Spoken English classes on Mondays, Karate on Tuesdays, Singing classes on Wednesdays, Recitation classes on Thursdays, Drawing classes on Fridays,Dancing classes on Saturdays. Why leave aside Sundays? I asked my sister when she gave me the busy schedule that my 5 year old niece has apart from the schooling schedule.

Why do you want her to learn all of this now? I asked. Kids grow very fast mentally at this age. The more she is into extra curricular activities she would learn new things and will help her in a holistic development. And besides that, only academic learning is not enough she said.

What she said was right, “ Happiness is a state of activity.”

On one hand some like my sister may feel that earlier one starts the better, while there may be many others who feel that it is better late than never. However contrasting these view point, the underlying point is extracurricular activities are important.

Activities keep a child active and engaged. Extracurricular activities provide a channel for reinforcing the lessons learned in the classroom, offering students the opportunity to apply academic skills in a real-world context, and are thus considered part of a well-rounded education. Hence many schools lay a lot of importance on extracurricular activities apart from academic curriculum followed.

Many young kids are perfectly content to bounce from one activity to another. Research on child development is clear that the job of kids is exploratory — to use their senses, to try different things, and to develop coping skills.A child can learn what intrigues him, and encourages him. Having an interest in something is enough — it doesn’t have to be a passion, considering increased levels of depression and anxiety in kids who feel pressure to excel.

Research suggests that student participation in extracurricular activities may increase students’ sense of engagement or attachment to their school, and thereby decrease the likelihood of school failure and dropping out. Research also shows that participation in extracurricular activities is directly related to students’ success in school.

Indicators of successful participation in school include consistent attendance, academic achievement, and aspirations for continuing education beyond high school. Extracurricular participation was positively associated with each of these success indicators among public high school seniors.

During the first semester of their senior year, participants reported better attendance than their non-participating classmates–half of them had no unexcused absences from school and half had never skipped a class, compared with one-third and two-fifths of nonparticipants, respectively. Students who participated were three times as likely to perform in the top quartile on a composite math and reading assessment compared with nonparticipants. Participants were also more likely than nonparticipants to aspire to higher education: two-thirds of participants expected to complete at least a bachelor’s degree while about half of nonparticipants expected to do so.

In the long run extracurricular activities helps exploring individual interests, bolster self confidence, improves interpersonal relationships, encourages social growth, helps manage time better , helps cure depression and many more…

The best way for a child to discover her strengths and interests is to have a wide range of experiences over the years, and that includes family activities, not just after-school classes.

So lets start young. Are we listening???

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