Jobs at School Teach Life-long Skills

November 24, 2021

11.9.21 Learning about FireFighters

Each October, as a part of our Fire Safety curriculum, The South Schenectady Fire Department comes and spends some time showing the children a bit about their work. They dress in gear and let the students climb into the truck’s cab to have a look-see.

Often children become afraid in the event of a real fire and hide. This is a way to acquaint them with firefighters so that they will be cooperative in an emergency, something that saves lives.

Afterward, more than a few children stated that they will be firefighters when they grow up. Thanking the crew from SSFD for their kindness and time, and also for the coloring books they sent home with the kids. Thanks to Room 4 and Room 7 for sharing pictures!



9.5.2021 Dramatic Play, Room 2

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that is children can’t answer if they have not been exposed to lots of different ideas. As our mission is to prepare all of our learners for life success, our teachers work hard to embed a positive work ethic in the students from an early age. That’s why Ms. Katie, Room 2‘s teacher, has been incorporating JOB role play into the week of her students.

So the other day, Katie taught them about what mail deliverers do. She had the children color on index cards, put the cards into envelopes, put the envelopes into shoulder bags, and then walk from office door to door delivering the mail to administrative staff.

Here are some pictures of these adorable mail deliverers.

7.16.21 Caring for Pets, Room 6

One of the best jobs for children is learning to take care of the family pet – in school, we can practice with the pets at school.

Over the years, we’ve had a small variety of pets here. Years ago, there were tadpoles and frogs during the lifecycle units, turtles when they were allowed, and just last year, we had Buster, the tiny hamster in Room 11, who Mrs. Jenn later adopted.

One type of pet with longevity here has been fish. Aquariums have, from time to time, kept kids captivated in various classrooms, teaching skills for measuring (of food), fine motor (for opening, closing, pouring, shaking), social (asking to feed the fish), and more. There is presently just one aquarium in the school, located in Mrs. Vicki‘s office; team members bring students who have earned to privilege of doing this job.

Here are some pictures of some students from Room 6 with their teacher, Mrs. Jennifer. Each child had a turn to get a little bit of the fish food on the spoon and deliver it to the fish tank – a challenging task for little hands. They handed the spoon to the next friend in turns and practiced waiting in between. These are all great work skills to grow into, don’t you agree?


5.20.21 Today we are Chefs, Room 2

Yes, classroom jobs are really important, but another aspect of learning about jobs is through dramatic and pretend play.

Room 2 has been learning about a variety of community workers. By reading books, making art, engaging in interactive video, dancing and dress up, they are learning about police officers, fire fighters, doctors, teachers, dentists and all sorts of professions. Today’s cuties were chefs, and we thank Room 2 for sending along these delicious pics!

4.20.21 Watering Plants, Room 14

When it’s time to water plants, Ms. Fannie, R.14 TA knows to head to the business office suite with her student, V. V loves to ask to water the plants of anyone who needs his help, and even brings his own watering jug along. He knows to count 1-2-3 and then stop, to prevent over-watering, and he knows how to spot the driest plants by checking the soil.

This is certainly a useful, meaningful job that he can enjoy doing throughout life.

3.24.2021 Sweeping in Room 12

Messes happen! They are a part of every day in every walk of life. While at Crossroads we aim to prevent them whenever possible, we also use the opportunities to teach children how to clean up when we have a mess.

In Room 12, C is learning to use a broom and dustpan. His teachers assist him with using the broom both tools and then using a steady hand to discard the retrieved debris. Someday, with regular practice, correction and reinforcement, he’ll be able to perform the whole sequence independently.

12.8.2020 (Previously posted on 8.20.2019, now updated with new pictures).

In every classroom and therapy session, students are learning the important foundation skills that are the building blocks for successful lives.

Life-long skills include job skills.
You might not think about it that often, but skills such as following an adult’s direction and carrying out a sequence are important beginnings to job skills and life skills. Being able to start and stop a task as instructed, or to report back to an instructor are skills that are being addressed continually in sessions and lessons, and these remain important throughout life including in the workplace later on. 
Sometimes it might seem easiest to clean up after a child, instead of reinforcing the ability to throw out his garbage after eating. It might seem helpful to get a tissue for a little one, rather than to teach her to get a tissue when her nose is running.  But it’s important to start replacing easier and doing for with self-help and ability as kids become ready. Learning to do one’s own laundry someday, or feed one’s own self, can only be goals if we’re willing to start teaching the smaller, simpler steps early on.
That’s why teachers and therapists at Crossroads Center for Children are giving students the means to pave the way to life-long success. They’re teaching students to carry through on more and more tasks that can build up each student’s repertoire of possibilities in the future.
Further, lots of classes have a time-slot in their daily schedule to actually do school jobs. Having a job to do at home, often called “chores” or at school can help students learn to grasp a sense of responsibility and pride in their work.

Here are some example of school jobs that many students at Crossroads enjoy during the week: Feeding the fish.


Taking care of living things helps children to learn responsibility and compassion. The activity of fish-feeding serves as a school job as well as a reinforcer in different instances.

There are just about 50 guppies in the tank, a population that expands daily! Students enjoy putting the food in. Just a little bit on the spoon, so the fish don’t get sick from over-eating.

They love seeing the fish eat the food they’ve put in and knowing they’ve given it to them.


Now it’s your turn! What classroom jobs, or jobs at home do you think are leading to better life-long skills? We’d love to see your comments below! 

Special Olympics Young Athletes Program at Crossroads!Children Practice Social Skills and Model Appropriate Eating During Snack Time, Lunch Time