Using Theatre to Teach Financial Literacy Pays

The National Theatre for Children Performs 'Mad About Money' at Jump$tart's Educator Conference

Nov 04, 2009, 11:00 ET from The National Theatre for Children

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The words "theatre" and "financial literacy" aren't typically used in the same sentence. However, The National Theatre for Children (NTC) based in Minneapolis has worked hard to change that and it's paying off. Now, the country's largest in-school educational theatre company has been invited to perform at the Jump$tart National Educator's Conference, the first national educator conference devoted entirely to personal financial education. NTC will present Mad About Money on Saturday, November 7, for conference attendees and the media in the ballroom of the Capitol Hilton at 8:30 p.m.

The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy was established because the average student who graduates from high school lacks basic skills in the management of personal financial affairs. Many are unable to balance a checkbook and most simply have no insight into the basic survival principles involved with earning, spending, saving and investing. Jump$tart's objective is to encourage curriculum enrichment to ensure that basic personal financial management skills are attained during the K-12 educational experience.

Recognizing the same need, NTC created a series of multi-platform financial education programs - utilizing live theatre, the Internet and television shows - to help the nation's schools teach important concepts around money. While these programs teach very specific curriculum points, they are also funny and entertaining. Performances of Mad About Money for middle schools, Crazy About Credit for high schools and Showdown in Cash Canyon for elementary schools have encouraged students to save a little more, spend a little less, and use credit wisely.

While student and teacher feedback has consistently indicated that the plays make an impact, a recent study by Dr. Lewis Mandell of the University of Washington provides empirical evidence that NTC's productions are influencing student attitudes on personal finance. Professor Mandell's research showed that watching the Mad About Money play - and using the student workbooks and Web site aligned with the program - significantly increased a student's knowledge of personal finance concepts. "The intervention increased knowledge by more than 13 percent, which was highly significant," writes Dr. Mandell in his report.

Financial institutions have taken notice. In the past two years, no fewer than eight corporations have sponsored a Mad About Money tour into schools in their service territories including Bank of the West, CoVantage Credit Union, and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). "These companies understand that helping educate students is a good thing to do," says NTC President Ward Eames. "They also understand that doing 'a good thing' has a positive impact on their brand image with teachers and parents, as well as with the young people who grow up to be potential customers. It gives companies a chance to be good corporate citizens and smart business people." State agencies in North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Iowa have also sponsored NTC financial literacy programs for students in their communities.

About The National Theatre for Children (NTC)

Founded in 1978, NTC is the largest in-school touring company in the world. They are dedicated to educating our nation's students on important, timely subjects by offering live professional theatre tied to curriculum and using multiple learning platforms. Based in Minneapolis, NTC has developed the art of teaching through a combination of live theatre, television, print and Web learning into an evidence-based science of its own. NTC has pioneered dozens of extremely successful programs in health, science, social studies, reading and financial literacy. Each year, dozens of troupes perform live educational theatre programs in front of millions of students, in thousands of schools, nationwide. For more information, please visit the NTC Web site at or call 1-800-858-3999.

For more information: Katie Griep, Director of Sales and Marketing, or 612-341-0882 x202

SOURCE The National Theatre for Children