With the right resources, career exploration can begin at any age. From videos to workbooks to journalling exercises, these resources can help guidance counsellors, educators, parents and more engage elementary school students in career exploration.
All About Me grants children from kindergarten to Grade 6 access to a variety of tools that introduce them to the world of work. Whether exploring a new environment and the careers that inhabit them or trying a fun job match mini-game, students broaden their knowledge of future possibilities. Built-in drawing tools, video/audio recordings, journals and more allow students to showcase their learning.
These learning and career development programs give young people opportunities to strengthen and acquire new skills, test their abilities and enhance career readiness. Programs for children include Discovery Lab, a program that connects science to real-world contexts, and Kid Tech Nation, which teaches children digital skills, coding concepts, internet safety and computational thinking.
Tools such as learning maps and journals, as well as picture books and educator resources that can help students in kindergarten to Grade 5 expand their awareness of their personal interests and strengths and explore different types of careers.
Specific objectives of the workbook include the concept of self-knowledge, the development of a basic understanding of interests, likes and dislikes and how to interact with others. The various activities are also designed to raise awareness of the relationship between work and learning, the awareness of how work relates to the needs and functions of society and the interrelationship of life roles.
CareerGirls.org is a comprehensive, free, video-based career-exploration tool for girls. It has a collection of 10,000 career guidance videos focusing on diverse and accomplished women, including many who work in STEM fields. The website also offers a career quiz and a space to explore career clusters.
This website features numerous collections of paid resources educators, guidance counsellors and parents can use with students and youth to help them learn about career development. For instance, the “Career Exploration” collection includes books, DVDs and a game to guide them through career exploration.
Ideas for Introducing Learners to Essential Skills and Work Habits in Kindergarten to Grade 6 (Ontario Skills Passport)
This Ontario-based resource includes lesson ideas and worksheets for teachers to introduce students to essential skills and work habits.
This government of Alberta resource aims to help teachers guide students in Grades 4-6 through exploring the world of work and learning. It includes activities tied to specific learning objectives, such as relating personal interests to various occupations.
Although this is a US-based website, some of the information is applicable in the Canadian context as well. For instance, one page asks kids what they are interested in (e.g. sports, teaching, reading, etc.) and then provides examples of careers associated with those interests. It also has a periodic table of STEM careers.
The Early Years: Career Development for Young Children – A Guide for Educators and A Guide for Parents/Guardians
Based on CERIC-funded research conducted by Memorial University’s Dr Mildred Cahill and Dr Edith Furey, these guides explore the influence that educators and parents/guardians have on the career development process of children, aged 3 to 8. The guides provide practical tips, activities and examples to help children develop a healthy sense of self in the early years, and enable them to reach their full potential.
The Real Game series includes different programs for targeted age groups, from Grade 3 through to high school. The Play Real Game helps students in Grades 3 and 4 gain a realistic understanding of work by taking on adult work roles in a simulation. The Make It Real Game, for Grades 5 and 6, aims to guide students to make connections between school and future life/work roles.
Xello helps students discover the unique pathway that’s right for them using an investigative, discovery-based learning process that opens minds to exciting possibilities. The platform can be accessed on any device, including smartphones. Students can identify their interests, skills, favourite career clusters, personality style and much more. They can save careers, schools, programs and experiences to form a vibrant, visual roadmap that’s easy to update and share.
CERIC literature searches
- Early intervention career development for children and adolescents: Topics explored include career exploration, family and parental influence, school/guidance counsellors, and race and gender.
- Parental involvement in career development: Topics explored include gender stereotyping, self-employed parents and adolescent personality development.
- Infusing career development into K-12 curriculum: Topics explored include career exploration and guidance for elementary students, parental involvement in student career planning, benefits of career counselling programs for students and K-12 career competency building and implications.
- 5 ways to talk with young children about work and careers (CareerWise)
- 5 resources to help parents support their children’s career development (CareerWise)
- Early in the Story: Career Curriculum in Elementary Schools (NCDA)
- Tips for Parents: 8 Ways to Help Your Child’s Career Development (Career Key)
- Career ambitions ‘already limited by age of seven’ (BBC)
- The Role of Educators in Career Development (The Learning Exchange)
- Career development will help equip children to take on climate change (Careering magazine)
This blog was originally published on CareerWise Nov. 26, 2018 and was updated on Nov. 14, 2019.
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