Boys and girls "career" along at the UCT Educare Centre

05 January 2002

If the cap fits: Youngsters at the UCT Educare Centre try out a few careers for size at the Centre's recent Careers Day.

"CAN WE get back to building now?" the youngster asked, clearly weary of the attentions of the Monday Paper photographer.

It was Careers Day at the UCT Educare Centre and boys and girls came out to play dressed in their preferred working garb. There were builders in plastic hardhats (all boys, studiously hammering nails into the Jungle Jim), nurses and doctors in white coats and surgical masks (worn a la superhero), gardeners with baskets and flowers, scientists wearing Harry Potter spectacles, businessmen with briefcases, the ubiquitous posse of firemen, and, showing entrepreneurial spirit, a lone hotdog vendor.

Bronwyn Neer, who teaches the four-and-a-half to six-year olds, says Careers Day is an important part of the pre-primary curriculum. "We've shifted our focus to vocations to create social awareness among the children," she explained. Of course, with all the coverage on Mark Shuttleworth, astronaut is a vocation that is receiving new attention!

"There has been a real buzz at the school and from early in the week the children have been talking about how they're going to dress up, what career they would choose. We also covered careers in our creative work."

But practical application is the best way of consolidating knowledge, she says. "It is important for the children to learn that no matter what they chose to be, every vocation is an important profession with an important social contribution to make." In the playground a fledgling doctor chases his classmate, wielding a plastic stethoscope, a borrowed white coat flapping at his ankles. Hopefully, medicine will still be this much fun when he graduates from UCT and, hopefully, his patients will be more willing then.

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