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Sports, Drama and More: The Importance of Extra-Curricular Activities

Outside the standard framework of any educational curriculum, there are endless opportunities for students to learn new skills and ignite new passions. Extra-curricular activities are a vital element in any child’s development, often building on lessons and learnings that begin during school hours.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the importance of extra-curricular activities, including a list of ideas and some pointers for getting involved.

Boys Sport

5 Important Benefits of Extracurricular Activity  

Undertaking extra-curricular activities has far-ranging benefits that touch on many aspects of a child’s development. Here are five key reasons why you should be encouraging your child to take on something away from the classroom:

1. Learn new skills

Fundamentally, extra-curricular activities allow your child to learn something that could stay with them for a lifetime.

Directly, that skill could be the basis of a hobby or passion that enriches their life for many years. Everything from playing sports to learning an instrument could lead to hours spent doing something they enjoy.

Beyond that, extra-curricular activities instil key skills and personality traits that can be helpful in other walks of life. Using the same examples, sports are key to developing teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills. A musical instrument requires perseverance, hand-eye coordination and, above all, creativity.

These are skills that provide continued benefits long after their education is completed.  

2. Boost academic performance

A lot of the skills that lie at the heart of extra-curricular activities can be used during core academic subjects. Education requires solid problem-solving skills, memory, creativity, and critical thinking. To varying degrees, you can find an extra-curricular activity that has an impact on these areas.

Research has been carried out that develops a link between extra-curricular participation and better academic performance. In one study by the Texas A&M University, important academic outcomes like reading, math achievement and course grades were all found to be positively influenced by children who engage in extra-curricular activities.

girls netball

4. Improved time management

Extra-curricular activities also give children a great tool through which to learn important time management skills. Through the task of balancing school life and an after school club for example, students will begin to lay the foundations for skills which will benefit them at later stages of their education and in the steps they will take post-education.

5. Impress universities

Extra-curricular activities are also a great benefit to a students’ resume when it comes to applying for universities or jobs. Universities, for example, love to see evidence from a prospective student that they are willing to go above and beyond to develop new skills. Extra-curricular activities also demonstrate that your child has varied interests and a curiosity to learn beyond the traditional classroom.

Robot Boy Laughing

Extra-curricular Activities

Don’t know what options are out there? The following six are some of the most popular extra-curricular activities amongst children.

1. Sports teams

The benefits of joining a sports team are extensive. Physically, it encourages a healthy lifestyle and develops key physical attributes. Mentally, it develops teamwork, problem-solving and communication skills while socially, few extra-curricular activities bring individuals together like sport can.

2. Part-time job or volunteering

For older students, getting a feel for working life can be a great way to expose them to industries they have shown an interest in or might like to go into in their career. Part-time jobs and volunteering roles are also excellent ways to develop a resume. Employers love to see a proactive individual who has shown intent to develop their career from an early age.

3. Student body position

Aside from sports, student bodies like a union, debating team or student representation on a school government are all great ways to show a hunger for leadership, responsibility and a desire to tackle difficult subjects. At Compass International School, some of the student body positions include Head Girl and Head Boy, House Leaders, Eco Warriors and Student Council.

This is also a great way to develop problem-solving and communication skills.

Eco warrior girl

4. Writing/student journalism

Journalism is a very popular career choice and developing an interest in it can often begin by working on a school newspaper. Journalists are required to have great written communication skills; they also need to be excellent investigators and problem solvers. Why not speak to your child’s teacher and suggest this as a extra-curricular activity or encourage your child to create their own newspaper at home?

5. Culture-based clubs

Culture-based clubs might be something as broad as film, music, languages or games. Whatever interests your child, getting involved in a relevant club gives them the chance to socialise with likeminded children.

6. The Arts

Creativity is a key asset for further education and beyond. Those involved in arts clubs like music, drama or visual arts tend to be more creative thinkers and capable of approaching problems from a different standpoint.

Secondary Showcase Choir

Commonly Asked Questions on Extra-curricular Activities

Finally, here are some of the extracurricular activity-related questions that are typically asked by parents as their children enter education.

When should my children start extra-curricular activities?

There is no absolute answer to this question, and you shouldn’t worry if your child takes a little longer to be ready for extra-curricular activities than others.

Children should get started when you think they are capable of basic self-care tasks. Things like dressing and feeding themselves should be checked off before you send them off to try something new.

How do I get involved in extra-curricular activities?

Schools and local communities are full of exciting activities that could spark your child’s imagination and capture their attention. Try to read your child’s general interests and consider what they may or may not be interested in taking part in. Then, look to their school or the wider community to find an appropriate club for your child.

At Compass International School and other Nord Anglia Education schools, we pride ourselves on delivering a wide range of extracurricular activities, giving our students every possible opportunity to learn new skills and find something they love doing.

Find out more about our extra-curricular activities here.

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