Volunteering at places that work with children is a great place to start! These can be summer programs, summer camps, a local boys and girls club, there are a lot of options. Volunteering will show your passion for working with children and will give you a better idea of what working with children will be like in the future.
There are so many activities you can participate in including
1. Volunteering at a youth organization in your area.
2. Engaging in after school program to provide mentorship or counselling to children.
3. Engaging in baby sitting or child care.
4. Search for available workshops or training courses online that you like and can take.
I recommend trying to get a job at a daycare or elementary school. When I was in high school, I did an after-care job at an elementary school and it was a fun and insightful experience to prepare me to be a teacher. I would also recommend seeing if your school offers a "cadet teaching" or "pre-teacher" course. These can be good experiences to make sure you really want to go into education.
Best of luck!
I'd like to share a suggestion with you, especially since you're interested in working with children. Have you considered scouting? Just to be transparent, I was a Girl Scout in my younger years and as an adult, and my daughter followed in my footsteps. We absolutely loved our time in scouting, and the modern-day Scouts provide a plethora of opportunities.
Once you've spent some time as a scout, you might get the opportunity to assist with younger troops. To officially become a leader or assistant leader, you need to be at least 18 years old. However, particularly with the younger girls, (aged 5 to 7 or 8), extra help during meetings and activities is always appreciated. Older scouts can also participate in Program Assistant training, which prepares you to serve as a counselor-in-training at day and overnight camps. Once you turn 18, you can step up to the role of a camp counselor. There are even chances to travel and potentially be a counselor at a camp abroad!
Being a camp counselor-in-training and later a camp counselor will give you the chance to interact with children of various ages. This exposure will help you discover the age group that you're most comfortable working with. Plus, scouting brings together children from diverse backgrounds, which will be beneficial when you transition into full-time employment.
Scouting opens up a world of opportunities for you to delve into different interests and potential career paths. It's a cost-effective way to make friends, meet new people, and build your network. Girl Scouting also presents the chance to earn prestigious awards (Bronze, Silver, Gold). The Girl Scout Gold Award is equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Scout and can unlock numerous opportunities, including qualifying for college scholarships.
Here's a piece of advice before I sign off: Scouting troops can vary greatly, so it might take some time to find the one that fits you best. Some troops lean towards arts and crafts, others emphasize STEM activities, and some are all about camping and outdoor adventures. It really hinges on the interests of the leaders and the girls.
I wish you the best of luck, Kate, and I hope my advice proves helpful!