PLYMOUTH — Derek Grymko spent his $3 on an inflatable beach ball without a second thought.
“I know some of the kids saved $1 or $2, but he went right for the $3 section,” Nina Grymko said with a laugh.
The fun money picturing Cookie Monster was part of the 3-year-old's reward for his participation in the “For You, For Me, For Later” program held Monday morning at the Plymouth Public Library.
Derek and the other five children in attendance from the Mom and Tot Spot group came out on a wet and raw Monday to learn more about the basics of money through a program sponsored by PNC Bank and the Sesame Workshop.
“It's fantastic. The kids are loving it,” Nina Grymko said. “And they love getting that money. They always say, 'Mom, look! I've got money!' ”
Though many spent more Cookie Monster cash than they saved, the idea of introducing the children to dollars and common sense is important.
Laura Brecher, PNC project coordinator for the Luzerne County Library System and area day cares, said children are taught about spending, sharing and saving over the course of six programs. Monday's session about jobs was the fourth so far at the Plymouth library.
Storytime sessions, activities and crafts reinforce the values set in place each week.
Library Director and Children's Librarian Suzanne Youngblood said hosting the program for area youths and their moms has been a joy.
“It's wonderful to work with young children and teach them new things from week to week,” Youngblood said. “Not only are we teaching literacy, but we're also teaching finances, which is really nice.”
Financial literacy, she added, is one of the five cornerstones that libraries across the state are working to develop to strengthen their role in communities such as Plymouth.
The Luzerne County Library System was awarded a $40,000 grant for the two-year program, Mary Ann Yonki, district consultant for the Wilkes-Barre library district, said. Grant money supported the purchase of supplies and other program materials.
The Plymouth library isn't just focused on teaching children to save. A free coupon swap and workshop for adults is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 20. Register by calling the library at (570) 779-4775.