Chicago’s Ariel Community Academy teaches students about stock as early as kindergarten and trades stock with students by Grade 4

The Ariel Community Academy is renowned for its positive impact in the field of education for over twenty years, taking credit for graduates who have taken on careers in law, medicine, and banking.

Three instructors within the school take responsibility for the children’s financial education from kindergarten and the first grade, including lessons about economics and managing personal finances.

The program aims to have students trading stock by Grade 4, and ensures comprehension by matching the curriculum to the grade level from K-8.

These additional lessons fit neatly alongside other key subjects such as science, language, the arts, and information technology.

Students learn about the real-world implications of investments and finance

Principal Lennette A. Coleman emphasizes the importance of students learning about personal finance as well as economics.

”They are taught about wants and needs, and the difference between those things,” Coleman said. “We may look at the fact that the cost of a bike is $200 and the average person makes $400.”

“It is very simple, basic concepts about what money is and the value of money related to different subjects. They get an understanding that money comes from somewhere. You can earn it through talent or effort. Some people think and some people work with their hands.”

Co-founder John Rogers said of the school’s stock-program success: “I tell people all the time that the best way to learn about investing is the way my father taught me. He gave me real money to invest in real stocks. That’s the heart of what makes our program work. It’s not a game.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is no stranger to investing in public education: it has spent