Pre-K Class Learns About Grown-Up Jobs

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Visiting a secretary in her office was just the beginning of Robin Johnson's pre-kindergarten class learning what different people in the community do.

"I like having a job," said Taylor proudly as she eagerly pointed out the classroom's job board.

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Carolyn Snell, secretary at Community Presbyterian Church, speaks to pre-kindergarten students about her job duties, and shows them a doll brought back from Mongolia by one of the church's missionaries.

Her job for the day was passing out and clearing papers.

The children can tell what their assignment for the day is because next to each job is a photo card with a name on it.

Other student job assignments include being the child responsible for playground equipment, library books, watering the plants and being the weatherman.

One child turns on and off the lights while two others make sure the tables and chairs are neat.

But the favored job of the day is Line Leader, according to one student, Ariana, who wants to be a bareback horse rider when she grows up.

"We have to rotate jobs daily because there are more children than jobs," said Judy Snively, Johnson's assistant in a classroom of 15 to 18 students. "They really would love to have a job every day."

At this stage of life, most of the children want to grow up and be whatever their dad or mom are, Snively said. "The books we are reading right now and what we are doing is to help them think about possibilities." The four year olds listed the professions they might want to try -- ballerina princess, farm worker and mom.

The students are being introduced to people in the community to let them see their options. Their first meeting was with Carolyn Snell, secretary at Community Presbyterian Church. But before they could meet her, they had to be prepared.

"Do we ask questions while the secretary is speaking?" Johnson asked the students.

"We wait and raise our hands," said Ariana.

Then they formed a line and walked to Snell's office.

"I'm Carolyn Snell the church secretary," she said, introducing herself. "A secretary does everything from answering the phone to typing letters. I manage bills when they come in and send them to the treasurer. I do filing and all kinds of things."

The children learned that the big glass indoor window in Snell's office lets her look out into the foyer of the church to see who needs help.

But it was the machines in the office they found most fascinating. Some students already knew that a secretary worked on computers but they were wide-eyed at the typewriter.

"Lots of men are office workers," Snell explained, before the contents of the supply closets in the next room caught their attention.

The big tools of a secretary -- a copy machine, a fax machine, filing cabinets and the paper cutter -- were next on the tour of her office workroom.

They asked lots of questions, and she patiently explained how each machine worked, especially how careful they needed to be around the sharp edge of the paper cutter.

Over the next couple of weeks, these young students at Community Presbyterian Child Learning Center will get to meet more workers in the community. Forest rangers, policemen, dental assistants, sign language teachers and an eye doctor are all coming to visit.

"We still have a few days open," Johnson said. "If anyone would like to share the job they do in the community, they can call me (at 474-4637)."

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