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New Program Teaches Preschoolers About Giving, Saving and Spending

Apr 27, 2023

Give. Save. Spend. 

That is the backbone of a new Financial Literacy Program for three and four-year-old students at DeKalb County Schools Early Learning Center co-created and sponsored by Georgia United Credit Union. 

Financial literacy for toddlers? 

“We are committed to financial literacy at all stages of life, and you can never start too early,” said Georgia United Business Development Officer Steve Overcash. “Give, save and spend. At this age, they can grasp this concept. Those three things apply to all stages of life.” 

Overcash and Executive Vice President Laura King recently presented Georgia United’s $2,500 contribution to the program during a ceremony at the Early Learning Center, which serves approximately 200 pre-K students. 

The new financial literacy program for preschoolers is the first of its kind in DeKalb County Schools and will serve as a best practice model for additional Early Learning Centers within Georgia’s third largest school district and across the state. 

“We are the first early learning center to actually offer a financial literacy course, so it’s a win-win,” said Early Learning Center Director Dr. Zack Phillips. “This started about two years ago from an idea I shared with Mr. Overcash.” 

The curriculum was developed in-house by Phillips’ staff with input from Georgia United.  

“One thing we wanted to lead with is the mantra: give, save, spend; teaching our students what it is to give back to their communities through charitable donations, be consumers when they’re spending the money and the various vessels they can utilize when it comes to saving a dollar,” said Early Learning Center Assistant Principal Anderson Spince III. “We’re putting our children in the position to have hands-on learning. And that’s what we do here – take students’ learning outside of the box and put them in the most enriching environment.” 

The financial literacy program is designed to also engage parents and encourage them to open a savings account with the money that their kids will save during the program in Georgia United branded piggy banks. It only takes a $5 deposit to open a Georgia United Prime Share Savings Account along with a $5 one-time membership fee. 

“If we’re able to educate their parents while we have their children here, this is just another step in that process,” said DeKalb Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley. “This is powerful because we’re starting with our young children. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start learning about the importance of making sure you don’t step over a penny until I was much older than them. If they can start learning about the importance of saving (money), this generation is going be much better moving forward. “ 

DeKalb County residents and those who work in DeKalb County are eligible for Georgia United membership. Also, school district employees and retirees are also eligible for membership. Georgia United’s history is intertwined with DeKalb County Schools because the credit united was established in 1958 as the DeKalb County Teachers Federal Credit Union. 

Georgia United and its philanthropic arm, Georgia United Foundation, are passionate about programs that advance financial literacy and help strengthen schools within the communities that the credit union serves. This includes the foundation’s School Crashers makeover program that has provided 63 schools in Georgia with improvements valued at $1.8 million, and DeKalb County’s Salem Middle School was chosen for a 2023 grant. 

“These are the initiatives that are so important to us,” said King, as a string of Early Learning Center students greeted her with high-fives and hugs on their way to the center’s cafeteria.