How unique extracurricular activities help students with a holistic education
Authored by Ms. Mona Seervai – Head of School, Mount Litera School International
The unspoken demand on schools today is to make their studentsworld citizens equipped for tomorrow. This can be achieved by providing them real life experiences which enable them to pursue further education as well as be better prepared for the jobs of 21st Century. Hence, at our school, we provide opportunities where students are able to experience such learning. So, how does this help? From a university application point of view, it enables the students to write a better ‘Statement of Purpose’ to showcase that they are skill ready and not just content ready. From a job perspective, you can always tell when a student has had anexposure to international teaching methodologies because they are able to conduct a 360-degree interview much better than students who focuson rote memorizing.
In today’s times, education goes beyond the four walls of a classroom. The school curriculum is designed to incorporate and give emphasis to extracurricular activities to ensure holistic development. Schools can encourage students to select from a plethora of unique activities during after-school sessions. Clubs like robotics,skating, basketball, music, editorial, STEM, gymnastics and dramaticscan bespreadover the school week and across age groups to ensure appropriate development.
The key purpose is to provide an exposure to various activities and experiences from an early age. This gives children an opportunity to try any activity that intrigues them, and if it really works and they think they are passionate about it, they may go further and pursue it to get an in-depth training. The whole idea is that when a kid goes home from school, they’ve done all their class room work and they’ve also done something beyond the curriculum. So as a parent, all you need to do is spend some time with your child and, look at Wordsworth’s daffodils (metaphorically speaking), relax and be joyful, rather than being the chauffer taking them from one class to another!
We no longer live in silos but in a world where we need to collaborate. Hence, it is of paramount importance to also encourage students to participate in interschool activities besides their own school extracurricular activities. This gives them a chance to join forces with other students and broaden their horizon.
After schooling, admissions to prestigious universities can be a red herring that parents flash! Admissions worldwide know that people mayload their resumes and a laundry list of activities is not going to get any admissions, so how do these extracurricular activities help? It is these extracurricular activities that teach the kids social, collaborative and critical thinking skills and develop kinesthetic abilities. When a student has developed these skills, it can emerge in subtle ways in their personal statement, which is an important part of any admission application. While institutes are not particularly impressed by one laundry list versus another, if the applicants personal statement talks about being a piano player and it just reflects that theycan play Bach or Mahler, it doesn’t make any difference. But, if it expresses how a particular opera has affected their life or it deepened their understanding of self and how they relate it to other people, that can become a more powerful personal statement. In that respect, there is no direct correlation between those activities and getting into college, but certainly a transformation in the paradigm and the way studentsthink, the way they write and their mindset. Thus, extracurricular activities certainly set a child apart and highlight the child’s better educational upbringing. And what is education about other than giving somebody an opportunity? Different individuals take these opportunities in different ways and become better persons, ready for their own future!