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Kids experience parents' workplace first-hand

Thirty-six children participated in the day at the Scarborough campus. (Photos by Ken Jones.)

U of T's faculty and staff participate in Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day

 by W.D. Lighthall 

Judging from what Alicia Chin liked best about Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, the Grade 5 student may be destined for a career in business.

“My favourite part was getting to use the cash register,” said Chin, who spent the day with her mother Rachelle Allen, an information assistant in the transcript centre for the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Along with her brother Damian, a Grade 7 student, Alicia also helped her mother fill student requests for transcripts and operate the office mail machine. “Her work is kind of hard, and then sometimes it’s easy. A lot of people come to see her,” she said.

U of T’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is held annually for employees with children in grades 4 to 7 and took place on Thursday. The event gives children the opportunity to job shadow their parents part of the day and each campus rounds out the day by holding additional talks, exhibitions or fun activities.

On the St. George campus, the 235 children registered this year had the chance to tour other departments and facilities and during the official morning welcome they heard Professor Bryan Karney give an informative and entertaining talk entitled What’s So Great About Being Human?

“The day gives young girls and boys the opportunity to come to their parents’ workplace and discover the variety of career options available at a university,” said Rosie Parnass, quality of life work adviser. “It’s a good way for the children to see what their parents do and they learn a lot from that. When they go on the tours or attend the events, the children obviously see other workplaces at the university. So it’s an educational opportunity to gain exposure to work environments they might not otherwise have,” she said.

Emily Russell, a grade 5 student, toured the Faculty of Dentistry and was impressed with the room that holds the many dentist chairs used by the students. “I learned how they do moulds of teeth for braces and dentures and that kind of stuff,” Russell said.

Russell’s mother, Beth Lebans, said it’s a valuable experience for the children to see what their parents do at their jobs. “And the tours show them what the university is all about and show them how many different kinds of jobs there are at the university,” said Lebans, a special awards co-ordinator in admissions and awards.

“It lets children see that people go to work and it lets them see what people do at work. It sort of demystifies the university and the job place in general for them,” said Professor Rob Macgregor, associate dean of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

Macgregor’s son Stuart was in a group of children who received a basic exposure to courtroom practices at the Faculty of Law by participating in a mock trial set up as a “whodunit” mystery. “I liked the mock trial. I was an eyewitness,” said the Grade 7 student.

At U of T Mississauga and U of T Scarborough, the day combined job shadowing and presentations intended to give the children an idea of some of the opportunities available in a university environment.

After job shadowing for part of the morning, the 35 children who participated in the day at U of T Scarborough attended presentations on topics that included climate change, water and how animals adapt to harsh environments. There was also multimedia exhibition exploring the theme of projected travel.

“We give them a little bit of the sciences and arts so it gives them a general exposure to different types of careers you can have here at UTSC as well as the different types of things we offer students,” said Marilyn Kwan, a human resources generalist.

© University of Toronto Scarborough