Jobs at School Teach Life-long Skills

May 25, 2023

Across Crossroads, students are learning the important foundation skills that are the building blocks for successful lives, including 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. Here is our blog spot for sharing some of our stories that involve these types of skills.

Plants- and children- flourish! 5.25.23

At Crossroads, both in the school and the clinic, we believe in creating a nurturing and inclusive environment where everyone can contribute and feel valued. That’s why teachers and therapists encourage students to engage in various classroom or school jobs that prepare them for success in life. From recycling to watering plants, jobs at school help a child feel useful and play a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment among our children.

Take “T”, who has recently started the task of watering plants in some of the offices. Not only is he learning about responsibility and caring for his surroundings but also gaining a tangible sense of contribution. Seeing the plants flourish under his care instills a sense of accomplishment and boosts his self-esteem.

By incorporating such jobs into our school and clinic community, we cultivate an environment where each student can recognize their unique strengths and make meaningful contributions. It is through these opportunities that we instill the belief that everyone has something valuable to offer, promoting a culture of inclusivity and empowering our students to embrace their capabilities and make a difference.

Nurturing Others. 5.19.23

At Crossroads, we cherish the power of sharing and the joy of nurturing others. A heartwarming example of this is when “E” and Rylee joined forces to cook delicious Rice Krispie treats and generously shared them with the entire class. This act of culinary kindness not only provided a sweet treat for the students in Room 13, but also created a beautiful sense of togetherness and caring.

By involving the child in the cooking process, Rylee provided a valuable opportunity to E to learn practical skills while fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. As he  mixed the ingredients and watched the treats take shape, he felt a growing sense of pride knowing he was creating something special for his classmates.

When the time came to distribute the Rice Krispie treats, E beamed with satisfaction. Sharing his creation with his friends created a delightful moment of connection and camaraderie.  Beyond the delicious taste, the act of feeding others carries profound meaning. It nurtures empathy, kindness, and the understanding that small acts of giving can make a significant impact. This experience taught a powerful lesson: that we can nourish not only our bodies but also our souls through the simple act of sharing.

Business is Booming | 2.9.23

It’s been a couple of weeks now, since Room 4 began their Coffee Cart. They’ve gotten adept at wheeling the cart, taking it in the elevator, handing the coffee to the customer, giving them their order slip, and saying “thank you”! On the production end, we’ll have to catch you up another time!


Room 4’s Coffee Cart | 1.20.2023

How to get students out and about to practice social and job skills? Why, create a small business that your kiddos will love. Like what Ms. Kenzie is doing with her classroom, Room 4.

This class distributed order forms earlier this week to all of the staff members’ mailboxes. Then their teacher shopped and gathered supplies and ingredients for their venture – making and selling iced coffees. She ran the coffee, and when it cooled, the students participated in mixing it with ice, and adding creamers, sugars and so on to match the orders that the team members had put in. Next, they pushed around their cart to deliver.

The deliveries resulted in children handing the filled cups to a person, saying thank you, answering simple questions, and staying with the group throughout the building.

And as far as the coffees went, word has it that they were superb. Plus the Rainbow Cart and aprons were a hit with customers.

The class is raising some cash to have their own pizza party, or something similar, with the profits.

At the same time as working job and social skills, you can see how the students are also exercising some measuring and counting skills with their coffee cart!

Caring for Pets |  9.14.22

One of the most fun things to watch is the expression on a child’s face when they first see something they like. And we get that often surrounding the fish tank! Today, our new friend W was very excited to see the fish and then to feed them. It gave him a chance to practice giving “just a little bit” and handling the tiny spoon (we use a baby spoon to feed the fish to prevent over feeding). He got to see them eat what he gave them, and feel proud of making them happy. It also gave Room 13‘s Ms. Victoria an opportunity to interact with him in an area outside of the classroom, and to know how this job can be a reinforcer for W.

Student feeds the fish with his teacher

Life skills are the ones that help a person be independent in life. | 8.15.22

Being able to take care of one’s self in life is pretty important. While our society is set up to kindly provide help when it is needed, it’s part of our mission at Crossroads Center for Children to help our children become as self-reliant in life as they are capable of.  So, for our youngsters, life skills are taught and practiced as part of the day.

What skills are needed for living might differ according to time and place, but there are several that are essential and practiced daily for most persons in this time and place that we share generationally and in our corner of the world. These types of skills are targeted by our instructional team members in every classroom from preschool to school age, and are certainly prerequisites for other types of job skills that come up later in life. 

Self-care skills are life skills :

  • Toileting self
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing and drying face
  • Washing and drying hands
  • Dressing self
  • Dressing appropriately for weather
  • Food preparation
  • Nutrition and health
  • Feeding self
  • Daily routines such as unpacking backpacks

Here we have Room 3‘s Ms. Amanda helping “C” with his backpack routine. This is a skill that he will gradually take over independence with, and as he masters it, it will translate into other areas of his life. Packing and unpacking skills are needed throughout school years and at work as well.

It’s Just a Spill | 7.5.22

A little spilled milk – or juice or water or paint – shouldn’t make us fret. It’s a perfect opportunity to teach young ones how to clean up a spill.

First get some paper towels to blot the liquid and stop the spread, and then grab a mob to clean it up.  A couple of the kids in morning daycare were excited to carry the mop back to their classroom and take a few swipes, before Ms. Stephanie took over to rid the room of a sticky floor caused by a painting activity.

We were playing with a doodle mat that involves water to “paint,” and some water spilled all over the floor. We learned while cleaning up we have to mop up all the water.

— Stephanie Soucia

Children learn best when they actively engage in an activity. This is a great example of a job at school which will easily transfers to a skill for home and life.

A Fish Feeding Animal Lover | 4.19.22

“O” enjoys caring for living things, like watering plants, and feeding animals. Recently, he took care of the fish in the Resource Development office, by turning on the tank lights, and giving them their breakfast of Tetra Flakes.

Using the small spoon to deliver the right amount of food, O’s Room 13 teacher, Ms. Victoria, helps him to hold a steady and level hand while he transports the food to the opening in the top of the tank. It was a job that he “earned” by his good work and behavior, and one that bolstered his fondness for living things.

Another Vacuum Lesson | 4.4.22

Accidents happen! Especially with fish food! Making for the perfect opportunity to teach to use a hand vacuum. Here’s Room 8‘s “E” trying it out, and intent on getting up every single flake.


 Using a Vacuum | 2.16.22

This little guy was a teensy bit scared of using the vacuum when it was introduced after a spill of fish food occurred. But he soon took the reins and used the handheld brush to clean up. He’s going to be asking to use it next time, we predict!

It’s My Job | 1.21.22

Children, like adults, take their jobs very seriously. E’s job the other day was to get plates for the classroom from the supply closet. When asked what he was doing, he said “carrying the plates – it’s my JOB!”

Being responsible for something builds a sense of responsibility.  “Classroom jobs can help build a sense of excitement, community, and interdependence in a classroom from the very start of the school year. Classroom jobs also teach children responsibility,” notes Responsive Classroom a site for all things childhood education. That’s why our teaching teams do such a great job of providing opportunities to be responsible, through classroom jobs, daily tasks, and classroom expectations.

Why do the fish come over to the glass when you come near to the tank? | 12.15.21

As we’ve posted before, many of the students love to come to feed the fish in the Resource Development office, and there is always a lot of energy around the fact that the fish always swim to look at the people who are looking in at them. This morning, Ms. Stephanie brought L and E to do the job, and this question was part of the conversation.

Fish can see us through the glass, and they love being fed. When you come close to the tank, they come to the front of it to be ready for the food that will be dropped in for them. At other times, they swim around at a relaxed pace, but when someone is right there with them, their swimming speeds up and they follow the movement of the person.

So when 2 kiddos and a teacher come to them, the level of activity is pretty high!

The boys today did an awesome job, took turns feeding, talked about how their dads go fishing and these fish are pets, talked about how to tell the difference between the babies and the adults, and the males from the females.

Learning about Fire Fighters | 11.9.21

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!



 Dramatic Play | 9.5.2021

“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.

Caring for Pets | 7.16.21

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! 

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