Children see the exchange of money for goods and services every day, but do they really understand what's going on? That's what Bexley mom Amy Dupler wondered and that's why she brought her 4-year-old daughter Lucy to the new Money Smarts storytime at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML).

Children see the exchange of money for goods and services every day, but do they really understand what's going on? That's what Bexley mom Amy Dupler wondered and that's why she brought her 4-year-old daughter Lucy to the new Money Smarts storytime at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML). "It's good for kids to understand how you get things, like food and clothes," said Dupler. "Especially with technology, kids think you just use credit cards all the time. It helps them with that concept." Fortunately for parents, a partnership between PNC Bank and the CML promoting financial literacy for children is making learning about money easier and more fun. PNC, which has worked in conjunction with the library for more than 10 years, awarded a nearly $190,000 grant to the library system this past fall. As an extension of the multi-million dollar PNC Grow Up Great initiative, the grant is bringing financial literacy to children ages 3 to 6. Why target the preschool age group? "We don't think these concepts are so complicated that you can't introduce them at this age," said Mike Gonsiorowski, PNC's regional president. "It's a natural extension of reading skills and math skills." To educate youngsters, CML began the Money Smarts preschool storytime in January. Library Assistant Sara Hathaway visits various library locations and daycare centers and introduces kids to the concepts of saving, spending and sharing. The ideas are presented creatively with Hathaway and other librarians reading themed books, singing and dancing with the children, and engaging them in role-playing activities. A recent Money Smarts session featured titles like "Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake," where a mouse learned to share with his animal friends. "We open up the dialogue so that preschoolers can relate," said Hathaway. "We want to give ideas and tips on how to talk to preschoolers about money." Along with storytime, there is an interactive component to Money Smarts - the "For Me, For You, For Later" kit that is available for free at all CML branches. The "Sesame Street" themed kit includes a DVD, coloring pages and other information for parents to broach the subject with their children. Gonsiorowski hopes to further the initiative in the future, as it reaps many benefits. "Dollars spent in this space pay many multiples of return later on for children," he said. "It reduces dropout rates, poverty, crime…it improves learning ability. We hope to continue more of this."