Earlier this year, we surveyed PayPlan clients to learn more about how debt can impact individual and family life.
70 per cent of respondents said they believe that having financial wellbeing education available in schools could help more people to become debt-free.
With this in mind, we’ve spoken to Gary Edwards, Founder of Keep On Squirrelling in the West Midlands to find out how his Financial Education Programme which teaches children across the UK how to manage money in fun and engaging ways.
Launching – Keep On Squirrelling
Keep on Squirrelling started as a concept in 2014. Following some time in Canada it struck me how the families I’d spent time with seemed to act so differently with money, compared to my experience growing up in the UK.
From a young age, children seemed comfortable with keeping and allocating money across multiple pots. Even conversations around the dinner table about business, money and investing were all new to me.
Getting the programme off the ground
At the beginning of the concept, I created the Keep on Squirrelling board game. I then began having people highlight the need for a financial education programme in schools.
UK statistics show that finances are in the top five reasons for divorce and stress and top ten for suicide. Yet, it has also been shown that money habits are being formed during primary school age.
How many schools have been on the programme so far?
Since the end of 2017, we have reached over 5,000 primary school children with the key money management principles. Keep On Squirrelling started in the West Midlands area, but due to demand it has expanded and can be delivered across the UK.
Reaching out to children at school is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of addressing financial education. We also deliver workshops for parents on how they can support their children to manage money. These are proving really popular and vital to change behaviour in the long-term.
Key learnings from the sessions
What stands out most during the children’s sessions is the joy and inspiration. We keep things engaging, such as by using a squirrel mascot called Keepsy to deliver some of the messages. The students also get so motivated by the board games and there is a real buy in towards the concept as a whole, keeping money and preparing for the future.
As a result of the programme, schools that we work with have noticed that children’s confidence has increased around money and budgeting as a whole.
The parental sessions are still interactive, but we know that it’s often harder for them to save as big a proportion of monies they receive as children. Depending on outgoings, and whether the adult is in debt, it can be really hard for them to save any of their income. In addition to supporting the adults in how they can manage their money, we also focus our sessions on how parents can support their children to manage money.
What’s the future for Keep On Squirrelling?
Our vision is to be the number one inspiration for improving children’s Financial Education. We want the board game to be in every home across the UK. We won’t just stop there – I believe there is demand for squirrelling accounts, apps, cartoons, and concerts – all to teach key money management principles in fun and engaging ways.
Programmes on offer
Our experts offer either a subscription or immersion programme. We can send schools all of the resources to deliver the programme themselves; using the games for clubs and during free time. The teachers will also receive a training session to be able to deliver the session and have remote access to the Keep On Squirrelling central team.
With the immersion programme, our facilitators will deliver the programme as externals. Students are immersed in Financial Education for a period time, with schools choosing either one-year group or multiple groups to experience it. The programme consists of 12 lessons and covers giving, saving and investing money, all of which are delivered in fun and engaging ways.
For more information:
- Website: www.keeponsquirrelling.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @keeponsquirrel
- Facebook: keeponsquirrelling
- LinkedIn: Gary Edwards
- Instagram: garyedwardsofficial