Shirley Hills welcomes commerce commissioner

By Becca Neuger

Students in Danielle Scherven’s kindergarten class at Shirley Hills Primary School got the chance to show off their money smarts during a special visit April 18 by Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.

The Commerce Department serves as the state’s consumer protection agency and regulates more than 20 industries, including insurance, real estate and financial institutions. The department featured a variety of financial education events statewide during April in celebration of Financial Capability Month. These events offered an opportunity for Minnesotans of all ages to learn how to focus on their financial goals, manage their money responsibly and protect themselves against scams.

“Part of what I do is helping to keep money safe and sound,” Rothman told the kindergarten students.

During his visit to Shirley Hills, Rothman read Judith Viorst’s book “Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday” aloud to Scherven’s class and then asked the students questions about the story’s messages.

“It’s important to know the difference between your needs and your wants and to use your money well,” Rothman said.

Scherven then led the class in a song about the value of coins, and the students completed two activities in which they categorized their wants and needs. Rothman was impressed to see that the kindergarteners could correctly categorize their needs—things like clothing, shelter, food and love—and their wants, which included iPhones, puppies and candy.

“Financial Capability Month highlights how important it is for every Minnesotan to learn about making smart money decisions from kindergarten to retirement,” said -. “We’re focused on educating and empowering Minnesotans to take charge of their financial futures, whether it’s children learning about the value of saving or adults learning to keep a monthly budget to track income and expenses.”