MADISON, Wis. (5/4/11)--A University of Wisconsin (UW) professor, whose research on preschool financial education was funded by a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) and sponsored by the Credit Union National Assoociation, served as an adviser on a recently launched "Sesame Street" financial education initiative. Karen Holden, UW-Madison Center for Financial Security affiliate and professor emerita of consumer science in the School of Human Ecology, was one of six advisers on “For me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Sharing, and Saving,” a project developed by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the “Sesame Street” television show (University of Wisconsin-Madison News May 2). The bilingual, research-based multimedia outreach initiative establishes a foundation for financial education for children between the ages of three and five. Project advisers helped determine the fundamental lessons applied through the program. They reviewed drafts of the script and educational materials, including parent-caregiver guides to be released with the program DVD. Holden was on the set to watch one day of filming, meet the puppets and their puppeteers and some of the “Sesame Street” human characters. “For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving” uses Sesame Street characters to emphasize financial learning opportunities that occur during every day routines and experiences. The materials highlight the basic concepts of making choices and the value of people, things, and money that can lead young children towards a solid understanding of saving, spending, and sharing. The outreach kit includes an original “Sesame Street” DVD, a parent/caregiver guide and a children's activity book highlighting the financial basics. Holden conducted research that showed young children are capable of acquiring basic money concepts long before they enter school. Through social interaction and observation, preschoolers can begin to comprehend such abstractions as the purpose of money. CUNA developed the research concept and offered advice for the study, based on its “Thrive by 5” pre-school financial literacy program. A grant from NCUF funded the research.