Communities across the United States have started launching children’s savings account (CSA) programs to help families save for their children’s college futures. But Boston’s CSA program, whose pilot is set to launch in Fall 2016, stands out in an important respect.

After two years of researching various CSA programs, the Eos Foundation found that Boston’s was the only one that started with input from the schools.

“If people could re-do it, they’d start with the schools,” said Brinda Budhraja Ghiya, a researcher for the Eos Foundation, which is supporting Boston’s CSA pilot program.

Principals and teachers from the five Boston Public Schools participating in the pilot program – Harvard/Kent Elementary School, James Otis Elementary School, McKay K-8 School, Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 School, and Conley Elementary School – met with city and community leaders today to share their ideas on integrating the program into their classrooms and school cultures.

While the task of exciting kindergarteners about financial literacy may puzzle policy wonks, the educators pooled a wealth of ideas. They discussed the value of school stores, classroom piggy banks, dramatic play using cash registers and money, and games, songs and field trips themed around the concepts of money and saving. Several of the schools planned to partner with ReadBoston to identify age-appropriate books that illustrate the link between saving in the present and meeting goals in the future.

The educators also considered ways to promote a college-going culture, including everything from encouraging staff to wear their alumni attire to giving classrooms college names. As McKay Principal Jordan Weymer put it, the goal is to “de-mythologize college.”

That goal embodies one of the purposes of the Boston’s Children’s Savings Account program. Concurrent with the schools’ efforts, the CSA program will endow each child with a seeded savings account specifically dedicated to post-secondary education. Research has shown that families with CSAs are more likely to see college as a goal for their children.

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