Take Your Child to Work Day is a national holiday that occurs in April of every year. Originally the holiday was called Take You Daughters to Work Day to expose girls to skills and job opportunities. It later expanded to include boys as well. You can find more information here about the history of the holiday and the non-profit organization behind it’s inception.
Schools should encourage students to participate in Take Your Child to Work Day. Not only is it an opportunity for children to bond with their parent in a new way, but it exposes students to the professional world way before they enter it. This gives students a chance to think about future careers, assess what skills are necessary to attain jobs and get a better idea of how to manage a full-time job. These life lessons are paramount for maturation and an increase in academic focus. Many students see important characteristics in action such as resilience, hard work, and leadership. They also begin to realize that all of the subjects they have been learning will come to fruition in their career, especially math and literacy.
The following steps outlined in this blog post will ensure you lead a successful Take Your Child to Work Day at your school site.
Announce the Event
Give ample time for teachers, students and families to plan their participation in the event. You can announce the event in an email to staff or during a more formal meeting. First, share the purpose of the event and how it benefits students. Then, share expectations for what teachers need to provide their students for the learning experience as well as deadlines for when teachers need to share and pass out resources. This might mean teachers need to track where their students are going and with whom. Regardless, parents will need to be notified followed by ongoing communication with the teacher prior to the event.
Ensure Access for All
Not all students will be able to shadow their parent for a variety of reasons – security clearance won’t allow it, travel, lack of a job, no present parent, etc. In these cases, students should still be able to access a Take Your Child to Work Day experience.
Reach out to local community members to volunteer for a child shadow. You can also ask parents if they are willing to take additional children to their workplace (if it allows). Securing volunteers takes extensive orchestration (planning, permission slips, etc.) so be sure to start early.
If volunteers cannot be lined up for all students, create a mock Take Your Child to Work Day in your school building. Transform a large room (auditorium, gymnasium etc.) into a job fair or mock career experience. Students can rotate through the simulation to gain exposure to the inner workings of various jobs. Although it would be a micro version, it is important that all students are included in the event.
Align and Assign Work
It is paramount that there is a distinct lesson aligned to the event so that it is not just a day off from school. Teachers should be speaking with students leading up to the event to share expectations of behavior, intention of the experience, requirements for participation etc. When handing out assignments to accompany the experience, teachers should ensure all students comprehend what is being asked of them while they are on the job. Students should share these requirements with their parent ahead of time so that expectations can be met. If teachers are unsure of what to assign to students, here are Take Your Child to Work Day activities and project ideas.
After the event, teachers should have students report back on their experiences. If the curriculum aligns, teachers can continue to integrate the experience into their future lessons. This reminds students that it was not just a day off from school, but a life lesson for what is to come in their near future. They will be better prepared for life on the job as well as begin the process of thinking about possible career paths.
Whether you create a smaller or bigger scale event at your school site, know that all students deserve the opportunity to experience the work force in a supportive way. The better prepared they are, the better the future for all of us.
Go Be Great!
How do you celebrate “Take Your Child to Work Day” at your school?