Extracurricular activities (ECA's)are are fun activities that are not part of the academic curriculum, that students partake in based on their interests and are a way of building character, learning new skills as well as finding new talents.
The activities taken up by students range from science, art, calligraphy, book clubs, chess, music lessons, swimming, rugby, horse riding, taekwondo, sailing, street jazz, ballet and more as mentioned by James Bennett, Director of Sport and Extracurricular Activities at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai.
Connector asked various schools in the UAE as well as ECA providers, about the requirements parents should look for when enrolling their child and the activities becoming more popular among children.
Wayne Howsen, Principal at The Aquila School said that when picking an extracurricular activity it is key that the student is interested in the activity and will also enjoy it.
Having a conversation with your child when picking the activity and also considering their strengths and weaknesses is necessary as in extracurricular activities, children are able to overcome their weaknesses and lean into their strengths as mentioned by Rob Duncan, Head of Sports at Swiss International Scientific School Dubai.
It is important, Neil Bryans, Managing Partner at U Do Academy Dubai said, that when looking for a facility for extracurriculars to ensure the facility offers the best scope to learn as well as are priced based on the teaching capabilities.
Roel Roberts, Grade 4 Teacher and ASA Coordinator at Dwight School Dubai said that children also need to check whether they will be able to fit their extracurricular activities into their schedule as well as see if they will learn more when participating in them.
According to Ben McBride, Managing Partner at Soccer Kids Dubai when planning on enrolling a child for an activity, it is important to check whether the activity is taught by qualified professionals as well as if they have all the licenses and permissions to teach the class.
Additionally, students should be exposed to a new activity that they have not been experienced before, as mentioned by Althea Edmonson, Head of Primary at Nibras International School as it will help them learn how to thrive in a new environment as well as gain first-hand knowledge of something new.
Sarah Harrod, Director of Sports at Brighton College Dubai said that parents should also consider how the activity will contribute to the child’s overall growth and encourage their child to constantly broaden their horizon.
As there are a multitude of different extracurricular activities to choose from, Dene Bright, Principal at Reach British School said that students should not be afraid to try out any activity of their choice.
When exploring an activity, students can find their passion as well as an activity that they excel in and if not, they can try and find another extracurricular activity that is better suited to their liking and interests.
As life is now more inclined with technology, there has been a surge in extracurricular activities like coding as well as digital animation, as mentioned by Kyle Knott, Vice Principal at Star International School Al Twar.
However, it is key to ensure that there is a balance and students are able to grow and learn more about the digital world as well as learn new skills required for day to day life.
There has also been an increase in students opting for more physical activities including sports and athletics, Ben McBride, Managing Partner at Soccer Kids Dubai said, as children were online schooling during the pandemic and were not able to leave their houses for recreation.
As there is a range of activities students can choose from, it is important to make sure that the extracurricular activity contributes towards the student's well being, their development as well as is enjoyable and interesting for them.
Benefits Of Extracurricular Activities In A Student's Life