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The City Journals

Elk Meadows students learn about careers, managing finances

Feb 24, 2017 11:32AM ● By Julie Slama

Parent Adam Taylor teaches Elk Meadows first-grade students about the basics of a computer and his job as a computer help desk manager at Tool/STEM Day, an opportunity for students to learn about careers and tools in parents’ jobs. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Elk Meadows students recently gained insight on adult life through learning about careers and managing their money.
First, Elk Meadows hosted Tool/STEM Day, a chance for students to rotate to several parent speakers who shared about their careers and tools in their job, which related to the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“It’s never too early for kids to contemplate what they should do for a living, and this lets them learn what careers are there, especially in the STEM area and how much education they need,” Principal Aaron Ichimurra said. “Both Tool/STEM Day and Kids Marketplace give students a bit of pride when their parents come in to volunteer.”
Organized by Jordan School District’s work-based learning department, the Tool Day careers varied from computer science and software development to the medical fields to aviation and electrical engineering.
Faith Taylor’s dad, Adam, oversees 50 employees as a computer help desk manager, but he stressed some key points to being successful in his job. He showed the students the basics of a computer, comparing how it works to putting together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“Try new things and be patient,” he said. “The more you are willing to learn, the more you can learn and then, the smarter you will become.”
First-grade students also suggested listening and helping as good job skills.
“I need to be nice to people if I know how to do something that they don’t. They don’t want to listen to someone cranky. They want someone with a positive attitude. That will get you far in whatever you do,” he said.
First-grade teacher Daniel Hunting said he hopes students learn about different occupations.
“I hope they make the connections between school and careers and what they need to learn to pursue different jobs,” he said as the group listened to Tool Day volunteer Jeremy Powers share how he underwent 16 years of education after high school while learning to be a dentist.
Teacher Jody Comte said learning about people’s careers ties into community helpers, which is part of kindergarten’s curriculum.
“We learned from a police officer that he is a leader in his job and in the community and tied it into the Leader In Me program we have here at the school,” she said.
Emergency doctor Brad Cowley told students to consider their options in the sciences.
“Continue with your school because there are many careers from engineering to computers to medicine that you can explore,” he said.
Third-grader Parker Egginton said she appreciated learning about computer software.
“I learned that you use math in whatever job you have,” she said.
Classmate Bella Fortmuller said the nurse guest speaker taught students about taking care of their bodies and how to make patients feel better.
“I’d like to be a doctor because it’s good to help people,” she said.
Bella also participated in the third-grade Kids Marketplace, where she got to pretend to be a doctor with a salary of $400 per month.
“Kids Marketplace is fun,” she said. “I learned you should spend your money wisely and put some in the bank so you always have some.”
During Kids Marketplace, third-graders are given a career with a monthly salary. Throughout a period, they visit tables representing different areas such as bank, housing, groceries, animal shelter and transportation. This allows third-graders to learn how to balance a budget, said Lori LeBeau, work-based learning coordinator.
“We supply books, which they read beforehand to prepare them and so they can be learning about saving money, balancing a budget and needs versus wants,” she said. “We want them to learn the importance of saving and waiting to make big purchases and come away with a solid idea of money management.”
Third-grader Zoe Lindsey, who was given veterinarian as her career, said she paid $5 for a hamster at the animal shelter, but that was after she bought groceries first “so I don’t starve.”
“I learned it’s hard to be an adult and do adult things like making sure there is enough money for everything instead of just the fun things,” she said.
Her classmate Brayden Hansen, who was an oil company owner, said he bought clothes first, putting needs before wants.
“It’s a fun thing to use fake money to buy whatever pretend items we want,” he said. “I bought a pet raccoon, but I’d really like to have a lizard.”
Their teacher, Whitt Lovell, said he plans to have discussions and writing about what they learned as a follow-up to the event.
“I hope they each learned to spend wisely to become a happier person,” he said.