ROSELAND — There’s a cadre of students at Roseland Elementary Montessori School who are learning skills that may help them land those perfect jobs later in life — make that much later in life.
Eligible students in grades 3 through 6 serve as student assistants, student ambassadors, flag crew members, comedians and meteorologists, Montessori specialist Catherine Saragusa said.
The positions were advertised, and interested students filled out applications, were interviewed by the principal, then were “hired” and trained for their respective jobs.
There’s no pay. The students are doing it for the experience.
The school began the program last year. This year, word — and excitement — about the jobs grew, Saragusa said. At the start of this school year, more than 70 students applied for the on-campus positions.
In their jobs, Saragusa said, students learn how to be self-sufficient and good citizens, both traits the Montessori school emphasizes for its 330 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.
“It teaches them communication skills and promotes self-discipline,” Saragusa said.
The hiring process also teaches the students “the process that they’re going to have to go through as early as high school,” she said.
Liam Adam, 9, was hired to be the school’s meteorologist, and announces the weather each day during morning assembly.
For Liam, the job is one step closer to his dream of becoming a meteorologist when he “grows up,” he said.
“I like to track hurricanes,” Liam said. “The weather just interests me.”
Lakelynn Venable, a student assistant, enlisted the help of her mother when completing her application for a student job, she said.
Lakelynn applied for the position so she can help other students, something she already does for her siblings at home, she said.
“I have two younger siblings and I help them out,” Lakelynn said. “In case they’re (students) bad, I know what to do to help them.”
Each morning, the third-grader takes younger students to the school cafeteria, where she helps them select their breakfast.
For Lakelynn, the position, which she has held for only a few weeks, has taught her to be more responsible, she said.
“Being a student assistant is hard,” Lakelynn said. “And, when you get your real job, it’s going to be hard but I can do it.”
Ajaya Collins, 8, applied for the student assistant position because she likes to help people, she said.
“I bring kids around (the school),” Ajaya said, adding that she leads kindergarten students to the computer lab and helps them with their studies.
While Ajaya said she likes to work, the provided training helped instill in her the importance of being nice, listening to teachers and not getting into trouble.
Maggie Faust, 11, was hired to be a big sister to two students, one in first grade and the other in second grade.
“I have to be supportive, helping, caring and have to make them happy,” Maggie said.
Part of Maggie’s job is to read to the youngsters.
“I love how they smile when I start reading to them,” she said.
To be considered for a position, students must match the criteria for the position they apply for. For all jobs, the students must be able to speak clearly and dress appropriately.
Students who receive two in-school suspensions lose their jobs, Saragusa said. Students who are expelled also lose their jobs.
Jobs are posted at the beginning of each school year, and students hold their positions for one school year, Saragusa said.