The Importance of Vocational Orientation for Children
Even when children are small, they have their own interests, which we should pay attention to. In this article, we'll tell you all about vocational orientation for children to help them express their likes and abilities. We'll also talk about how important it is for adults, parents, and educators to respect and foster the development of children's innate talents and interests.
Vocational orientation aims to allow children to express themselves freely regarding the activities and experiences they enjoy and that make them happy. In other words, it’s a process that finds vocational identifiers based on children’s choices, the games they play, and how to relate to others.
In order to comprehend what vocational orientation for children is all about, we first need to understand the overall concept.
What is vocational orientation?
Many adults will admit that we haven’t all dared to choose our jobs or professions based on or true interests. Rather, many of us have made choices based on family demands, cultural factors, fears and simple lack of knowledge.
All of these factors have led us to study a degree or pursue a career that has nothing to do with what we genuinely like.
This is where vocational training would have been of great help. This process helps individuals define their professional choices. In other words, it allows youth to identify beliefs, perceptions, emotions, thoughts, and activities that children express or carry out.
Professional orientation serves to counsel youth regarding university careers and professions. This knowledge and insight includes information about the job market, as well as necessary competencies.
What’s more, it helps bring to light one’s own interests and matches a person’s innate and acquired abilities with a specific field or profession.
The important role of vocational orientation for youth
When it comes to youth, vocational training isn’t about determining or conditioning their future job or profession. Rather, it’s a tool that helps them to express their motivations. This is because this type of orientation offers possibilities and options for games and activities that can reveal their inclinations.
For vocational orientation, children’s play and its observation are the main tools for discovering their interests. The type and characteristics of the toys they choose, and how they use and play with them are important indicators. All contribute to vocational orientation from an early age.
There are children who opt for more physical or sports-related games. Others prefer boardgames or those involving logic. Some children put toys in order, classify them and put them away. Others take them apart and study them.
Furthermore, there are children who prefer building with blocks and dough. And still others enjoy symbolic play and acting out everyday situations.
Activity corners as a tool for vocational orientation
These are spaces organized within the classroom where children perform different learning activities in small groups simultaneously. This methodology is based on free choice, discovery, and investigation.
According to age, there may be different corners with specific educational objectives and concrete games and activities. Each of these corners will contain its respective materials, objects, and toys.
It’s important for educators to plan, organize, and develop activity corners in a controlled manner. These corners offer greater possibilities for different types of expressive, cognitive, motor, sensory expression. This way, there are greater possibilities for children to discover their personal preferences and talents… which are also indicators of vocational orientation.
Within the classroom, educators can design the following activity corners:
- Construction. Blocks, legos, etc.
- Symbolic games. Kitchen, mom and dad, car workshop, hair salon, doctor’s office, fire station, costumes, etc.
- Artistic activities. Playdough, watercolors, tempera paints, markers, etc.
- Musical and dance activities. Real instruments of objects that simulate instruments.
- Reading and writing of stories.
- Boardgames and logic games, computer activities.
- Motor development. Games that involve body movement.
- Nature activities. Activities involving objects from nature and the environment. For example, water, dirt, gardening, animals, etc.
- Invention corner. Promote free and spontaneous play where children can create and invent games and objects. Teachers can provide used materials and recyclables like old clothing, cardboard, plastic, wheels, etc.
From the time children are very small, it’s important to discover and get to know their preferences. What’s more, adults should offer them the possibility to express their orientations and vocational options.
The aim of occupational orientation for children isn’t to find an exact match between an interest and a profession. In other words, it’s not about affirming that a child will be a nurse just because he likes to heal dolls… Or that a girl will be a soccer player just because she enjoys playing.
Of course, that may be the case. But occupational orientation is about allowing children to externalize their preferences and emotions.
Vocational orientation for children is meant to allow little ones to express their likes and have fun. It’s also meant to help adults discover children’s abilities and talents in order to nourish and work with them.
In doing so, they contribute to children’s overall development and the free construction of their personalities.