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Imagine Your Future: Promoting Career Awareness in Elementary Schools

While Career and Technical Education (CTE) is widely recognized by high school and middle school students, the discussions around CTE really begin with Frenship’s youngest students. As early as pre-k, teachers and administrators begin incorporating lessons and activities like career days to create career awareness for the students.

“Elementary level is really meant to be a career exploration experience,” said Amy Baker, Frenship CTE coordinator. “You want students to be exposed to opportunities and to all the careers that exist in our society, and to know there are no limits to the kinds of careers they can have.”

Baker says research shows, on average, elementary students are only able to identify 10 careers. Those are usually careers held by family members, neighbors, and others they’ve been exposed to such as teachers, doctors, movie stars or professional athletes they see on TV.

cte wall wordsIn an effort to boost that number, Baker works with elementary staff to create opportunities for students to learn more about career options at an early age. Her most recent project was a joint effort by Crestview administration and the Frenship Communications Department to design a CTE Wall near the entrance of the campus. The wall shows children dressed in different occupational attire such as a scientist, mechanic, lawyer and architect. Another nearby wall lists various careers, many the students have never heard.

“The wall is not intended to just be a visual piece, but both an instructional tool and motivator for the students,” said Baker. “This gets them thinking about their current homework and activities they do in school, and it can start to have a deeper meaning for them as to how it could influence their future.”

Crestview administration says they have plans to make the wall interactive and to have it as a center piece for future lesson plans to teach students about careers.

Baker hopes the CTE wall and other career focused activities will inspire students to start looking at what they can do to work toward their future dreams when they enter middle school and high school.

“The more students are exposed to career opportunities, the more they start to ask questions to begin their own exploration into what they love and what they want to do,” she said. “The more they’re thinking about it and making those connections between their education and possible careers, the more successful they’ll be in their future.”

cte wall