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Fairhill Elementary in-school Banking Days

Nga Le, Sandy Spring Bank branch manager, Merrifield Office, assists students making banking deposits at Fairhill Elementary School's in-school banking day.

Nga Le, Sandy Spring Bank branch manager, Merrifield Office, assists students making banking deposits at Fairhill Elementary School's in-school banking day. Photo contributed

April is National Financial Literacy Month and Sandy Spring Bank is celebrating by taking to the classroom to give children hands-on experience learning about money. On Wednesday, April 17, at Fairhill Elementary School, the bank set up its weekly in-school branch to help teach children about banking in a real world atmosphere.

Select fourth graders, who were trained to be “bank tellers” at the school, helped their fellow student savers by processing their savings account deposits. After handling the transactions, the student bank tellers were taught how to settle the accounts—giving them experience with a vital aspect of personal finance.

Wednesday’s in-school bank day was a way to reinforce basic math skills among the student bank tellers and young customers, while also giving them a sense of responsibility.

“Children learn by doing, so the most effective way to teach them about saving money, is to actually let them save, and in some cases, process savings transactions,” said Nga Le, Sandy Spring Bank branch manager of the Merrifield office who oversees the in-school banking at Fairhill.

Good saving habits are best formed early, and positive reinforcement helps children turn an activity into a routine. Because of this, Sandy Spring provided the students with Young Savers Books, where they will receive a stamp each time they make a deposit.

“The students love getting their books stamped. It helps them feel good about their saving, and motivates them to want to save more next week,” Joann Phomsouvanh, a Sandy Spring Bank teller supervisor explained.

Sandy Spring Bank, which has in-school banks in over two-dozen elementary schools throughout Virginia and Maryland, was inspired to begin this program as a way to help children begin learning financial skills earlier in life. The in-school banking program runs weekly at most participating schools throughout the school year.