The 3rd Grade Internship Experience
“My personality types are enterprising, artistic, and social; one of my top three skills is making scrambled eggs; and I bet Mr. Steve would be a great reference for me.” — 3rd Grader
Comments such as this one abound during the launch of the Lower Elementary Year 3 Internship Program. This program is a capstone leadership and community service initiative for students in their third year of Lower Elementary. This program was designed to give students the opportunity to serve our school community outside of their classroom and introduce them to some of the experiences related to finding and holding a job.
Students start the program by taking time to reflect on their skills and interests using a modified version of the Holland Occupational Themes Inventory. This inventory asks students to agree or disagree with a variety of statements such as, “I enjoy figuring out how things work” or “I like working outdoors”. Their responses are used to determine their strongest personality types from Holland’s six: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Enterprising and Social. Students learn about their dominant personality types and some career choices that might be worth considering.
After that, students create their resumes. These list their personality types, education, skills and interests, as well as two references (adults at our school) who can attest to their character. In true eight-year-old fashion, skills such as entertaining people, playing goalie, convincing, friend-making and climbing trees are noted. Resumes in hand, students attend a job fair, at which they learn about the eighteen internship opportunities that are available to them this year. These include positions in all areas of the school—Primary classrooms, the Front Office, Specials classrooms, the Business Office, Admissions, and beyond. They’re excited to learn about opportunities such as Book Designer, Tour Guide, Makerspace Assistant, and Primary Math Specialist. They thoughtfully select their top three internships and complete an application for each, in which they explain why they think they’re a good fit for the internship.
With a little bit of luck and some careful maneuvering, each child is successfully assigned to one of the three internships s/he selected. Students attend mock interviews with their future supervisors to share their application packets and learn more about internship responsibilities. Beginning the week of November 5th, each student will attend his or her internship once a week for thirty minutes. Once internships officially begin, students will be responsible for independently managing all related tasks—including signing out of their classroom, arriving to their internship on time, completing the tasks that their supervisor asks of them and returning to their classroom ready to get back to “work”.
Each year, these internships provide meaningful learning experiences and challenges to our third year students. Equally as valuable, they require students to reflect on their strengths and consider how those might benefit them in the future; to recognize that being responsible, creative, or organized today could help them become great doctors, businesswomen, or musicians someday.
And who knows—that scrambled egg just might come in handy too.
“In third grade, I started an internship in Beginners 3 once a week for half an hour. It started out as something that everyone had to do. But for me, it turned into something that may have changed my life. After the few months were up, most people stopped. But I was able to keep going. I worked with Beginners and grew as a person. When I worked with Beginners, I played with them, helped them with works, got them ready for the playground, and saw them grow as little people. My favorite part was seeing them grow and mature into really cool little kids. I am proud to have played a role in their lives.” — 6th Grader
Watch the video below for an inside look at the Y3 intern experience:
Read more about past internships below: