The recognition of money for young children is a concept which is not difficult to learn. Understanding the monetary value and what each individual coin or paper represents is the challenge. Each grade level teaches different aspects of what is money to how to spend money. Starting with the lowest grade, pre-K through Kindergarten, this article will explore the many techniques of teaching children how to remember what money equals.
Depending on which part of the world you reside, each country teaches the money system which relates to their life. Obviously if the dollar is used then the Euro will not be taught.
Between Pre-K and Kindergarten, students will learn to first identify the names of the coins (see money recognition). Many begin with the penny since most children are already familiar with this coin. The distinct copper color makes this the easiest for children to identify due to its difference of color. Also, many times when a child walks by a wishing fountain and looks in, the parent will ask the child if they would like to throw a penny in to make a wish. The tactile movement with the verbal command reinforces the identity of a penny.
The other coins that begin to be identified are the dime, nickel, and quarter. Usually Kindergarten teachers begin with the penny, and then move to the nickel, dime, and then quarter. Besides the difference of shapes from small, larger, smaller, and largest, when the child learns the values of the coins, they already have been taught from the least amount, a one cent penny, to the highest amount, a twenty-five cent quarter.
Many times children first learn to recognize the different coins and then begin to remember the value of each. The best way to have a Kindergartner retain the concept of money is by role playing. Putting the students into groups and assigning them each a role helps with the organization of play. Each student will have the same amount of money and each item is labeled so regardless of what they choose, all groups will end up with the same total. The teacher will tell a story while the students act it out together. For example, one child plays the cashier at a store while the rest go food shopping. When they approach the counter, the students get their items rung up and the cashier gives them the total due.
This practices adding basic numbers, as well as students cooperatively working to give the correct amount of money to the cashier. The teacher gives the students up to ten minutes to double check their work and places the money on the desk. Once everyone is done, the teacher will then visually and verbally shows and writes on the board the correct combination of money that should amount to their total cost from shopping.
Kindergarten teachers continue to do reinforcement exercises throughout the year to keep the students understanding the concept of money. By the end of kindergarten, students should be able to identify all the basic coins and the dollar and five dollar bill. Working with money teaches students how to work together, verbally communicate properly, and how to use their addition and subtraction in the real world.