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New Hanover County Libraries Launch a Pre-K Money Management Program

The Money-Smart Kids Program kicked off with a Thursday morning story hour at the main library, followed by a craft session during which kids made "money-saving" jars.

The concepts of sharing, saving and spending are coming to a library near New Hanover County pre-schoolers. With help from a grant from PNC Bank, the library is launching a program for the five-and-under set called Money-Smart Kids. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that the libraries will be tailoring story times and craft sessions to educate preschoolers - and their parents - about wise financial stewardship.

After listening to a story about a little boy’s decision over whether to spend his allowance on the school pants he needs or the dragon tee-shirt he wants, about twenty local Head Start kids are being asked to place various objects—such as candy bars, video games and winter coats--into their own “wants” and “needs” bins. They’ve gathered at the main library, along with Paula Fryland, PNC’s Eastern Carolinas president, for the Money-Smart Kids kickoff.

"The earlier you start to understand the concepts involved in terms of managing resources—whether we want to think of it as money, or crayons, or what have you—the better."

Harry Tuchmayer, director of public libraries, adds that because twenty percent or more of local residents are illiterate, any program that connects kids to books will carry benefits beyond fiscal insight.

"Because then they also start getting the fundamentals of letters and sounds and colors. And so the whole thing connects, and then ultimately, the real payoff is, not only do you have a more responsible citizen when they grow up, because they sort of understand a lot more about how money works and how needs and wants works, but they’re really going to be ready for school in a way that a lot of kids aren’t."

Through this two-year grant, Tuchmayer reports that the library will be able to serve more than a thousand kids. He says events to train parents on using the same resource management skills are also in development.