Career Days are instrumental in exploring what options are available to students when they leave school, but the necessity to undergo these explorations are needed to help our children understand the world around them and how it works.

photo of school children

At pre-school age, it is a fun and upbeat opportunity to think about those unlimited ambitions that children have and instil in them the idea that they can achieve anything that they really want to. It keeps the adult of being a grown-up magical and special and allows children to look up to people, no matter who they are or what they do. It can be just as exciting for a pre-schooler to work in the NYPD, be a carpet cleaner in Livermore, a Chicago Firefighter, or even an astronaut. The possibilities are endless, and they should be.

When holding a Career’s Day or Career’s Fayre, it is important to cater it to the age group you are teaching. There is no point in having a lot of information stands for pre-schoolers to browse, as they will have no idea what they are looking at. Instead bring the information down to their level and use their vivid imagination to outline the day.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

First of all, what do you want to be when you grow up? See how it says what to you want to be, not what do you want to do? That is an important difference, most pre-schoolers won’t know what they want to do – as they don’t know what people do, but they will know what they want to be, even if it is a tree!

when i grow up text

It might sound like a simple solution to a careers day schedule, but getting your pre-schoolers to really explore what they might like to be can be a very eye-opening experience. Prepare a set of cards that show the name of a job, a picture of the job, a short description of the job and a dress up outfit for the job is the first step in opening up the possibilities.

Get the children to choose a job, work with a teacher or assistant to discuss what it is to do that job, dress up and role play it. You can then take pictures and make a collage poster of what they want to be when they grow up. Remember to store these securely and bring them out again when they are older to see how their ideas have changed.

Full of questions!

On the other hand, you could utilise the instinctive hunger for knowledge that younger children have. Young children are full of questions, they don’t stop asking them. Use this to your advantage. Get your class to come up with questions that they would like to ask different people in different jobs.

Then invite a number of professionals, parents, friends into school to answer these questions. You could even arrange a field trip to one of these professions to see what happens on a typical day. It is important to let the children lead on this activity, create and print speech bubbles that you can write their questions in and display with pictures of their visits and the answers they receive. Keep everything bright and visual.

These are just a starting point for explorations, you might find that a lot of your pre-schoolers are interested in opening a restaurant, for instance, so why not open a small café in your classroom for the day, make cakes and sandwiches and invite other classes to come and “buy” their lunch. A great little enterprise that gets everyone involved.