As part of the Career Guidance Programme at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School, Primary Five students visit various work places for a day, such as a storage warehouse for dried seafood shown in this photo!
What do your parents do for a living?
This question stumped a Primary Five student from Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary) back in 2010 and prompted her to do a one-day work attachment experience at her family's bakery. Recognising the value in such an endeavour, the school decided to develop it as part of the school's Career Guidance Programme.
"We want our children to know that our world is made up of many different kinds of people working together" said Mrs Lee Weng Hun, the teacher-in-charge of the programme.
Tapping on children's natural curiosity and interest about the world around them, the programme aims to expose students to a diversity of occupations and widen their perspectives on the opportunities open to them.
Career talks by people from all walks of life are held for students in Primary One to Four, while students in Primary Five and Six step out to catch a glimpse of the different workplaces in action.
Complementing Classroom Learning
Parents, school alumni and even organisations support the programme by volunteering to share with pupils about the various job options found today.
Students visit Ernst and Young, and accounting firm in Singapore. Photo credit: Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary)
"The children get really excited and they ask many questions. They get to listen to people of different occupations and it's different from learning about them from books or watching television," said Mrs Lee.
Often, the teachers would try to align these talks with what students learn in class and infuse it into the curriculum. For example, when the class was studying the STELLAR Big Book (an English Language text), "The Sunflower That Went Flop", a florist was invited to share more about her job. Similarly, when students were learning about endangered animals, a conservationist was invited to speak to them. Understanding more about the topic also helps students to use the English Language to express themselves better.
The importance of one's values is also communicated to students through guest speakers. For example, when they invited a lawyer to talk about his job, he emphasised the concept of justice.
"During the talks, the students are not just learning about occupations. The guest speakers also motivate and inspire the children, helping them to understand that every job is a contribution to society," said Mrs Lee.
Students learnt about working with international clients through a video teleconference. Photo credit: Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary).
Widening Their Perspective of the Working World
"The Career Guidance Programme is about creating awareness," said Mrs Lee, "Children tend to want to emulate adults that they meet, like a teacher, policeman, doctor or dentist, so we want to expose them to people of different occupations."
After listening to various talks over the years, at Primary Five, students are given the opportunity to spend a few hours at their parents' workplace and to understand what it means when parents say they are busy at work. They also observe the importance of working as a team and adapting to constant changes.
For Mrs Joanne Lim, one of the parents that took part in this programme, allowing her child to experience a video teleconference with her Taiwanese client was the highlight of the visit. She hopes that it would demonstrate the relevance of the Mother Tongue Language at work carried out in an international setting.
Students learn to pack, store and deliver goods produced by a seafood company. Photo Contribution: Mrs Alice Loh
Another group of students participated in the work process of a seafood supplier. They learnt how to differentiate the gender of live crabs, pack dried seafood and even handle a small door-to-door delivery to a customer.
"Ours is a trade that requires people to work on Sundays, unlike an office job, and cater to the needs of customers," said Mrs Alice Low, a parent who works part-time in the family business.
"What they want to do next time is up to them, but this experience gives them exposure and they have a rough idea of what this job is like," said Mrs Low.