NORTH AURORA — Some of the youngest tellers in the banking business practiced their craft at Goodwin Elementary School on a recent Friday morning.
Goodwin is the site for PNC Bank’s “Bank at School” program, which helps teach students the value of money. Students are sent home with information and encouraged to open savings accounts and make deposits at school. The deposits are made to three fifth-grade students, under the supervision of employees of PNC Bank in North Aurora.
“They can deposit whatever they want,” Assistant Branch Manager Karen Feinblatt said. “The hope is to get them in the habit of saving.”
Students can make deposits from 7:30 to 8 a.m. on the second Friday of every month at a table set up in the hallway. Angelina Gorter and Sarah and Kevin Denovellis are the fifth-graders gaining experience as tellers.
One student brought a little more than $3 in change, and the students placed it all in a deposit tray provided by the bank and totaled it. They also wrote the deposit in the student’s registry.
It helps to get first-hand experience with money, Angelina said.
“I get to learn about how to count money and see a lot of people be part of a bank,” she said. “It’s pretty cool.”
February is the second month for the program at Goodwin, Feinblatt said. Right now there are about 15 students who set up accounts. She hopes to see that number grow as the program continues.
Feinblatt first heard of the program through other branches participating with schools near them. She thought it would be a good way for the bank to reach out to the community, she said.
So she approached Goodwin Principal Eric Benson, who liked the idea.
“Anytime we can encourage kids to learn how to save money and set goals, it is a terrific life lesson,” Benson said.
Since the goal of the program is to teach children, there are no minimum balances and no minimum to the amount of money that the children can deposit, Feinblatt said.
One younger student approached the table with a quarter in his hand, asking if it was enough to deposit. The student was handed the information on opening an account for his parents. If he had an account, they would have taken the deposit, Feinblatt said.
Students need to begin to understand money, Feinblatt said.
“Everything’s on a debit card now, rather than cash,” she said. “It reinforces the importance of saving.”