Every moment in a child's life is an opportunity for learning, exploration, and self-discovery, which later helps them learn how to integrate into the society they live in, work, and create. On the other hand, а profession and а career are one of the fundamental components of a person's life and we often think about them either consciously or unconsciously starting from childhood.

 But how can we introduce the world of professions to preschool children without disrupting their world of fantasy and play? To answer that question, I will address why it is important for preschool children to become familiar with various professions and what activities we can organize to bring them closer to the world of professions.

 Why It Is Important for Children to Explore Different Professions?

We know that children learn best through play, so by using games as a way to help them learn, they can understand how the world around them works more easily. That's why it is very useful to help children become acquainted with the world of professions, the concept of a career, and to further stimulate their natural curiosity.

 But how can we do this in the most effective way while also taking into account the way children learn best as well as their cognitive abilities? Below, we will discuss several activities that will help you explain to preschool children the concept of a career and encourage them to think about various professions from an early age.

 By approaching the exploration of professions in this manner, children will undoubtedly enjoy the process, and   whether you are a parent or an individual working in a preschool institution you will enjoy it as well.

 Donald Super's Theory of Career Development

In order to understand the developmental period of preschool children and adapt the activities to it more effectively, we will use Donald Super's theory and its stages of career development.

 According to this career development theory of career from 1980, every individual goes through various stages as they develop and build their career. This development is affected by personal experiences which shape our self-concept and career choices. As the self-concept becomes more stable, individuals make informed career decisions and can choose the right career path for themselves.

 According to Super, an individual goes through several stages during their 'life rainbow,' which represents the career development, and each stage is characterized by specific roles and responsibilities. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on the first stage of career development - the fantasy stage.

 This is a stage in which a child’s interests, skills, and values develop, as well as their self-image is developed. We can also identify whether a child possesses certain talents and also detect deviations in child development. If we don’t use the proper methods to encourage their natural curiosity during this period, this can have a negative impact on their desire for self-discovery and understanding the world of professions.

 Super's theory defines a way in which individuals can develop their careers from an early age, and it is up to us, career advisors, and other professionals working with preschool children, to help them make the most of it.

Growth Stage (0 - 14 years)

 When looking at professional orientation through the prism of preschool children, we often focus on the first stage of the 'life rainbow' and its first sub-stage. According to Super, this stage is one of the most crucial because it is during this period that children construct their initial self-image and develop attitudes toward the world. At the beginning of this period, children experience rapid psychophysical development, but they do not yet perceive the world through the lens of reality; instead, fantasy prevails. This period is characterized by several sub-stages:

  •  Fantasy (4 - 10 years) - a period during which fantasy dominates in children, and their ideas about professions are often unrealistic. However, this should not be a reason to discourage children's curiosity about certain professions through various activities, games, and workshops that stimulate their imagination and curiosity. During this period, children identify with the professions of the people around them and often assume roles of specific professions based on what they
  • Interests (11 - 12 years) - a period in which most children are already aware of some of their interests, and these interests often serve as a basis for developing an interest in a particular career and making future career
  • Capacities (13 - 14 years) - a period in which children begin to connect their interests with the specific skills required in a particular job and career. This period also coincides with one of the first career transitions that children need to

 Explaining the concept of a career to a preschool child can be challenging and we would most likely define it with the help of the term 'work' or 'job', however, a career is more than just a job. To introuduce children to the world of professions and careers, it is best to use the method they understand best, which is through play and different activities.

 Activities for Exploring Professions With Preschool Children

Preschool children are in the early part of the fantasy sub-stage and are developmentally prepared to start exploring different professions. Professionals working with preschool children, as well as parents caring for them, can enable them to explore various careers through some of the following activities.

 Reading Stories about Different Professions

 We know that children enjoy when adults read books to them and reading books provides an excellent opportunity for them to become familiar with different professions. After reading the book, engage in discussion about different professions and how they are carried out, and encourage the children to ask questions and share their thoughts. By reading different books with children, they will expand their knowledge and fantasize about various career paths.


 The easiest way to explore different careers is to allow children to take on the role of a professional. Provide them with costumes and props related to various careers and let them assume the role of a builder, doctor, teacher, lawyer, chef, or any other career that comes to mind. Role-playing enables children of this age to identify with different professionals and better understand the tasks and responsibilities associated with each profession.

 Activity for Introducing Different Professions

 I mentioned that the easiest way for children to learn and explore is through play. One type of game suitable for preschool-aged children is the matching game. Choose several professions and the tools used by those professionals and create individual cards for each profession and each tool. Then ask the children to match each profession with the tools the professional uses. Since children at this age cannot read, use pictures of different professions and the tools the professional uses for a specific profession.

 Organizing Field Trips

 Children learn very quickly through their own experiences, so if we want them to learn more about the world of professions, we should provide them with opportunities to do so. Collaborate with local businesses and institutions and take the children on field trips where they can meet different professionals firsthand. Visit a police station, hospital, fire station, various local businesses, and other institutions that would be interesting for children to explore.

 Collaboration with Parents

 The parents of the children in a preschool group have diverse professions and careers. It would be very easy to invite those parents who would like to participate in activities organized by the preschool to come and talk about their careers with the children. If a parent wears a uniform at their workplace, ask them to wear it when visiting the preschool. Prior to the visit, prepare the children for it and encourage them to ask questions about anything that interests them about that particular profession.

 Final Thoughts

While at first thought it may seem too early for children to think about careers and professions at this age, that's not quite the case. Preschool children are extremely curious, and the world of adults appears very interesting to explore, so we should enable them to discover everything it has to offer.

 Introducing the concept of careers and professions from an early age allows children to freely explore various careers without being limited by preconceived notions about the professions we acquire as we grow up.

 By providing them with a safe and stimulating environment in which they can best understand themselves and explore the world around them, we enable them to develop the ability to gather information and conduct research which will be necessary when they start exploring their career options in the future. And apart from that, we ensure that they have fun during each activity. As a result, a happy and curious child turns into a happy and curious adult, and that’s exactly what we want for our children, so let’s make it happen.

How to Introduce Different Professions to Preschool Children
  • Author / Originator: Izabela Hristovska - Euroguidance Ambassador, North Macedonia
  • Country of origin North Macedonia
  • This practice developed through Erasmus+ No