Northland program to teach tots basics of money

| Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It's never too early to be financially savvy.

The staff at the Northland Public Library in McCandless, in partnership with Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania, will offer “Pennywise: Fun and Finance for Little Kids” next week.

The free five-day program will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. from Monday through Aug. 16 and is geared toward children in preschool or kindergarten.

The program will teach children what money is, how to use it, why it's important to save and why it's necessary to work.

“We're really going to try to put the fun in finance,” said Susan Claus, manager of the library's children's/young adult services.

The activities follow a curriculum that the Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania uses when teaching the program in schools, said Amanda Laichak, director of education for the organization locally.

Junior Achievement offers volunteer-presented programs for students from elementary through high school designed to give them skills needed to plan for the future and be economically successful, Laichak said.

“Junior Achievement basically gets children ready for the real world. It bridges that gap,” said Laichak, of Pittsburgh.

“They're doing easy stuff at the kid level.”

Stories to be used at Northland's program include “Megan Buys a Present,” “Dylan and the New Playground” and “Angie and the Carnival,” all written by Melissa Dinger and Junior Achievement staff, Claus said.

Claus said the stories and activities are themed to teach children “about money and teach them that people need jobs to make money and why you might want to save money.” They'll also learn money identification.

The program will be presented by library staff and library volunteers. PNC Bank also donated small banks for the children and at the end of the week, Claus said, and children will receive a book with stories about finance.

And there also will be “lots and lots of stickers,” said Claus, of West Deer.

Laichak, 35, said the program can help build a strong work ethic in young children.

The program can accommodate about 30 children.

Preregistration is required by visiting the children's/young-adult service desk at the library, 300 Cumberland Road, McCandless, or by calling 412-366-8100, ext. 123.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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