Career Development Programs in Elementary Schools
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Career development programs are growing in popularity in elementary schools. Elementary school teachers and counselors directly influence a child’s educational and socioemotional development. This close interaction places educators in the perfect position to tie knowledge learned in school to skill sets that will be needed later in life. Career development counseling allows elementary school teachers and counselors to achieve their goal of helping their children develop intellectually, emotionally, and socially. Moreover, the programs aid teachers in learning and refreshing important skill sets in order to effectively tie real world events to learning within the classroom. Career Development at the elementary school level usually entails the following:
- Career awareness through guest speakers and project-based learning
- Career exploration with tours and on-site interaction
- Career preparation in exploring all aspects of a career
- Family and Neighborhood interaction involving careers
Custom Career Development Programs in Elementary Schools
Career development programs are designed to facilitate the transfer of teacher knowledge to students. Moreover, career development programs are viewed as an educational strategy for overall school improvement. Authors maintain that educators develop curriculum, both formal and informal, and then practice what they teach in the classroom setting are those most likely to reap the benefits from career development programs. Effective career development programs, “concentrate on instruction and student outcomes…provide opportunities for collegial inquiry, help and feedback; and connect teachers to external expertise while also respecting teachers’ discretion and creativity…[and are] sustained and continuous”.
Career Development and the American Counseling Association
The American School Counseling Association Model for school counselors stresses, “closing the academic, career, and personal/social development achievement gaps among disparate groups of students”. The model stresses the importance of counselors in leadership roles and states that counselors should serve as change agents within the public school system. To fulfill this mandate, counselors must work closely with students, teachers, and school officials. This requirement becomes even more important when initiating and promoting the career development process in elementary schools.