When should we be talking to children about CAREERS? International research clearly indicates it’s never too early. In many primary schools around the world careers education is increasingly being seen as an important part of children’s education.
For a number of years, primary schools in the UK and USA, have programs which include information about careers, CAREER DAYS and other special career-related events. (Knight, 2015) In Australia, more and more primary schools are starting to follow this lead. CAREER DAYS are already being held in some primary schools. Parents from a wide variety of career areas volunteer to talk about their career and present fun workshops to children. Children love seeing their parents being involved at school. If you have time, this is an excellent journal article on careers education for children.
Knight, J. L. (2015) Preparing Elementary School Counselors to Promote Career Development: Recommendations for School Counselor Education. Journal of Career Development, 42 (2), 75-85.
But doesn’t talking about careers just put more pressure on kids?
No. In fact, the research again shows that, rather than increasing pressure on kids, starting to think about future CAREERS does all of the following:
- Kids become more excited about the future and are more likely to work harder at school. Fantastic! They can see a link between doing well at school and future careers and this can motivate them to want to learn.
- Young minds are open to more possibilities. Girls don’t grow up somehow believing that only boys can drive trains, be doctors, pilots or engineers. Boys are open to being nurses and social workers as well as train drivers and pilots. Choices are broader rather than becoming narrower.
- As children are developing a self-concept in the primary years, this is a perfect time to encourage children to develop new interests as they think about possible careers. Linking interests and careers becomes a natural part of child’s self-concept.
- Talking about careers promotes lifelong learning.