SMART$ teacher information


Improving young people's life skills

Under the concept ‘Money Mojo’, Life Education Trust has a goal to develop initiatives to support tamariki and rangatahi to develop their financial literacy as a core life skill. Money Mojo is consistent with Life Education Trust’s Vision – Inspiring tamariki and rangatahi to make positive choices. Our SMART$ theatre-in-education programme and SMART$ Online tool are designed to engage rangatahi and educate them about core financial literacy concepts: Debt, Savings, Credit cards and KiwiSaver.

Curriculum links

The New Zealand Curriculum describes the key competencies that young people need to be successful in the 21st century.

Supporting students to become responsible, confident and independent managers of money will enable them to live, learn, work, and contribute as active members of their communities. Financial education is a really important part of The New Zealand Curriculum because it affects every single New Zealander. By teaching students about money and making financial decisions we can prepare students to contribute to our society and our economy in a meaningful way.

Competency Financial capabilities

Managing self

  • Setting goals (setting life goals then developing and carrying out a financial plan to achieve this goal).
  • Delaying gratification by putting off short-term wants to fulfil longer term goals.
  • Planning for the short and long-term, for example budgeting.
  • Applying confidence, persistence, and resilience to inform financial decision making.
  • Taking responsibility for decisions that affect the long-term financial well-being for individuals and groups.
Relating to others
  • Collaborating with others in financial decision making including whānau, family and extended family contexts.
  • Finding, gathering, and evaluating information from financial experts and elders within the whānau or extended family.
  • Working with people in the commercial world with confidence and assertiveness, for example interacting, questioning, and negotiating with others.
  • Examining the effects of financial decisions on others.
  • Defining what long-term financial security and responsibility means in different cultural contexts (personally and for whānau).
  • Analysing different values and cultural priorities (including those held by Māori and Pasifika.
Participating and contributing
  • Collaborating to carry out a project. Providing feedback on others’ decisions.
  • Working with people that have different financial values.
  • Appreciating the importance of social, environmental, and economic sustainability in making financial decisions.
  • Sharing their own resources, for example, time or money, with a marae, charity, community activity, or group.
  • Making financial decisions to help their kura, school, or wider community.
Using language, symbols and texts
  • Using financial symbols and terminology for own and others’ understanding.
  • Calculating and interpreting financial information.
  • Gathering financial information from electronic and other sources.
  • Pursuing personal financial planning through literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Using an inquiry process to solve real life problems through financial planning.
  • Developing long-term thinking including understanding different life stages and their financial implications.
  • Thinking critically to compose relevant financial questions.
  • Identifying and deciding on different financial options.
  • Making sense of financial information and the different motivations, such as values and cultural influences, people may have in their creation.
  • Evaluating financial decisions and their consequences.
  • Investigating how local, national, and global finances can influence individual decisions.


The focus on values in The New Zealand Curriculum requires schools and their communities to know their own values and those of other groups and cultures and to be aware of how they express those values.
Our values affect the financial decisions we make. Knowing, respecting, and valuing who students are, where they come from, and building on the values they bring with them is essential when building financial capability.

When making financial decisions students will develop their ability to:

  • Express their own values in relation to money including spending, saving, budgeting, and charity.
  • Examine with empathy the values of others and appreciate that they have different values which influence their management of money.
  • Critically analyse values and values-based actions particularly when making financial decisions.
  • Discuss disagreements that arise from differences in values and negotiate solutions.
  • Make ethical judgments and decisions with regard to such things as: charity, bankruptcy, savings, loans, and act on them.

Building financial capability is an opportunity to create authentic learning experiences to explore and model the values of fairness, charity, establishing priorities and delayed gratification, and family or cultural obligations. When making their own financial decisions, students need to be aware of the impact these may have on other people including family, friends, and other community members.

Values Explored and modelled through...
  • Taking the opportunity to increase reward by increasing effort.
  • Setting financial goals and achieving them.
Innovation, inquiry, and curiosity Thinking creatively, critically, and reflectively to:
  • Set and achieve personal financial goals
  • Analyse and solve financial problems
  • Understand and use different financial systems
  • Explore different ways of sharing resources, for example, whakakoha and the Tokelauan way.
  • Recognising that different people have different values that affect decisions.
  • Recognising that some people need more support than others with financial planning, for example, people with special learning needs.
  • Understanding how family or cultural obligations affect decisions.
  • Demonstrating fairness in financial transactions.
  • Exploring and understanding reasons for Government transfer or payments, for example, family support, Treaty settlements.
  • Recognising the implications of more or less money.
  • Considering personal contributions to whānau or community goals.
  • Sharing resources, knowledge, and skills.
  • Working collaboratively when making financial decisions and achieving goals.
  • Understanding the need for charity.
  • Identifying the kinds of financial commitments within communities that whānau/families may make.

Ecological sustainability

  • Considering the environment when making financial decisions.
  • Exploring how the concepts of kaitiakitanga and waahi tapu affect financial decision making.
  • Appreciating the need for honest transactions and records.
  • Making responsible financial decisions, being accountable, and acting ethically.
  • Recognising responsibilities when borrowing and lending.
  • Investigating aspects of credit worthiness when applying for a loan.
  • Showing respect for themselves and others, including those with different cultural beliefs and values.
  • Discussing and reflecting on different financial goals.


Aligned to the key concepts and values introduced by SMART$:

An online platform that allows students to explore financial concepts through real-life situations.

Sorted in schools
Resources for students and teachers to build financial capability and skills. 

Young Enterprise Trust
Budgeting, personal financial management and group activities.

Game-based financial education.