Connector February 2024

CONNECTOR.AE 40 CONNECTOR.AE 41 Kids And Education Kids And Education Highlighting the importance of life skills, Alexander Tate, Director of Enrichment and Enhancement, Horizon International School, adds, “As the Director of Enrichment and Enhancement at Horizon International School, I advocate for the vital role of holistic, extracurricular activities in education. They foster life skills like teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, and creativity, contributing significantly to personal growth. Activities such as sports, dance, and drama also enhance social skills, build connections, and foster strong friendships with likeminded peers.” - Great For Mental Health: Multiple studies and reports suggest that children partaking in extracurricular activities achieve higher academic success and overall life satisfaction. Engaging in these activities not only reduces stress but also improves mood, providing a sense of purpose and fulfilment. Moreover, children learn to cope with failure positively, understanding that it’s okay to lose at times. This balanced approach helps them appreciate both failure and success, contributing to a stable and well-rounded lifestyle. In fact, as per Alexander Tate, Director of Enrichment and Enhancement, “Engaging in enjoyable activities makes learning a journey of self-discovery, leading to personal and professional fulfillment. I believe every child has innate greatness, and enrichment programmes are key to unlocking their potential, enabling them to master skills and excel. For parents choosing a school, it’s crucial to consider the enrichment opportunities alongside academic offerings. A school’s commitment to a diverse range of enrichments is essential in creating a thriving educational culture.” - Adds More To Their Regular Life: For children, school and studying shouldn’t be the only focus. Extracurricular activities give them something to look forward to after school, adding a sense of purpose and breaking the monotony. Each day becomes unique, providing excitement and a reason to attend classes regularly, making their school life more enjoyable and fulfilling. Emily Scudamore, Physical Education Teacher, Bloom World Academy, adds, “Extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in the holistic development of every child. Beyond a typical traditional rigid curriculum across the globe, extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop essential life skills, and foster a sense of community and belonging. Extracurricular activities are an integral component of every child’s education. They contribute significantly to academic success, skill development, social and emotional well-being, character building and the exploration of diverse interests. I believe that schools should prioritise and promote a wide range of extracurricular options to ensure that students have numerous opportunities to discover, grow, and thrive both inside and outside the classroom.” - Improves Academic Performance: Research indicates that children engaged in more co-curricular activities tend to achieve better grades. When kids display more enthusiasm in an activity, their brains concentrate better and become attuned to it. Extracurricular activities not only contribute to improved academic performance but also allows the child to excel in life. Adding to this, James McDonald, Principal/CEO, GEMS Wesgreen International School, Sharjah, says, “These activities complement the academic curriculum and help students to refine specific skills such as teamwork and collaboration, ultimately contributing to their maturity and providing a deeper understanding of the world around them. Students participating in extracurricular activities often experience improved academic performance, skill development including leadership and communication, enhanced social connections, and increased confidence. Additionally, such involvement can positively impact college admissions and scholarships.” - Encourage Productive Breaks: Encouraging at least one extracurricular activity is crucial to prevent kids from spending excessive time in front of screens after school. These activities provide a fun and creative outlet, letting children to be productive. Engaging in something they love rejuvenates them and enhances focus during class. Moreover, it offers opportunities to explore passions and discover interests beyond academics, contributing to a more well-rounded and fulfilling experience. Commenting on the importance of extracurricular activities, Sarah Harrod, Director of Sport and Co-curricular Activities, adds, “The importance of a broad and balanced education is significant in a child’s mental, physical, and social development. Opportunities for pupils to engage in enrichment activities outside of the curriculum will only enhance their learning and perhaps spark new interests. Co-Curricular activities play a pivotal role in the holistic development of pupils. The role of the academic curriculum remains crucial for their progress, however engaging in CoCurricular activities either before, during or after academy hours enhances various aspects of a pupil’s life. - Helps Kids Learn Essential Life Skills: Engaging in extracurricular activities provides kids with valuable life skills. In various clubs and activities, they learn public speaking, standing up for what’s right, teamwork, time management, analytical thinking, leadership, and more. These skills not only help them steering school and college effectively, but also prepares them to handle various circumstances in life with serenity.