Today’s guest is Dani Mendonsa. Dani and I talk about some of early childhood lessons Dani’s parents taught her about money as well as how a sports injury caused Dani to pivot and get involved in the teaching profession. Dani’s done some outstanding work helping to co-create the ChooseFI fin lit curriculum from the ground up where she served as the co-curriculum lead for the K-Gr5 writing team. We talk about why it was critical to integrate elements of FI into the ChooseFI financial literacy curriculum. We also talk about the Passport to FI, a fun activity for kids to collect stamps and actively learn how to get on the path to FI. We also dive into the themes around the series of books she recently authored for 7-10 yr old kids to bring money concepts to life including meal preparation, budgeting, entrepreneurship, buying new vs used, and vacations to name a few. And we cover why it is important to have kids involved in these processes and decisions and how it develops ownership and makes it more memorable.
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Dani is a K-6 certified Elementary School teacher in Richmond, Virginia with a passion for teaching students about money. Dani served as the co-curriculum lead for the K – Gr 5 writing team in developing the ChooseFI financial literacy curriculum. She is the author to “The Baobab Money Tree Series”, an elementary aged series of books which teaches 7 – 10 year old and their families about the importance of Financial Literacy in their lives.
- Download the free ChooseFI Foundation PreK-12 Financial Literacy Curriculum
- Access Dani’s FinLit Made Easy for 3rd-5th Graders Video Series Membership (14 self-paced, self-directed video series. The Meal Plan video is a free video if you would like to check out the feel for this course)
- Purchase the first three books in the Baobab Money Tree Series: Planning a Party, Birthday Bash and Super Fun Staycation | Website
- Follow @baobabmoneytreeseries on Instagram
- The early childhood lessons about money that Dani’s parents taught her about money and about accountability
- How a sports injury caused Dani to pivot and get involved in the teaching profession
- How the brainchild for the Pre K-12 ChooseFI curriculum came about
- How the ChooseFI team developed the curriculum from the ground up with the end in mind, starting with outcomes at the highschool level and working it’s way down to the elementary school level
- Why it was critical to integrate elements of financial independence into the ChooseFI financial literacy curriculum, as well as financial literacy standards, social studies standards, mathematic standards
- Why the ChooseFI curriculum is designed to be a free resource for teachers and parents to reach as many people as they could
- What the ChooseFI curriculum includes
- How they have been able to validate that the learning outcomes from the ChooseFI curriculum have been met through pre and post assessments
- How the visual nature of the FI passport allows the kids to see the process and encourages them to take action, including examples
- Project based learning examples, including meal preparation planning project
- Why is important to get from the initial stages of learning a concept into taking action
- The themes around her Baobab Money Tree Series and how it brings financial literacy into the classroom and home. Important money concepts include budgeting, meal preparation, entrepreneurship, savings and more
- Why literature is so important to helping kids learn about money concepts and having natural conversations with their parents
- How her 3rd book in her series “Superfun Staycation” covers money concepts such as budgeting, earning, saving, research and costs.
- Why it is important to have the kids get involved in these processes and how it develops ownership and make it memorable
- How if it is meaningful and have kids take action – it sticks and stays in longer term memory instead of just rote learning
- How the discussion section in the books is meant to trigger dialogue between parents and kids
- How her 5th book in her series “School’s Out” covers money concepts such as ‘New vs. Used’, vacation budgets, preparing for school, buying in bulk and more
- Enemies of Peace by MK Williams
- Rob Phelan, Lead, Highschool Writing team for ChooseFI
- Lindsay Giroux, Lead, Pre-K Writing team for ChooseFI
- Mandy Bert, Lead, Middle school Writing team for ChooseFI
- M is for Money book by Rob Phelan
- Molly McBride and the Party Invitation by Jean Suchoonover-Egolf
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Thanks to Dani for joining me this week!
In case you missed it, make sure to catch up on last week’s episode “Episode 012: Wealth Hacking and Funding Your Child’s education with Erwin Szeto”!