for educators to know exactly how to implement updates to learning materials in classrooms. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try, and we owe it to our kids to give them an education that is representative of the world they will be growing into.

Ontario just made a big change to their curriculum.

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Unsplash - Hoang Loc Source: Unsplash - Hoang Loc

In June 2020, the province of Ontario, in Canada, announced that they would be making a big change to their math curriculum starting in grade 1. From grades one to eight, students will be learning the basics of coding. Additionally, they will be learning about personal finance and financial skills that they can apply to their lives.

What is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is defined by Investopedia as:

“Financial literacy is the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. Financial literacy is the foundation of your relationship with money, and it is a life-long journey of learning.”

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Because financial literacy is so seeped into our daily lives, it can be beneficial to begin to learn these skills at an early age.

People should learn these skills as soon as possible.

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Unsplash - Phong Duong Source: Unsplash - Phong Duong

Research has proven that learning financial literacy at an early age will set a person up for financial comfort much earlier in life. A person’s relationship with money begins at an early. By a person’s first job, they should already know how to budget and spend responsibly.

The world is constantly changing, and our education should keep up.

Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, had this to say about it:

“This is the first new elementary school math curriculum in 15 years – it’s clear that has a lot has changed since 2005, and our math schooling needs to change with it.”

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Unsplash - Emma Matthews Digital Content Production Source: Unsplash - Emma Matthews Digital Content Production

Ontario’s curriculum will look like this.

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Unsplash - Charles Deluvio Source: Unsplash - Charles Deluvio

The province of Ontario is rearranging a lot of their math curriculum to add these new skills. The financial literacy lessons will be distributed over the course of grades 1 to 8, based on what children at those ages can reasonably be expected to understand. That means, that some lessons that we might consider ‘foundational’ are being relegated to less important roles.

One jarring example is that learning to read and analogue clock with hands will be moved from Grade 1 to Grade 3. I mean, that makes sense because most of us only ever check the time on our phones anyway!

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Other places are starting to catch on too.

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Unsplash - Catherine Hammond Source: Unsplash - Catherine Hammond

This trend is not just happening in Ontario. Other states and provinces are realizing that they need to adjust with the times and help set our kids up for success.

Now, 45 states offer financial literacy classes for kindergarten through grade 12, and 37 states make it a requirement to learn these skills.

Our education models have to keep up with the times.

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Pexels - Yan Krukov Source: Pexels - Yan Krukov

No one wants their kids to be learning outdated information. Educating kids based on the skills and perspectives in the world the are a part of is essential to help kids become full members of their society. From updating the books that children read, to teaching the latest cutting-edge scientific facts, schools will always be changing to help our kids.

To learn more about this big change, read this article.

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Source: CP24, CNBC, Investopedia, Public School Review