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David Hargadon of TD Bank at Teach Children to Save Day


Photo by Ambre Alexander Payne

Elementary school students learn civic, economic lessons

By third grade, many students know that it’s important to save, but they’re unlikely to understand what happens to money after it’s saved.

“A lot of students in third and fourth grade still think that the bank just holds on to your money,” said Bonnie Meszaros, associate director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE).

When Meszaros asked third graders what banks do with saved money, students responded with answers like, “They put it in that room with the wheel on the door,” and, “They put it in an envelope and just hold on to it until I need it.”

In an effort to help students master this and other important economic information earlier, hundreds of volunteers visited third- and fourth-grade classrooms around Delaware to read Greg Koseluk’s new children’s book The Great Investo and the Money Tree.

Each year, a book from Koseluk’s Great Investo series is the focus of Teach Children to Save Day (TCTSD) in Delaware, which is produced jointly by UD’s CEEE and the Delaware Bankers Association (DBA). The Great Investo and the Money Tree is the sixth book in the series.

This year, 266 TCTSD volunteers from 18 different banks reached 6,500 students in Delaware with a message about the importance of lifelong saving habits through entertaining stories accompanied by brief lessons and classroom discussion.

Meszaros explained that this year’s TCTSD selection helps students to build civic skills and better understand how money affects not just individuals, but communities as well.

As students learned that banks use their savings to make loans to other individuals and businesses, Meszaros said, “They could see that there was this multiplier effect on the community.”

These lessons are critical to Delaware social studies and economics standards for elementary students, she added.

David Hargadon, TD Bank senior vice president and regional vice president for the Delaware region, volunteered with TCTSD this year and said he was wowed by the students’ enthusiasm for the lesson.

“What a fantastic group of students with a clear thirst for learning,” he said. “Many students remembered the lessons from last year's TCTSD and were eager to share their knowledge. The program, materials and lesson plan made the instruction simple while building a memorable event for the kids.” 

With a fourth grade class at MOT Charter School, Hargadon read the latest installment in The Great Investo series, which describes the magician calling on his old magic teacher, The Wizard of Wealth. Together, they conjure a money tree to help Investo understand how saving money can influence his whole town.

Hargadon stressed the importance of students gaining financial knowledge in early grades, saying, “By actively participating in early age financial education, we put our future generations in a better position for them, and the entire community, to succeed.

“It goes without saying that my TD colleagues and I are very excited to partner with the CEEE, DBA and Delaware's schools to help cultivate excitement around the importance of financial literacy, financial education and financial independence with our students,” Hargadon continued.

“I'm already looking forward to next year.”

About Teach Children to Save Day

This year, Gov. Jack Markell signed a proclamation claiming it to be TCTSD Week in Delaware at an assembly of second and third grade students at Warner Elementary School.

UD CEEE Director Carlos Asarta, who attended this year’s proclamation signing, said that it was wonderful to have an opportunity to be part of the event.

“The students were very engaged, and it was clear that their teachers and administrators are excited to deliver the best economic education possible to their students,” Asarta said. “We are very proud to partner with the Delaware Bankers Association and many volunteers to bring this personal finance program to over 250 classrooms.”

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