Today, the growing pressure of academic excellence and technology fuelled recreation has made children lose interest in extracurricular and enriching activities. They have shifted their focus purely on cracking entrance exams and excelling in high school. Competition is stiff, and getting into a good school has become rigid. As a result, even educators and parents rarely encourage the younger generation to chase their passions and dreams. Instead, the focus is on academic excellence and getting them extra tuition to facilitate the school admission process into top schools. It has become the only way to secure the children’s future and ensure professional security. Learn to know about extracurricular activities for students.
They rarely ask their kids if they want to become sportspersons or actors and instead focus on a ‘supposed’ good career choice – medicine, finance, or engineering. Today, a growing number of international educational institutes are challenging the status quo of the conventional education system and have started motivating alternative activities such as theatre, arts, sports, cooking, dance, music, martial arts, yoga, etc., in ibdp Singapore curriculum. This paradigm shift needs to be accepted to foster a child’s growth.
While there is no replacement for academics, the importance of extracurricular activities must be supported. Extracurricular activities teach real-world abilities to students and help shape their personalities. Here are a few reasons parents and educators must not overlook the importance of extracurricular activities in their children’s lives.
Improved academic performance
Students are under the misconception that participating in extracurricular activities takes away from their schoolwork in terms of time and quality, and their grades will drop. However, this is far from the truth. Extracurricular activities can improve your overall academic performance and perception of school! Participating in extracurricular activities that children are passionate about can enhance their brain function, improve their concentration and develop time management skills – all these are great qualities to improve one’s grades. For example, high-endurance sports train students to concentrate and increase stamina when faced with intense difficulty. It gives them an advantage while studying and taking exams.
Extracurricular activities are the perfect breathers
All play and no work make Jack a dull boy. When students focus too hard on the academic aspect of school life, it can either become boring or cause increased stress. Therefore, there is nothing better than getting students engaged in extracurricular activities, giving them much-needed respite from a hectic academic schedule, and rejuvenating them. Extracurricular activities give children something exciting to do aside from simply studying. These activities are the perfect avenue to explore their passions to discover activities that are of interest. E.g. Someone may realise they are great actors or amazing painters, but that will only happen once they are given the opportunity to explore these talents and unlock passions that they never knew existed. When students diversify their interests, it also expands their worldview.
Boosts critical thinking and problem-solving skills
If all of the learning takes place through books, children will rarely be able to develop thinking skills. Extracurricular activities improve critical thinking – take coding, for example. If someone decides to code in their free time, they learn unimaginable thinking and application skills. Extracurricular activities present students with numerous challenges for which they must find appropriate solutions. They must analyse, process, and evaluate the situation to find an apt solution. These life skills are essential for real-life situations as well. Often we need to make decisions within a fraction of a second, and extracurricular activities like sports inculcate that skill.
Enhances social skills
With technology permeated in each facet of our life, it is very easy for children to become unsociable. Extracurricular activities offset that possibility. Students who participate in extracurricular activities meet like-minded people and build healthy bonds with them. When you play a sport or take part in a quiz, everyone is equal – people come from different walks of life and represent different value systems and cultures. People look beyond that and focus on the activity they are there to do. At the same time, one gets to value the concept of a team and the importance of each person who is a part of it. Children can learn this social acceptance and inclusion from extracurricular activities.
Boosts self-esteem and self-confidence
Whether students like to draw, paint, play chess or play a sport, being respected and valued for their skills will uplift their self-esteem. A confident person is better suited to take on real-life challenges with energy. When students are successful in activities they love, they will be encouraged and motivated to push themselves, train more, participate in competitions and do better. When children get to do what they are passionate about, they give it their best, and knowing that they are good at something is a great confidence booster.