We have had the most fantastic day at Christ the Sower with Tom Bulman from the non-profit organisation Worktree, helping children in Year 6 learn all about the world of work. The materials we used are from the World of Work, and both Y6 teachers used them (especially the excellent “top trumps” style cards for different jobs) in inspired ways to help children prepare for the main “course” of the day – interviewing four guests from different work settings and finding out all about their employment, what makes them tick, why they chose this work and what they hoped to do when they were much younger. In doing this they learnt to use closed questions and many more open questions.
The children were beautifully behaved and full of great questions. We started the day with an assembly for Y4-6 learning about what it is that employers really wanted – good self-management, teamwork, enterprise-awareness, problem-solving and the skills of listening and speaking, before they met the guests – somebody from Argos head office, a self-employed mural artist, a park ranger and a guy who works for Apple.
All this took place at the same time as I was beginning a foray into child-labour! Not your actual Victorian child labour, you understand, but the annual round of recruiting children into the 72 posts in 13 job-roles that we want Y6 children to take part in across the school next year. This has forced the current Year 5 to think about more formal approaches to “doing jobs” in school – an extended application form, arguing for some of the skills that Tom was sharing with them today, the expectation of interview and testing before a post becomes a reality, and the training that will be needed to keep the skills in place throughout their time in Year 6. We talked about sacking (oops!) and notice periods for resignation and the commitment to self-management that we all need in our jobs at all times.
At the end of the day, Tom brought all the groups together and we had a really super discussion with Y6 and Y5 together about what had been learnt, and what difference it was going to make to these children. Tom challenged them to talk to 50 people this year about their jobs, and build up a really clear idea of what it is that would suit them as they grow up.
We want childhood to last long and happily of course, but the way that Y6 were introduced to some of their futures today was inspiring and in full accord with the skills needed to emerge from childhood into adolescence.
A great day!