Sunday, September 14, 2008

This new initiative from National Irish Bank is aimed at giving children a basic understanding of money issues. It is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 7. The website consists of an online virtual space where the kids can pick up some basic knowledge of personal finance and have a bit of fun.

After logging in the kids can choose a personal character, a house and a room that they can call their own. It does not matter if the child is unable to read, as 'The Mayor' of Moneyville is on hand to prompt the child on what they could/should be doing.

Currently, the child can 'earn' some money by helping with painting the city gate, gathering apples or sorting packages in the Post Office. The 'currency' is silver and gold coins and there are 10 silver coins in one gold coin. There is also a shop where items can be purchased, provided you have enough cash. These items are then transferred to the child's virtual room.

Once the child has visited all the areas of Moneyville they are then given the opportunity to meet with a Sorcerer. If they can answer some basic money questions, he reveals the location of his treasure. This boosts the bank balance substantially.

The fun element of the site is enhanced by the 'Time Machine' area, where the child can visit an exotic location, for a fee, and partake in more interactive games.

Any progress that you make in accumulating cash or in purchases made are saved on the system, if you exit and revisit at another time.

I would be very interested in hearing any comments that you might have on this initiative.

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