Careers and Kindergarten: Finding Value in Elementary Career Exploration

By Lori Brown, Ed.D - August 14, 2019

High school students are often provided the opportunity to engage in career exploration activities, as they are on the cusp of adulthood, gaining skills and knowledge that allow them to pursue their life’s calling. Similarly, middle school students, thanks in large parts to newer state requirements asking secondary students to create college and career plans, are increasingly engaging in short-term career exploration courses, with an opportunity to understand the variety of jobs available to the public at large. But our kindergarteners and emerging elementary learners rarely engage with focused career exploration lessons, as they are busy learning the fundamentals of literacy and math through cooperative learning practices.

But research[1] shows that students as young as fifth grade (10 years old) have already started narrowing down career options and identifying early career aspirations[2], even though they’ve hardly had time to explore the ever-changing world of work. As a result, career exploration must start early, and it can start as early as kindergarten.

One of the more effective strategies for building student career curiosity is virtual career exploration. With real-world, day in the life videos that transport students into all sorts of work environments (e.g.:  office buildings, agricultural crops, waterways, and airplanes) student knowledge of and interest in careers can thrive. And to this end, Strivven Media’s VJS Junior leads the charge.

VJS Junior is an interactive, digital learning platform designed to position K-5 students for success in the 21st century world. Its high energy career exploration lessons cultivate students’ interest in a variety of professions while strengthening digital literacy skills. Blending job shadowing videos with the international adventures of “The Career Crew” (four animated friends known as Beep, Fact Dragon, Volt, and Zuri), VJS Junior invites students to take a seat in the “Terrahopper” (aka…spaceship) for a series of career cluster adventures providing insight to real world demands. As a result, even the youngest elementary learners form an understanding of careers.

But the greatest value of virtual job shadowing is that it reminds children that the sky is the limit in the world of work. Students don’t have to restrict their future career possibilities, meaning they are not limited to the careers they’ve seen in their local family or community. With career learning experiences covering everything from animal trainers and actors to accountants and aquarists, young learners start their educational journey with the understanding that they have the power to chart a new path to engaging career opportunities that fit natural aptitudes and interests. If you’re ready to help your elementary learners start their pathway of career discovery, check out VJS Junior today.

[1] Auger, R. W., Blackhurst, A. E., & Wahl, K. H. (2005). The development of elementary aged children’s career aspirations and expectations. Professional School Counseling, 8(4), 322-329.

[2] Edwin, M. & Prescod, D.J. (2018). Fostering elementary career exploration with an interactive,

technology-based career development unit. Journal of School Counseling, 16(13). Retrieved

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