We prioritize extracurricular activities, such as music, sports, art, theater and other non-academic pursuits. These activities can be a big part of middle school for a children’s growth. Children gain numerous benefits from participating in extracurricular activities, not the least of which is developing good teamwork skills and discovering a personal passion.
As an organization, we strive to harness ideas and resources towards a sustainable growth of vulnerable children. As part of our effort to ensure that play and learn happily and as a way of helping to discover hidden talents in them, we collaborate with schools to organize extra-curricular activities such as debates and reading competition, sports and athletics, singing and dancing etc.
Although all of these are non-academic disciplines, however, in our interactions with teachers with whom we closely work as well as educationists, they have recommended all of these activities alongside academic works.
Research into finding the benefits of extra-curricular activities revealed the following:
1. Social Skills
Engaging in non-academic pursuits helps encourage teamwork, leadership skills, cooperation and social development that students don’t get to the same degree from working in the classroom. Middle school is the time for students to start developing these valuable life skills, and participating in extracurricular activities is an excellent way to foster an appreciation for them.
2. Help Transitioning and Staying in School
The transition from primary (elementary) school to middle school can be a stressful one, and one of the ways to mitigate this major change in a child’s life is with extracurricular activities. In schools with high drop-out rates that serve at-risk students, for example, extracurricular activities can have a positive effect on keeping students in school during this tough transition and throughout middle school. Extracurricular activities can give students a purpose for attending school and provide them with an incentive for good academic performance.
3. Enhance Academic Performance
Although one of the classic arguments against extracurricular activities is that they distract from academic studies, there is an increasing amount of evidence that shows that extracurricular activities actually enhance academic study. Extracurricular activities help develop areas of the brain that may not be fully utilized by strictly academic work, as well as developing important skills that can transfer into academic performance, such as creative problem solving and teamwork. The way children choose the spend their free time can have a huge impact on their academics, and extracurricular activities are a good way to encourage positive use of free time.
4. Develop Non-Academic Interests
Another major benefit for middle school students participating in extracurricular activities is how they can foster a life-long passion. Middle school is a time for students to start discovering their personal interests and passions that they may want to develop later in life. By giving students the opportunity to experiment with various extracurricular activities outside of their academic life, you open the door for a potential future in arts, music, sports or theater that may not have been sparked by strictly academic work.