Though financial literacy is a crucial life skill, it is not available in most education systems in the Philippines and often regarded as beneficial only to the older working population.
But given the financial crises that transpired over the years — the latest of which is happening now due to the Covid-19 pandemic — it might be the right time to teach the younger generation about money. With homeschooling and blended learning now part of the “new normal” among students, financial literacy lessons can also be had in a more enjoyable way.
Filipino parents who may have hesitations to start these specific lessons can turn to Prudence Foundation’s television and comic book series, “Cha Ching.”
First launched via Cartoon Network Asia in 2011, the show and its accompanying comics features characters and storylines that teach kids the four key principles of financial literacy: “earn, save, spend, and donate,” in that order.
The “Cha Ching” curriculum or universe has been added to the system of more than 2,000 schools in the Philippines, in which the organization trained teachers and provided materials for activity-based lessons. The format includes animated videos and activities, which focus on finance, mathematics, planning, and analytical skills.
Later on, Prudence Foundation — the non-profit foundation arm of Pru Life UK — studied and proved that the formula enhanced kids’ financial literacy.
Adapting to new normal, the curriculum originally formulated for face-to-face classes are now available as a homeschooling material.
“Cha Ching Kid$ at Home,” as it is called, provide free online resources to help parents teach essential money management concepts to their kids.
“I don’t think [financial education among children] should just be for these current times. This is a topic that was relevant 10 years ago as it is now. But I will say increasingly so because the access to money and the access to spend it is so much easier with technology. It’s an incredibly relevant topic for children.” Prudence Foundation Executive Director Marc Fancy told The Sunday Times Magazine during the program’s virtual launch via Zoom.
Based on the company’s research, good behavior or values are best learned at the ages of seven to 12, so the materials are made for this age group. When they learn about different values at this age, they are most likely to carry these for the rest of their lives.
These are utilized on the four session guides or workbooks available at chaching.cartoonnetworkasia.com. With engaging and interactive activities, all materials are suitable for on print and onscreen use.
Each book is composed of an introduction for the parents before going into the challenges for their kids. Parents are given a list of objectives for the session and a list of skills for their kids to achieve such as getting better at observing, listening, and brainstorming.
For example, in the first workbook for “Earn,” kids will be guided by their parents to the kitchen and bathroom to give an overview of how everything costs money. Then, the kids would be tasked to guess the price on their worksheets for parents to reveal the true price afterwards. The final activity in the first workbook would be for kids to draw their dream room and list down the items they would want in it.
Parents are encouraged to be present all throughout to additionally educate kids how to earn money when they grow up doing what they like or what interests them.
To close the session, links to accompanying videos are also included in the books to further teach kids about these concepts. Kids can also enjoy other daily challenges on the website to put their new knowledge into practice and to make the discussions about money a part of the family’s daily life.
“Through providing fun and engaging ‘Cha-Ching Kid$ at Home’ materials, we aim to promote discussions around responsible money management skills among families in the region,” Fancy ended.