Children go to school to learn, so it’s no surprise that school life is crammed with a busy timetable of Maths, English and other core curriculum subjects. But learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom; of equal importance are the social skills acquired during a child’s time at school, and the team spirit gained from extracurricular activities such as music, sport and drama.
Improved academic performance
Extra-curricular activities are no substitute for the formal learning that takes place in the classroom, but equally, spending every hour dedicated to study and exams is likely to be counterproductive.
Students who take part in activities outside of the classroom, often perform better academically, because our brains need a break in order to function at their best. Sports, music and other activities can provide the perfect distraction from academic pressures, offering a healthy and constructive form of downtime that allows students to return refreshed to their work. It gives the children a chance to learn to relax and express themselves through play, which can help them in the classroom. Having wide-ranging interests is, of course, also a good way to impress prospective universities and employers.
Experience being part of a team
Playing in an orchestra, helping to put on a drama production and being part of a football squad are all enjoyable experiences that promote team spirit. Children who take part in these activities learn the value of working together with others, and will experience the satisfaction that comes with achieving something as part of a group. There are social benefits, too; it’s valuable for pupils to meet people of other ages that they might not cross paths with in the classroom, and it also provide lots of opportunities to build and deepen existing friendships. They provide an opportunity for the children to learn to show respect and kindness to others, no matter their age or differences.
Children and adolescents have a need to develop their own identity, and pursuing new interests can help them to discover more about who they are and what they enjoy. Although many young people excel in their chosen activities, it’s equally valuable to try new things without worrying about success or failure – a refreshing break from the demands of the classroom, where results do matter. Music and drama can be particularly beneficial to shy students and can be a great way to boost confidence, reduce anxiety and build self-esteem, but also a learning opportunity for those who may be more used to being the centre of attention. The interaction with younger age groups gives the children an opportunity to be a role model, which benefits both counterparts.
Extracurricular activities at Aldwickbury
Exam pressures have led many schools to cut the number of extracurricular activities on offer, focusing instead on putting their resources into preparing their pupils for entrance tests. At Aldwickbury, we have made the decision not to do this; we will continue to offer drama and other subjects because of the immense benefits they bring to the boys who enjoy them. Boarding at Aldwickbury also provides an extracurricular activity that is not readily available elsewhere.
The benefits of extracurricular activities extend far beyond a few lines on a CV. The joy of learning new skills just for the fun of it, the camaraderie of working together in a team and the satisfaction of achieving a personal goal are just a few of the positives to be gained from a regular hobby outside of school hours. Find out more about the extracurricular activities on offer to boys at Aldwickbury.