Saturday, December 5, 2015

Promoting Career Awareness with Vehicle Day!

Recently our school participated in Vehicle Day for grades Kindergarten-2nd. What an awesome morning for everyone involved.  However this School Counselor was totally exhausted when it was over!

For many years I was responsible for finding my own vehicles and I would try to get enough for all my students K-5 to participate.  I started by sending home a flyer to see if I had parents who used a vehicle in their work that might be interested in participating.
Some years this went better than others and on those off years, I would contact county agencies and get out the phone book and start calling businesses I frequented to fill the holes.  Most were very kind, but you always get a few people who say no.  Many times they would say, "No, but why don't you call my friend." After I had arranged two or three Vehicle Days I had a nice little list of folks I could call on year after year.

Then things changed dramatically in our county.  Several years back, School Counselors could no longer schedule and invite their own vehicles for Vehicle Day. In some ways that was a relief to have someone else doing all the calls.  However, the entire program was now arranged by our Volunteer Resource Center with only a set number of vehicles whose drivers had security clearance through our school district office. And, because we had so many elementary schools we could only get the approved vehicle drivers to visit our school every other year.  A few drawbacks, but still a fun program  and an educational morning for students.

We held our Vehicle Day on the open field behind the school.  The vehicle drivers arrived about 8:30 and parked their vehicles in a big circle. Classes traveled inside the circle in a clock-wise direction every 6 minutes when I blew the whistle.  I started rotations at 8:45 with the first half of my students, the second group came out for their turn about 10:00.  The drivers stayed until about 11:30.  These men and ladies loved their jobs and were ready and willing to explain it in a kid friendly way with lots of props!  Not only did we have a beautiful day, but the kids got a great introduction to careers and heard from all our guests on the importance of being a good listener and the importance of school.

Vehicle Day Organization
Interested in arranging Vehicle Day for your students?  Here is a  helpful checklist for creating and organizing your own Vehicle Day.

4 weeks before

2-3 weeks before
  • Call/request vehicle drivers from local businesses, requesting phone numbers, addresses, and email. Keep a detailed list for next year. (Vehicle Planning Sheet)
  • Send a letter/email thanking drivers for agreeing to come with information about the day, start time duration, where to park, sign-in, length of rotations, ages of students and estimated number of students participating, etc.
  • Organize schedule for when classes visit vehicles.  Get permission from administration and special area to make changes to lunch or special area schedule if needed.
2-3 days before
  • Email completed schedule to participating teachers, office staff, and administration.
  • Make confirmation/reminder phone calls/emails to vehicle drivers.
  • Shop for driver hospitality room (coffee, sugar, creamer, cups, spoons, napkins, plates, bottled water).
The day before your Vehicle Day
  • Lay out a map of how you will arrange vehicles.
  • Gather sign-in sheets, pens, and name tags for drivers.
  • Gather radio, camera, timer, whistle, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, ( I live in Florida) notepad and pen for keeping track of who started at each vehicle for students writing thank you notes.
  • Set up coffee pot and rolling cooler for driver "hospitality room".
  • Get a GOOD night's sleep!
The day of your Vehicle Day
  • Wear comfy clothes and sneakers!!!
  • Pick up doughnuts
  • Get to school early to turn on coffee pot and set out doughnuts
  • Fill rolling cooler with ice and bottled water
  • Greet drivers at school entrance with a smile, a thank you, sign-in sheet, name tag, instructions for where to park their vehicle, the location of the hospitality room, and restrooms.
  • Send classes to vehicles, time their rotations,  blow whistle, take pictures, REPEAT!
  • Half way through the event roll your cooler around and give drivers an icy cold water.
  • When the event is over have drivers sign-out and  invite them to enjoy any remaining goodies.
  • Email  each classroom teacher with the name of the driver of the first vehicle they saw and the due date for completing thank you notes.
  • Ask teachers and students for feedback about Vehicle Day (Google Survey for Vehicle Day)
  • Evaluate and reflect on changes/improvements for next year.
  • Mail thank you notes.
  • File it all away for next year.
Congratulations on presenting an awesome Vehicle Day!


  1. Well done! That looks like a great community event. It's so important to get kids to be interested in the things that go on out in the world, AND it's great for the grown-ups to have that contact with the kids. Most important tip you gave? Make sure you sort out the coffee and donuts—that guarantees a great day!

    Madonna Gentry @ SVS Auto Care

  2. Hi there- I am planning one this year. Can you share what the rotation schedule looked like. How many kids were in one rotation ? I have a k-5. I was going to break it Into 2 grade levels which there would be 6 classes. Is that too much? If I do 6minutes per station do presenters need to keep repeating ? Don’t want to overwhelm them. Your input is appreciated