Immaculate Conception Academy’s Middle School students boarded the bus at 8:30 am bound for Vanguard’s training center in the heart of Chester County. They were going to spend the day learning about financial responsibility – and they were excited.
Throughout the school year, ICA students have been participating in a program called “My Classroom Economy” designed by Vanguard employee volunteers. The program is described as “a [program] that enables any educator to teach children financial responsibility through fun, experiential learning. It’s a simple classroom economic system based on the idea that students need to earn school “dollars” so that they can rent their own desks. By bringing real-world scenarios into the classroom, students see the impact of their decisions to save, spend, and budget.” –https://www.myclassroomeconomy.org/
The field trip added a full day of financial, professional, technical, and personal development courses. The students applied for jobs met their teams, and found out what their salaries would be. Some were happy with their placements; some were not so happy. All of the students had the opportunity to earn bonuses throughout the day for good work. All through the day, each course had activities for the children to engage in the skill they were learning. When one group was picking their stock portfolio, the Investment Manager mentor that was leading the group gave the students a starting point value. Then she read a story based on real-world news items that affected the stock prices of companies. Things like wildfires, computer hacking, volatile business practices, and had the students add or subtract points from their choices based on those factors. This activity gave the children a much better understanding of how outside factors affect large companies, which lead right into the lesson of diversification of investments. Other groups were mentored in the areas of Client Service, Technology, Legal and Compliance, Human Resources, and Marketing.
The final presentation of the day dealt with professionalism and leadership. It was an interactive lesson where the facilitator and the children shared their beliefs about what makes a good employee and a great leader. The students felt that the essential traits of worthwhile employees and bosses were, being on time, polite to others, knowledgeable about your job, hard-working, kind, a role model, honest, and supportive.
ICA had an excellent day at Vanguard, thanks to the hard work of its employees. The students are even more excited to continue our yearlong financial program.