How important are Extracurricular Activities for children?

June 06, 2017

Time and again it has been speculated on how students spend their after school hours and whether it does affect their academic development or performance. Various studies conducted across the globe lean towards a verdict that students participating in extracurricular activities are shown to benefit positively with higher grades at school. Let us analyze and understand this better.

Modern schooling aims for an all-round development of a student. It has been agreed that there is need to build the overall personality of a child. Ideally, the curriculum of a school or any learning institute should be a good mix of academic as well as non-scholastic activities. However, driven by the pressure to complete syllabus within stipulated time schools are unable to provide as much time for encouraging children to pursue an extracurricular activity of their choice. Therefore day schools are unable to ensure that enough emphasis is given to non-academic extracurricular activities within their school timings.

This is where after school extracurricular activities play an important role. These are voluntary activities conducted after school hours, supervised by schools or hosted by clubs, extracurricular activity centres or playgrounds. In a competitive world, children are forever carrying the burden of performance leading to anxiety and stress.  At such times, extracurricular activities are a breath of fresh air.

extracurricular activitiesActivities that allow them to channelize their energies in sports or creative pursuits of their choice contribute toward character building. Extracurricular activities can vary from physical training or sport related activities to creative activities like music, art craft, dance, theatre, dramatics etc. The aim is to provide recreation and at the same time instill discipline and talent, build confidence and personality.

Subject-oriented extracurricular activities like phonetics, robotics, and mechanics aim to enhance critical thinking and may generate a renewed interest in academics for some students resulting in better grades. Some may improve class participation in a subject of interest or inculcate a desire to pursue higher education or decide on a preferred career choice. Extracurricular group activities such as dance or a particular sport help improve team building and interpersonal skills. These extracurricular activities may also provide students a foray into other possible non-academic career choices which they may choose to pursue.

It is important to note that grades and rank do not define the potential of an individual. Hence extracurricular activities should not be ranked further burdening the student with pressure to perform. They should serve the purpose of enriching the child’s personality and inculcate competitive spirit within.

Parents are well aware that children with ample idle time will turn towards the television or mindlessly engross in gadgets. After school extracurricular activities will keep them busy and prevent them from getting lured by a bad influence.

Students should be guided and encouraged to choose a good mix from a wide range of available extracurricular activities.  A few key things to remember while choosing activity are

  • Ensure that they primarily serve as recreational activity
  • Indulge in the activity for short periods only and do not over-schedule it
  • The goal is to enhance the child’s interests and lead to a holistic development of the child.

For more guidance on this topic, you can read our blog how to choose the right activity for your child?

There is no confirmed conclusion to say that there is a significant difference in academic achievements of students participating in extracurricular activities as compared to those who don’t. But it is evident that extracurricular activities do lead to make a better and balanced individual.

It helps students grow and learn beyond their intrinsic subject content. Involvement of parents will surely motivate the student to learn and excel at it. As it is rightly said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. We strongly believe that extracurricular activities should be made an integral part of the students’ educational experience.

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