Money $mart in Head Start Newsletters

Sixteen monthly newsletters have been created and reviewed by UW-Madison Division of Extension educators based on evaluations and feedback from previous Head Start financial literacy project participants. Newsletter issues 1-8 are sequential, so that each topic builds on the information in the previous topic.

Because many families are enrolled in Head Start for more than one year, we have created a second set of newsletters on topics requested by Head Start staff and families. Newsletter issues A-H can be used in alternate years to introduce different topics and reduce redundancy.

Households typically receive one newsletter per month during the school year, although families enrolling in Head Start later in fall may need to receive newsletters 3 weeks apart in order to receive the entire series before the school year ends.

Depending on local resources and preferences of Head Start participants and staff, newsletters could be distributed in a variety of ways:

  • Direct mail the newsletters to families in the project using contact information gathered in the baseline survey.
  • Head Start staff could send newsletters home with children or deliver newsletters during home visits.
  • Organizations could choose to email or post the newsletters online for participants to refer to.
  • UW-Madison Division of Extension staff who would like customizable newsletters may contact Peggy Olive for more information.

Newsletter Survey

In addition to the pre and post-financial surveys, we encourage you to use the one-page newsletter questionnaires that are posted above. Year one and year two have slightly different surveys to reflect the topics covered in each newsletter series.

Almost 1000 households with children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start receive the monthly financial newsletter every school year across Wisconsin. In May 2019, we surveyed five of the participating counties and heard back from 189 households who returned our year-end survey. Here are some highlights:

  • 58% reported they read “most” or “all” of the monthly newsletters, while 38% “skim” it
  • Half of the households hold onto the newsletters for future reference, while 11% pass their newsletter along to share with someone else
  • Almost three-quarters of all readers reported that reading the newsletters helped them to “know where they spend their money day to day” (73%), “make a plan for an unexpected expense” (72%), and “set a financial goal” (70%)
  • A majority of readers reported that the newsletters helped them to “get the most from their tax refund and tax credits” (89%) and “get the most from their health insurance” (60%)
  • Readers also reported taking action steps, such as “talking to a partner or family member about money” (71%), “putting money in a savings account” (66%), and “figure out their debt and start to make payments” (63%)
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