Side effects may include … better grades
Apart from experience and a broadened skill set, programs outside of school generally have positive side effects. In fact, certain activities have been proven to cultivate many of the skills essential for success in the classroom, such as time management, responsibility and group work.
Playing a musical instrument, for example, is known to improve cognitive functions, especially memory and language ability, while improvisation can help kids grow in confidence, in turn developing public speaking ability and self-reliance.
But there’s another widely known advantage of extracurriculars. Leadership positions, artistic and athletic abilities, extra credentials and community involvement can all be recorded on university applications. These days, grades aren’t the only factor universities consider, and a wide repertoire of after-school activities can make all the difference.
Allowing kids to have meaningful experiences outside of school is vital to growth and development. Although grades should always be a priority, you may be surprised at the positive effect year-round programs can have on your child’s report card.
Giving students some “downtime” to let loose physically or creatively can ease stress, and less stress means better marks.
Generally, maintaining involvement in extracurricular programs and high academic performance is a balancing act and some sacrifices may have to be made. Parties and hanging out with friends after school may have to wait, although the bonds students create in teams, casts or choirs are often enough for a thriving social life.
If grades do begin to suffer, however, it may be time to revisit the amount of hours kids are putting into extracurricular programs.
Kids themselves will most likely admit that they have too much on their plate. As a parent, it is important not to push kids into too many programs and recognize when enough is enough.
On the other hand, a serious warning that programs will be taken away if grades don’t improve often suffices for kids to regain focus.
Just be yourself
One of the most important aspects of year-round programs is that they bring out the best in their participants and let kids be themselves.
Introverts and extraverts alike, children with ADD and ADHD or learning disabilities, all can benefit from some time doing the things they love.
Struggling students often renew their confidence in finding something they excel at, and kids that “just can’t sit still” greatly benefit from a place where they can release energy and don’t feel out of place. The mission of extracurricular programs is to help kids find their talents and make a place where they belong.
Find programs now
Whether you're looking for a physical activity to help your child burn some of their energy (soccer, hockey, golf, swimming and dance are popular choices), want to help them develop a special interest like music, or hope to provide them with the tutoring support they need to achieve their educational goals, Our Kids connects you to the after-school programs, year-round programs, schools and activities that you're looking for.