Why Are After School Clubs Important?
After school clubs and extracurricular activities are not always at the top of any parent’s or teacher’s list. Often seen as frivolous, unbeneficial or unnecessary, the function and purpose of these clubs can be somewhat misunderstood. In fact, after school clubs and their like play a crucial role in the development of every child. They are able to fill holes in their development and life knowledge that no other childhood environment does quite as well.
Yes, they are not always easy to fit into family schedules, and are often outside people’s budgets, but they are well worth the time, effort and money if you can manage to bring them into a child’s life. These clubs will help to form a child into a confident, well-rounded person with passions and informed opinion. What else can they do? Well…
Children need space, just like adults. The classroom is a very specific environment, a full day of demanding, generally book-based learning is hard work for any child, whether they thrive on this or not. A club gives them the opportunity to engage in learning in a different, usually more physical and kinetic, way.
The structure of a club also tends to be more freeing than school or home, as they are not under the eye of someone who places heavy demands on them on a daily basis and knows them extremely well. This heightened sense of anonymity can really allow children who feel pressured to relax and let off steam.
A passionate person is a happy person. Your child might have been lucky enough to find their passion in the classroom, but if not, then an after school club might be what they need to find theirs. Clubs allow them to explore new interests in a controlled and knowledgeable environment, and encourage them to apply themselves to something that they feel they have chosen to engage in.
Advanced Social Skills
What is great about clubs is that the children attending them usually have similar interests and temperaments. If your child is normally a bit shy, or struggles to find friends, then this enviroment will make them feel more comfortable and hopefully more able to socialise.
Clubs benefit from a certain balance of elements; they contain structure and supervision at the same time as fostering a culture of freedom, expression and self-sufficiency. This is the perfect place to hone social skills without too much adult intervention, but with the safety net of adult support should it be required.
Social lessons and ‘life lessons’ don’t really get covered in the average curriculum. After school activities are great at instilling values that might not be picked up elsewhere. Sports clubs, for example, teach children the importance of teamwork. They are also great at teaching students how to win graciously, and how to lose gracefully. Drama is incredible for building confidence, learning an instrument teaches the importance of practice and persistence, and there is no better activity than dance to instil discipline and self-expression. Other skills you might find your children taking on are a general attitude of independence, a knowledge of how to prioritise and an improvement in time-management.
So much of a person’s confidence stems from their self-worth. This can come from a mixture of things; strong relationships, clearly principled parenting, a nurturing school environment. A club adds to this confidence by giving a child the opportunity to be really accomplished at something; accomplished at something that their other classmates may not be so good at.
Extracurricular skills and activities look really good on paper. When children are older and looking at moving school or even applying to university, it is not good enough to just be academically accomplished any more. Educational institutions are now looking for an interesting and well-rounded intake, so it helps to have some additional interests. Its also no good to start trying to force in a load of clubs and activities for the sake of university applications just before they are coming up, these should be skills and passions honed over years… start them off on something when they are young!
Extracurricular activities pay dividends elsewhere in a child’s life. There have been a number of studies that show a clear improvement in academic results, retention, behaviour and working habits as a result of a child’s involvement in extra clubs and activities.