What I Want to Be When I Grow Up: Career Theme in Preschool
Most people spend the majority of their lives working. Although some people may job hop before they find something they love, others know exactly what they want to be and have a wonderful career in that field. While having a job is important, having a career that you love and are successful at is very rewarding. To establish that, you must know what you like to do and what you are good at. You must also be aware of the opportunities that are available to you. For that reason, it is important to begin introducing children to possible careers at an early age. This allows them to know more about what people do in the world around them, how they can use their interests and talents, and what they may want to focus on as they move through school. Although most people change their minds several times and often do not decide on a career as a child, it is never too early to present them with possibilities! This career theme does just that by letting the preschoolers say, "This is what I want to be when I grow up!"
- ABC Jobs by Roger Priddy
- Chart paper for brainstorming
- White construction paper
First, begin by telling your students that they will be learning about careers. Ask the students if they know what a career is. Explain that a career is a job that a person does. It is usually a job that they do for most of their working years that they enjoy and are very good at. Tell the students that although they are young, it is good for them to learn about the jobs that people have around them so they can understand them and begin to think about what they may want to be when they grow up.
Read ABC Jobs by Roger Priddy. This book is available through Scholastic. This book introduces the students to several different jobs in the community and what each job does. When you are finished reading the story, ask the students questions about what each position does to check for comprehension. Then talk about why people work. Explain that most people work to earn money to pay bills, and provide their families. Also share that some people work because they enjoy it, and like to socialize with other people. You can also explain to them why people choose the jobs they do. They often choose a career based on who they are.
Next, have the students brainstorm a list of careers. Have them think about the jobs their parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members and friends may hold. Allow each student a turn to name a career, and tell the other students what that job entails. If the student does not know what the job is, help explain the job to the students. You will probably get a wide variety of answers. This discussion will also provide students the opportunity to learn about new careers previously unfamiliar to them.
Now have each child think about a career they would like to have when they grow up. Provide each student with a piece of white construction paper and crayons. Ask them to draw a picture of someone doing that job. Then have each child present their picture to the class, share what they want to be when they grow up, and why. This will not only help the students to develop language and social skills, but it will also give you a new insight into the interests and skills of your students.
You can easily extend this theme into a whole unit. You can spend a day learning about each job separately. There are several children's books on careers that can be used as a supplement to any career lesson plan. Some quality choices include The Wonder Books - Careers series by Cynthia Fritterer Klingel, Charnan Simon, and Robert B. Noyed; The Young Careers series published by Troll Communications Llc., and Career Day by Anne and Lizzy Rockwell. These books are all available on Amazon.
It would also be a great idea to invite people of different careers throughout your community to come speak to your class about their job. This would give the students a first-hand look at each job, and the opportunity to ask questions about the job that you may be unable to answer for them. It is also a practical idea for students of any age to learn to set both long and short-term goals for themselves.
This lesson plan for a preschool career theme is a great simplistic way to begin introducing career choices to students at a young age, and expose them to jobs they may want to hold in the future. It will also allow students to learn more about why people work, and how they choose the careers they enter.