California's Cajon Valley Union School District is addressing the question "How young is too young to start introducing students to future careers?" Cajon Valley implemented their "World of Work" program starting in kindergarten this year! Five-year-olds learn about police officers, doctors, artists, teachers, bakers and farmers. Students will continue examining 54 different careers, including real estate agent, paralegal, dietitian, reporter, graphic designer, sociologist, urban and regional planner and financial analyst, through grade 8.
Throughout America, good jobs are disappearing for people with only a high-school diploma; employment opportunities are losing diversity for the non-college individual; and wage gains increasingly accrue to people with higher education.
Given this, perhaps this approach will provide young students with greater sense of 'purpose' for learning. It may empower students to answer their own all too common question "Why do I need to learn this?"
As data is collected and studies are done, it will be interesting what students teach us!
By: Larry Johnson