Learning about the difference between wants and needs, students within the Kyrene School District learned the basics of finance and saving in a program through Bank of America.

Culminating this past week, the program, called “Kids Save,” was brought to the district this year with a goal to teach kids about money.

“It’s really focusing on the importance of saving money and helping kids understand the difference between needs and wants,” said instructor and assistant vice president branch manager Francesca Svoboda. “We all love Xbox’s, but we need food.”

Part of Kyrene’s Kids Club after-school program, students at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School this week earned play money, filled out checks, learned about interest, and talked about wants and needs.

Svoboda wrote down a list of wants on a classroom whiteboard Wednesday, naming items she could get the students for their “store.”

During the sessions, kids can choose to either spend their money earned on small items brought to the class like DVDs, toys, and supplies or save their earnings for bigger items at the end of the session.

“I love specifically that we learn how to save money at the bank,” said Cerritos student Gavin Godinez, 10. “And learning about all the prizes we can get.”

Kids Save has been taught at all Kyrene elementary schools and will transition into the middle schools this summer. An estimated 300 kids have been through the program.

After the session, kids will get a “graduation” certificate if they attended all classes and will get to make a final deposit in their play bank and purchase items.

With a plan to someday introduce the program to high schools, emphasizing education about credit, Svoboda said the curriculum is tailored to fit any age group.

Paige Matson, 11, of Cerritos said she feels comfortable with the idea of money and is confident her newfound learning will stick with her.

“I want to teach my kids about how important it is to save your money,” she said.

For more information about Kids Club, visit kyrene.org/kidsclub.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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