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The City Journals

Elk Meadows Third-Graders Get Taste of “Real Life”

Mar 10, 2016 09:20AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

South Jordan - What will they be when they grow up is what many Elk Meadows third-graders dream about, but coupled with a role-playing experience of paying for housing, transportation and groceries, it became a look at “real life” for many of them.

On Feb. 9, three classes participated in Kids Marketplace where students have a job — from welder to doctor to fashion designer — and a salary. Organized by Jordan School District’s work-based learning, students must visit each of the 12 stations to gain insight on adult life.

“We want to prepare students and start giving them financial literacy education,” Lori LeBeau, work-based learning coordinator, said. “We make them aware that these stations represent some of the payments their parents make each month and why it’s important that they learn now how to save their money.”

Students start with a savings account and $200 to $450 as their monthly salary. They  visit the bank, the animal shelter, chance, contributions to charities, clothing, fun/entertainment, groceries, medical, personal care, housing, furniture and transportation. Bandages, a Barbie house, groceries, stuffed animals and other items decorated the booths.

“The program does a great job preparing kids for how much things cost and deciding their needs versus their wants. They also learn what happens when they don’t have enough money,” LeBeau said.

Students who were best dressed as someone working in their career received a plastic piggy bank.

To prepare the students for the day, teachers read seven books, such as “Momma’s New Job,” “Pigs Will Be Pigs,” and “Ox Car Man.” The books are about finances, savings and keeping a budget, which ties into the students’ math curriculum, LeBeau said.

Third-grade teacher Whit Lovell said they discussed the books after reading them in his class. 

“It’s a wonderful program where students learn life lessons, such as how to manage their money and how to make sure they save,” he said. “We want students to leave some money in their wallet and in their bank. Already some of our students are getting an allowance, earning money for doing chores or getting money for birthdays from Grandma, so we want them to know the importance of saving.”

Third-grader Ava Livolsi said she has her own bank account in real life and is saving money for college.

“I already knew I need to save money for college, but I also need it for food and if I have kids,” she said. “I learned it’s important to buy important stuff first, then I can spend it on things I want.”

Ava had a rough start in her Kids Marketplace experience, stopping first at the chance station. Similar to the Monopoly board game, the card she drew could be fortunate or, in her case, unfortunate.

“I lost $40 first thing because my car broke down,” she said.

But when she visited the transportation booth, she chose a motorcycle to get herself to work instead of a car.

“It looked like fun,” Ava said.

Third-grader Kambria Nunes said she spent $3 on taxes at chance. She decided to buy a house with two friends during Kids Marketplace.

“I had a friend who wanted to live with someone and I thought it was less money at $60 each instead of $180 by myself,” Kambria said.

Both girls bought pets when they visited the animal shelter. Ava bought a rabbit she named Fred and Kambria got a cat she named Fluffy. They both made donations to a charity and had money left in both their Kids Marketplace wallets and savings accounts.

Kambria said at home she scrubs baseboards and does other chores to save money for college, where she’s thinking about being a teacher. 

“I learned it’s a wise thing to save money. I already knew that, but this really showed it to me. I’m saving it for college so I can be who I want to be,” she said.

Tracks C and D will have the opportunity to participate in Kids Marketplace on April 12.

LeBeau said Kids Marketplace has been offered for about 12 years to Jordan School District students.