WOW Catton Grove provided young people, parents and their extended community with an awareness, knowledge and ownership of the ‘world of work’ within their neighbourhood and beyond. We ran 3 sessions; ‘WOW Treasure Hunt’ to explore what local jobs makes their neighbourhood ‘tick’ today. During ‘Around our Block’ we examined Catton Grove’s past and present work roles more closely in order to find ‘world of work’ solutions for the futures. ‘Horrible Histories or Peasant Pasts’ used old maps of Catton Grove from the 1890s, 1920s and 1930s to match images of people doing jobs to the geographic features of the maps. Families guessed which jobs were done when, asked why some jobs had stayed the same and why some appeared in certain decades and others disappeared. Then each child, with their parent’s help talked about what future work they’d like to do and together drew their ultimate WOW selfie. Visit the Curious Spark WOW Catton Grove page.
Brilliantly organised and well thought out. I was truly inspired and happy by the positive conversations I heard between parents and children around the tables.
WOW that was 90 minutes of fabulous chatter and activities between parents and kids, it went so fast!
I was nervous being in the class, but felt better after we started looking at the maps and chatting to other parents and kids on my table.
“I know what I wanna be when I grow up” Mum responds, “A rock star?” Child, “No I want to build houses so people have homes.”
Educator, parent and child feedback following a WOW Catton Grove event.
Summary of impact
Ninety people took part in the ‘WOW Catton Grove Treasure Hunt’ after school. ‘Around Our Block’ had 20 participants after school. ‘Horrible Histories or Pleasant Past’ ran in class with parent/carers invited to join in. Three year 3 classes of 90 children were joined by 47 parents. This session stimulated lots of interesting discussion and creativity with parents, children and teachers and 42 evaluations were completed.
Evaluation showed that:
Nearly all parents enjoyed learning alongside their child.
Nearly all parents were now confident to have positive conversations with their child about their skills, interests and careers.
Most parents felt that they now knew where to get information about careers for their child.
Nearly all children understood the different types of skills they would need to get jobs in the future.
Most children learnt about new types of jobs.
Most children were confident about getting future employment.
I approached the project by considering how jobs had been introduced in the Catton Grove community throughout it’s history, how work had changed and to question what future work life would look like in the local area and further afield. I wanted to find out if primary aged families were already talking about what work their young people would want to do and how to guide them. So using the history, geography and employment data I looked to develop fun sessions with interesting resources, but without making them overtly about careers, training and prospects. I was very aware that encouraging engagement with parents would be tricky, so I developed fun parent/child activities that were not outwardly about ‘learning’ something but had plenty of new knowledge, aspirational, communication and working in a team skills at the heart of them.
What would we do differently
After school activity was a challenge due to having to find space to meet and where parents would find it easy to turn up and not have to travel to a different venue. Catton Grove Primary School was hugely supportive, but with the after school timetable already busy, fitting the sessions in was difficult. Running the after school sessions after the clocks went back was also something we had not appreciated would deter families from attending. Having time to set up and close down the session with all the tables and chairs and projector was utterly exhausting on my own so brought in extra help!
The Norwich Opportunity Area and Catton Grove Big Lottery Fund assisted us financially with the project so we could produce quality flyers and other printed items to engage people. They also paid for food to be delivered at the after school session. I also had to pay for extra support to help me with the tables and chairs set up. Norwich City Council generously printed out Survey Maps of Catton Grove at no cost to the project. These maps proved a total hit with both children and adults!
Resources to do something similar yourself
This flyer was used to recruit families to the WOW treasure hunt:
There is a wealth of evidence that the earlier children and young people are exposed to different types of career, the more likely they are to have broader aspirations for their future selves and are less likely to avoid certain career routes based on stereotypes.
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