One of my favorite ways to teach career awareness to young children is to ask them to describe a project they recently completed in class. Most can easily think of a writing assignment, book report, or research project.
“What skills did you need?” I ask. I usually get answers like “We needed to read the book” or “We drew a picture of our animal in its habitat,” but with prompting, children can dig into the skills behind the skills, such as listening, following step-by-step instructions, and being flexible if they didn’t get their first choice of topic.
After we’ve listed all the skills they can think of, the children and I have fun discussing made-up scenarios in which a worker doesn’t use some of the skills the children are learning. What skills didn’t the worker use? What might go wrong? This gives me a chance to emphasize that the skills they are learning right now, from planning ahead to asking for clarification when they don’t understand, will help them in the jobs they have someday. Parents can have similar discussions with their children, drawing their attention to skills they are developing now that help you succeed in your own job.