A 2008 Harvard Family Research Project revealed that encouraging children to engage in after-school activities could significantly improve their development, offering benefits that range from physical to educational, psychological, and social in nature. While many public schools are cutting funding to extracurricular programs, private schools like Conchita Espinosa Academy understand that learning doesn’t stop at 3 p.m. simply because the last academic class of the day has ended. Here are some of the many benefits provided by private school extracurricular activities.
Improving Social Skills
When a child is a part of a team or organized group, they naturally learn how to develop relationships, nurture friendships, and work together to achieve a mutual goal. Interacting with peers in a healthy environment allows them to gain independence and confidence as they explore their unique abilities and share common experiences. By participating in a club or sport, students not only learn a new skill, but they learn about themselves in the process. They may even develop important leadership skills that will serve them well later on in life.
Promoting Psychological and Emotional Wellbeing
During after-school activities, students can work off excess energy, relax, and de-stress from a long day in the classroom. When they choose to participate in something enjoyable, their brains release those happy chemicals that boost their mood and prevent boredom from taking over. Whether it’s expressing themselves creatively in dance class, expanding their cultural boundaries in the French program, or blowing off steam on the soccer field, students will find happiness and gratification in their chosen hobby.
Encouraging Academic Performance and Preparing for a Brighter Future
Studies show that students who participate in after-school activities are more likely to demonstrate better attention in class, more engagement in school, and are less likely to have behavioral problems. Additionally, colleges and universities across the U.S. are looking for well-rounded students. The truth is college admissions officers take note of the things kids do after school. Of course, maintaining good grades is still essential for admission to a good school, but extracurricular activities reveal a lot about one’s interests and readiness for college. Of the 305,842 high school graduates with a private school education in 2010–11, about 64% attended four-year colleges by the fall of 2011. Is it a coincidence that private schools tend to offer a greater selection of extracurricular activities? Not likely.
Choosing a school with a strong academic program is important, but no education is complete without participation in after-school activities. Extracurriculars teach kids important social skills that aid in their development, promote happiness and overall well-being, and often lead to brighter, more successful futures.