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Building Children’s Background Knowledge:

Using Money in Dramatic Play

Teaching Strategies Video Series

Preschool teacher Karla Alamo describes how she helped children develop an understanding of money to enhance their experience in the new dramatic play center. By allowing them to explore real money and encouraging them to create play money, Karla ensured that children had the background knowledge needed to fully participate in the classroom’s grocery store.

This video provides an example of incorporating social studies in the preschool classroom and helping children develop an understanding of commerce, consumption, and economic systems by exploring using money to buy and sell.

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  • Building Children’s Background Knowledge:

    Using Money in Dramatic Play

    This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.
    Download transcripts in English or Spanish in .pdf format.

         Karla: Okay, how much?
         Child: Five.
         Karla: Five dollars? Is that my receipt? Thank you. I’ll see you later!

    Karla Alamo, Preschool Teacher: Dramatic play is always a center that our kids love. And the kids were able to create every single item and every single sign with numbers, letters, money. Everything that comes to having a grocery store in a classroom, they did. Some of them did not know how a dollar looks, or what a coin looks like. So I ran to my purse, and I got a dollar, and I came back.    

         Karla: So, my friends, this is real money. Look at the color.

    Karla Alamo: You always think that a kid would know what money looks like, but some of them don’t. I have to step back because I cannot think that all these kids know what I’m talking about. You just have to step back and think: what am I doing? What’s important here is them. You know, even though we got the print-out, it just doesn’t look the same; it doesn’t feel the same. So I really want to give them the experience that, “This is how it looks. This is real money, and this is what you use to pay at the store.”

         Child 1: Here’s your money!
         Child 2: Thank you!

  • Producer, Scriptwriter, Editor: Sean Leser
    Videographer: Ken Measimer
    Executive Producer: Julia DeLapp

    The Center wishes to thank the Child and Family Development Resource Center in Willimantic, Connecticut, for their cooperation in the making of this video.