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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Learning about work starts early

When my daughter was in preschool, she wanted to grow up to be a ballet dancer. I remember a boy who wanted to be a tap dancer and a chef and a girl who aspired to be an alligator.

In the Cajon Valley Union School District, east of San Diego, career exploration starts in kindergarten, writes Hechinger’s Tara Garcia Mathewson.

Five-year-olds learn about police officers, doctors, artists, teachers, bakers and farmers. Over the next eight years, until they leave the district for high school, they will cycle through learning about 54 different careers, including real estate agent, paralegal, dietitian, reporter, graphic designer, sociologist, urban and regional planner and financial analyst.

Many refugee families have settled in the area. The World of Work Initiative hopes to “introduce students to job opportunities that their existing family and community networks might not have or know about,” writes Mathewson.

Students will also learn, over the years, about being a yoga instructor, a librarian, a carpenter and an operations manager. The careers span the six different personality types in the RIASEC framework, an acronym for realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. (RIASEC is part of a psychology theory about how the choice of occupation relates to personality.)

Local businesses are helping teachers create activities, writes Mathewson. Police department forensics investigators will help craft a lesson on their work.

Forensic science is becoming a popular high school class across the country.

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