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Queens 5th Graders Learning The Finer Points Of Fiscal Responsibility

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While some parents complain their kids think money grows on trees, a group of 10-year-olds in Brooklyn are learning how to make money and manage it.

At St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy in Ozone Park, Queens, some 5th graders are learning all about finances – from starting a company to balancing a checkbook.

“We learned how to save money and take responsibility in life,” young Emely Salceto told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

“I think that it’s good for us to learn at a young age so that when we grow up, we can think back at our experiences of saving money and that every penny counts,” said Tobi Onalaja.

Robin Yang spent more than a decade on Wall Street, but gave it up last year to focus on teaching children about fiscal responsibility.

“I think it’s important for kids to learn where money comes from, it’s not growing out of ATM machines, you have to earn it and put the money into the bank,” Yang said.

Yang uses interactive games complete with play money to get the children excited about learning. She travels to different New York City schools for workshops that last 4 weeks.

Teachers say it is never too early to learn such life lessons.

“When you consider all the people who got mortgages and then lost their homes,” Jeanne Shannon, of St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy said. “All the stories you hear about the credit card debt that people are in.”

The kids also learn how to get their dream jobs, which include students hoping to become computer engineers, doctors, scientists and singers.

They also learn what it takes to get there and achieve their goals.

“You need to keep track of your income because I want to have a family when I grow up — the income for your children, your wife and myself also,” Onalaja said.

Yang said it is important for parents to teach money lessons at home so the next generation may be in better financial shape, especially with a job market that’s only getting more competitive.

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