What do children know about work, careers, and related topics? What is the pattern of growth in values, attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge? Using quantitative and anecdotal evidence gathered from interviewing over 900 grade-school students in five New Jersey communities, the authors analyze childhood socialization to the concept of work.
Existing literature on this topic focuses on the critical years of oc-cupational choice. But Goldstein and Oldham strongly suggest that much of the child's work-related development has already occurred prior to entry into secondary school, and that "career educa-tion" must receive increased em-phasis during the elementary years. Their evidence corroborates the pattern of rapid progress to-ward childhood awareness of im-portant social phenomena such as war, politics, race, gender roles, and economics. By the seventh grade, children have an awareness in these areas that approximates that of adults. Traditional stereo-types concerning appropriate work roles for women continue to exist at the elementary school level.
This work is a comprehensive, empirical treatment of childhood socialization to work, fitting neat-ly into the growing body of litera-ture on the socialization of the child into various political, eco-nomic, and social roles. Children and Work is in the sociological tradition, but the findings are pre-sented in the context of a growing body of social science research on early socialization.