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Pupils become young engineers!

Workplace visit to Zebra Technologies – a variety of jobs and different uses of technology were brought to life for the children through engagement at the Zebra Experience Centre.

Watch out, young engineers about! A class of Key Stage 1 children aged 5 to 7 got the chance to be engineers for the day thanks to our Words for Work: Dream Big programme.

The children visited Zebra Technologies, a local technology and engineering workplace near High Wycombe, where they got real-life experiences of how literacy skills are used in the workplace. With the support from fantastic volunteers, the children’s workplace visit brought science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers to life.

First up was an interactive tour of the technology centre. The pupils enjoyed exploring all of Zebra’s technology including real robots! These opportunities helped the children to imagine themselves doing these jobs. The volunteers from Zebra worked with the pupils to tell them about their jobs and show them how they use literacy every day. The children shared the book, What Do Grown Ups Do All Day? by Virginie Morgand with the volunteers. As workplace detectives, the children also used their phonics skills to find different office related words around the workplace.

Workplace visit to Zebra Technologies – a variety of jobs and different uses of technology were brought to life for the children through engagement at the Zebra Experience Centre.

After the workplace adventure, the children took part in Dream Big lessons back in the classroom. As part of the programme, the school received a free Dream Big Box which included glorious picture books, corresponding reading, and writing lesson plans and a selection of props and dress up items relating to careers. With direct links to the national curriculum, the children’s class teacher could incorporate the early careers learning into the children’s everyday literacy lessons. “The children were always excited to complete the Dream Big lessons and would often ask when we were doing them.”

Engineers at work! Back in the classroom, the children used the STEM picture books and careers role-play provided in the Dream Big box to enrich their imaginative play.

To explore the jobs through play and bring them to life, pupils used props and dressing-up items from the Dream Big box. Such items included pipettes, beakers and goggles to become scientists, and stethoscopes and prescription pads to become doctors.

The class teacher recalled - “The Dream Big resources showed the children that they can think outside the box - this really helped them to realise that any job they want, they will have to have the skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.”

The class teacher explained that the programme offered increased exposure to new job roles for children and that the programme widened children’s perceptions of careers.

“It was nice to hear the children talking about jobs that they hadn’t encountered before. It sparked lots of conversation.”

The children’s teacher recalled the positive impacts of the programme, which were improved confidence in the children’s communication skills. They also reported that the children’s speaking and listening behaviours were now better than before.

“There is a boy in my class who really loved the lessons and eagerly listened to the stories. He would be curious about the role and ask questions. He was found one day building a bridge like Iggy Peck on one of his break times. It has also definitely allowed my quieter pupils more opportunities to talk.”

Confidence in writing was also positively impacted, with their teacher explaining that the children’s desire to write for a purpose was better than before. The Dream Big resources provided the children with this sense of purpose. “They were interesting activities and the children wanted to describe what it is like to be a marine biologist. When it is linked to a real purpose, the children are more motivated to write.”

The children were inspired to write after reading the engaging STEM books in the Dream Big box funded by Zebra Technologies.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to take part; I would love this to continue for the children next year.”

If you’re a teacher and you feel as though your pupils would benefit from our Words for Work programme, please get in touch! Email us on

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