There are so many ways in which a strong extracurricular program can provide children with an engaging and better-rounded education.
Often parents don’t return home from work in time to meet children after school so extracurricular activities can provide children with interesting, engaging activities and experiences that will help them learn academic and social skills as well as providing a “stress free” educational environment.
In fact, research shows that children that are enrolled in some sort of quality extracurricular program learn important skills and experiences that help them in their overall educational life. Younger children especially benefit from the social skills and older children show higher concentration during normal school hours as well as improved behavior and higher attendance.
It is important for children not to watch TV or play video games for hours after school until dinner time. It’s evident that if parents enrol their children into a program from a young age it can change the child’s life for the better.
- Promoting health and wellness through physical activity
Adults are well aware of the need to keep fit and healthy through smart food decisions and exercise, but this isn’t something that children can easily understand the importance of. We know that obesity is a rising problem with children today but we can’t expect the children themselves to be as concerned as us.
When children attend physical activities outside of normal P.E classes such as kung fu, gymnastics or football, not only are they are developing better coordination skills, team work and physical fitness they are also building healthier habits. Children can see how much fun they can have exercising through sport and are less likely to spend their free time sitting around watching T.V.
In fact studies show that children who regularly take part in some kind of sport are less likely to develop “bad” health habits in later life. Children can also enjoy many mental health benefits from exercising such as stress relief and improved mood.
A good arts program is about more than just “keeping kids busy”. Children can immerse themselves in fun, hands on, creative learning activities that go beyond what is taught in the classroom. Artistically gifted children can advance their talents while less confident children can discover their best abilities. Activities such as theatre and music can encourage children to explore their personalities and perform creatively and confidently.
- Academic performance
Numerous studies agree that children improve significantly in their academics through attending extracurricular activities. When children are encouraged to achieve in sports or think creatively in arts it promotes their ability to do well in their school studies.
Children tend to have a better attitude towards school, higher attendance rates and an overall better performance in school through a deeper commitment to their own learning. Because these activities are structured, have rules and require discipline, children learn how to be responsible for their own behaviour.
- Social-emotional development and confidence
Extracurricular activities are not just for improving children’s abilities in academics, sports or arts. There are many programs that help build children’s self-esteem, social skills and confidence. Through the development of skills is a pressure-free environment, children gain the confidence to try new things, to be part of a team, to be a leader, to learn more about themselves and their talents. Children learn to strive for success and feel proud of their achievements when they are confident.
Extra-curricular programs often have small group numbers, allowing children to have greater level of participation than in the normal classroom. Shyer children can gain much needed confidence and leadership skills in this environment.
Children who attend extracurricular activities generally have increased self-confidence, better communication skills and connections with peers and teachers as well as less behavioural problems, anxiety and depression.
As parents and educators it’s important to remember that children learn many invaluable skills outside of the standard classroom. A well-rounded education is one that includes activities that are fun, challenging and offered in different environments and in different ways. A successful program supports students learning and their success.
Here at SEIPS we have introduced our own After-school program which offers children fun, unique activities to participate in every day of the week. You can find out more here, and some photos of the children in action here.