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Financial capability in action

The Upper Harbour Sorted Schools (UHSS) is a cluster of nine Auckland schools that worked together during 2014 and 2015 to embed financial capability across the curriculum. This initiative was organised by the Commission for Financial Capability. The aim of the UHSS was to improve engagement with financial capability across an entire school: teachers, students, and the surrounding community.

In this section, you will find ideas, stories, templates, and lesson plans developed by the school cluster. This material has been shared to help you build a stronger focus on financial capability in your own school settings.

Primary ideas

This page explains the different ways that primary schools in the UHSS have integrated financial capability. A selection of task sheets and templates are available for your use. Please adapt them to suit the needs of your particular communities of students.

Financial capability projects | Financial capability and learning areas | Learning at home

Financial capability projects

Teachers can plan projects with a strong financial capability focus to help students develop specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the financial capability progressions.

Holiday destination project
Students from Browns Bay School took part in a holiday destination project where they planned a $10,000 family holiday. They had to budget for airfares, accommodation, food, activities, and spending money. Students presented their holiday options to each other in a range of formats, including posters, PowerPoint, and brochures. The class then voted on which destination provided the best value for money.

Links to financial capability progressions and learning areas

  • Managing money and income – spending
  • Managing money and income – budgeting and financial management
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • English
  • Social sciences

Word 2007 icon. Family holiday task sheet (Word 2007, 176 KB)

Students selling Christmas crafts at a market stall.

Fundraising projects
Students from Torbay School raised funds for a student at their school who required medical assistance. One class held a puppet show and asked members of the audience for gold coin donations. Another class designed arcade games and charged people for turns. Other students made Christmas crafts to sell at a market day.

Links to financial capability progressions and learning areas

  • Setting goals – setting goals and planning ahead
  • Managing risk – identifying and managing risk
  • English
  • Technology

Save the kiwi
Year five and six students from Torbay School organised a bake sale for Kiwis for Kiwi. They raised $600 which helped to protect six kiwis.

Links to financial capability progressions and learning areas

  • Setting goals – setting goals and planning ahead
  • Managing risk – identifying and managing risk
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Mathematics and statistics

Money Week
Upper Harbour Primary School used Money Week as an opportunity to investigate all things financial with their students, staff, and community. They introduced Money Week to students at their school assembly and organised piggy bank crafts, online games, and classroom shops for students during the week. Teachers received daily financial advice and resources to use with their students. Sorted booklets and an online survey were distributed to families. 

YouTube clip –Money Week fun at Upper Harbour Primary School 

Word 2007 icon. Upper Harbour Primary, newsletter to parents about Money Week (Word 2007, 2 MB)

Student in dragon's den.

Dragon's Den
Students from Torbay Primary School pitched a business idea to would-be investors in the hope that they would receive venture capital to start their businesses.

Links to financial capability progressions and learning areas

  • Setting goals – setting goals and planning ahead
  • Managing risk – identifying and managing risk
  • English
  • Social sciences

Financial capability and learning areas

Financial capability can be integrated into specific learning areas, helping students meet learning outcomes from both the curriculum and financial capability progressions.

Financial capability and numeracy

Classroom shops.

Classroom shops
Several junior school teachers set up shops in their classrooms and encouraged students to buy and sell goods using toy money. This activity helped students recognise money, add up the right amount of money, and carry out simple transactions.

Links to financial capability progressions 

  • Managing money and income – money
  • Managing money and income – spending
Shopping for toys.

Understanding the value of money
Junior students at Upper Harbour Primary School explored the value of money by sequencing coins and notes from least to greatest value, and naming and labeling money. They also took part in an imaginary shopping activity where they created money wallets and cut out images of toys from pamphlets to fill their shopping bags. They had to make sure that they had enough money in their wallets to pay for their shopping bags. 

YouTube clip – sequencing money at Upper Harbour Primary School

YouTube clip – naming and labeling money at Upper Harbour Primary School

Links to financial capability progressions 

  • Managing money and income – money
  • Managing money and income – spending

House designs
Senior students from Target Road School were asked to design a house that met specific requirements. Each square metre added $3,000 to the total price of the house. Students drew a floor plan of the house and calculated the total cost of construction.

Links to financial capability progressions

  • Managing money and income – budgeting and financial management

Word 2007 icon. House design instructions (Word 2007, 52 KB)

Students with play money.

How many different ways can you make $20?
Students from Target Road School used play money to make $20 using different note and coin combinations. Students then repeated the same activity to make $50 and $100 in different ways. 

Links to financial capability progressions 

  • Managing money and income – money

Money dominoes
Students from Upper Harbour Primary School played money dominoes and match the money to link notes and coins to the written form for money.

Links to financial capability progressions 

  • Managing money and income – money

PDF icon. NZ money dominoes (PDF, 3 MB)

PDF icon. Match the money (PDF, 5 MB)

Financial capability and literacy

Find the cheapest price
Students from Browns Bay School used brochures and websites to hunt for the best prices for certain products.They raced each other to try to find the cheapest offer. Starter questions for this activity could include:

  • What is the best price for 1kg of oranges?
  • I want to fly to Samoa for a family wedding in December. What is the best flight deal?
  • I need a heater for my bedroom. What heater options are available? Which are more energy efficient?

Links to financial capability progressions

  • Managing money and income – spending
  • Managing money and income – budgeting and financial management

The language of money
Teachers from Browns Bay School included money vocabulary in their spelling lists and word study activities. This helped students get better at talking about money, equipping them for life beyond school. 

Word 2007 icon. Financial capability vocabulary list (Word 2007, 52 KB)

Guided reading
Teachers across the UHSS used newspaper articles and journal stories about money during guided reading sessions. Students discussed the money concepts and financial advice within the texts.

Instructional series with a financial capability theme

Financial capability and te reo Māori

Te reo Māori phrases
At Browns Bay School, te reo Māori phrases related to financial capability were used in different classrooms.

Word 2007 icon. Te reo Māori phrases (Word 2007, 51 KB)

Financial capability and social sciences

Needs and wants list.

Needs vs wants
Many students from the UHSS explored the spending patterns and attitudes of different people, including themselves. They developed the understanding that people can view needs and wants in diverse ways. 

Links to financial capability progressions 

  • Managing money and income – spending
Foreign currency.

Money from around the world
Students from Browns Bay School compared New Zealand currency with money from other countries. They discussed the different images and people on the notes and coins, developing the understanding that money can represent the cultural identity, history, and geographical features of a country. 

Links to financial capability progressions 

Managing money and income – money

Learning about financial capability at home

Schools can help students and their families learn about and discuss money at home. Home learning can be encouraged through homework projects, class blogs, discussion prompts, and community events.

Supermarket flier.

Supermarket shopping homework
Students at Browns Bay School completed a homework assignment that required them to plan the family supermarket shopping for a week with a budget of $200.00. Students had to discuss essential and non essential items with their families and use supermarket websites and flyers to create their shopping lists. 

Links to financial capability progressions 

  • Managing money and income – spending

Word 2007 icon. Supermarket homework, task sheet for students (Word 2007, 75 KB)

Word 2007 icon. Supermarket homework, letter to parents (Word 2007, 53 KB)

Class blogs
Teachers at Browns Bay School used class blogs to provide links to games and activities about financial capability. This enabled students and their families to learn together at home. Room 6 provides an example.

Table talk

Browns Bay School included "table talk" ideas in their school newsletters to encourage money discussions at home during family mealtimes. Some "table talk" ideas are listed below. You can use or adapt them for your own school community.

Managing money

  • Where does our money come from?
  • What do we do with our money?
  • What is the cost of our family meal? What would a week's worth of dinners cost?
  • Read a supermarket receipt together. What item cost the most? What item cost the least? How can we make our supermarket shopping bill cost less?

Setting goals

  • As a family, are we saving up for anything? Is it a want or a need?
  • How can we reach our savings goal faster?
  • As an individual, are you saving up for anything? Is it a want or a need?
  • How can you reach your savings goal faster?

Managing risk

  • Have we ever lost our money? How did we lose it?
  • How can we keep our money safe?

Top tips to help kids save

Target Road School included saving advice for children in their school newsletter. The tips were sourced from a New Zealand Herald newspaper article. They included:

  • If your child's school is involved in a bank programme, sign them up.
  • Set up a bank account for your child. Many banks have junior and teen accounts with good interest rates that will encourage them to save.
  • Take your child with you when grocery shopping. Go through the shopping list and let them see which products cost less and how they can save at the supermarket.
  • Give your child pocket money for chores around the house or a good report at school. They will understand that hard work pays off.
  • Be careful of your own money habits, as children can quickly pick up how good (or bad) you are with money.

Money expo

Target Road School ran a money expo for their parents and wider community. The event was scheduled at the same time as the school disco to make it easier for parents to attend. The expo included presentations on budgeting, Kiwisaver, and retirement with representatives from local banks and the Citizens Advice Bureau available to answer questions.

Word 2007 icon. Money expo invitation to parents (Word 2007, 53 KB)

Next – Secondary ideas

Published on: 18 Jan 2016


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