The world appears much larger to youth once they enter elementary school! They are exposed to numerous extracurricular activities that provide a wide range of opportunities to help children develop their skills and identify their interests.
Once children start school, it’s natural for adults to begin asking, What do you want to be when you grow up? Their answers are often not surprising. They typically respond with teacher, doctor, astronaut, a professional athlete, just to name a few. Just by those responses, we know that youth naturally are thinking about their future careers through imagination, exploration, and role-playing. However, as adults, we know there are so many more careers in the world!
So, when should career education truly begin beyond role-playing? Many experts have embraced the developmental approach, which recommends career education beginning as early as kindergarten, while gradually becoming more of a focus as youth get older. Having access to different careers and the concept of work helps youth recognize the connection between what they’re learning and why that knowledge is valuable.
Here are some ways to incorporate career awareness into your Cloverbud program:
- Read books that showcase various careers. This not only increases reading literacy but allows the opportunity to expand their knowledge about work. Check out 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures for career-related, literacy books and activities. For example, Ada Twist, Scientist or What Do You Do with An Idea?
- Talk to your Cloverbuds about your own work and explain what you do.
- Find ways to incorporate less obvious careers into your conversations with your Cloverbuds. For instance, it was someone’s job to design and construct the home in which they live or the job of someone who changed the oil in their family vehicle.
- Capitalize on the skills and abilities your Cloverbuds are developing. For example, do they enjoy drawing? Find ways to incorporate art into your Cloverbud activities. Invite local artists (graphic design, fiber artists, etc.) to share their talents with your Cloverbuds.
- Check out the lessons included in Cloverbud Investigators Cloverbud Career Detectives. Each lesson allows Cloverbuds to explore science-based activities with a career twist!
There are many opportunities for Cloverbud volunteers to take advantage of a child’s natural curiosity and begin laying the foundation of positive attitudes and habits toward careers and work. Ask your Cloverbuds, What do you want to be when you grow up? You might be surprised at their responses!
Alexander, J., & Hubbs-Tait, L. (n.d.). Career exploration in elementary school. NC State Extension Publications. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/career-exploration-in-elementary-school
Learning-Liftoff-Staff. (2019, April 1). Should career education begin earlier for kids? Learning Liftoff. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.learningliftoff.com/should-career-education-begin-earlier-for-kids/