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Extracurricular activities: what they are and how to insert them in school

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Education is one of the fundamental pillars of human development but is not limited by what is taught in classrooms.

Extracurricular activities play a crucial role in this process, enriching the educational experience and providing a more complete experience.

In this article, we will understand what extracurricular activities are, how they work, and their advantages, as well as learn practical examples of these activities and how they can be inserted into the school context. 

What are extracurricular activities?

Extracurricular activities are complementary activities to regular classes, carried out outside school hours.

They cover a wide range of options, from sports and arts to academic clubs and volunteering. 

These activities play a vital role in promoting the holistic development of students, offering opportunities for personal and academic growth. They offer students the opportunity to pursue specific interests or develop additional skills, and can include:

  • Sports: such as football, judo, gymnastics, capoeira, chess, among others.
  • Arts: theatre, music, dance, painting and sculpture.
  • Academic clubs: such as science, debating, math, and creative writing clubs.
  • Volunteering: participation in community service projects.
  • Leadership activities: such as being a member of student boards or leadership groups.

How do extracurricular activities work?

The extracurricular activities are usually carried out after school hours.

They are led by teachers, specialized instructors, or volunteers, depending on the type of activity, and students have the freedom to choose which one they would like to join.

These activities may vary in terms of structure and organization. Some involve competition, whereas others are more focused on learning and personal growth.

Still, regardless of their type, the extracurricular activities aim to promote the engagement of students in areas they are interested in and passionate about.

Advantages of extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities have a special relevance in providing opportunities for developing skills that go beyond the conventional school curriculum.

They play a crucial role in discovering the passions and interests of students, considerably impacting their personal and professional journeys. We will see some advantages of this practice:

  1. Personal Growth

These activities allow students to explore and master skills that go beyond the school curriculum, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and critical thinking. Thus, participating in extracurricular activities promotes the development of social and emotional skills, including self-confidence, resilience, and empathy.

  1. Discovering passions

These activities allow students to uncover their passions and interests, which can guide them in choosing their careers and future goals.

  1. Academic Enrichment

Participating in academic clubs or activities related to specific subjects can improve students’ academic performance, for they deepen their knowledge in areas of interest.

  1. Physical health improvement

Engagement in sports and physical activities promotes an active and healthy lifestyle.

  1. Curriculum construction

Extracurricular activities are a valuable addition to a student’s curriculum, standing out on college applications and opportunities for their future career.

Why are extracurricular activities so important?

Extracurricular activities play a vital role in the whole development of students. They add to the traditional curriculum, bringing unique opportunities for learning and growth. Here are a few reasons why they are important: 

Diversification of experiences

Extracurricular activities allow students to have various experiences, which widen their view of the world and help them to become more informed and conscious citizens. Besides, this diversity of experiences fosters creativity, encouraging the expression of individual interests and passions. 

Development of social skills

Participation in extracurricular activities promotes social interaction and teaches students the importance of teamwork, leadership, and collaboration. These social skills are crucial both for their personal and professional growth.

Preparation for the Future

Extracurricular activities offer a solid ground for future preparation. The skills and experiences acquired are valuable during life after school, including the transition to college and future careers. They also allow students to pursue their passions, which might guide them in choosing a profession that truly inspires them. 

Balance between academic and personal life

Participation in extracurricular activities helps students to balance their academic and personal lives. In addition to the school’s responsibilities, these activities offer moments of leisure and relaxation, contributing to a balanced and healthy life. 

Fostering creativity

In addition to diversifying experiences, extracurricular activities provide a conducive environment for creative expression. Through activities like theater, music, visual arts, and creative writing, students can explore their imagination and develop creative skills that can be used in their academic lives and future careers. 

Developing multiple intelligences

Extracurricular activities address various areas of intelligence, including linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. This allows students to explore and improve different types of intelligence, contributing to their whole development.

Strengthen new skills

Extracurricular activities allow students to develop specific skills related to the activities they are involved in. That can encompass technical, creative, or analytic skills, depending on the type of activities.

Increase self-esteem and confidence

By standing out in extracurricular activities and achieving personal goals, students experience a boost in self-esteem and confidence, encouraging them to face challenges with optimism and believe in their potential.

7 examples of extracurricular activities

There are numerous extracurricular activities available to students. Some popular examples include:

  1. Artistic activities

Artistic extracurricular activities, such as music, theater, and dance classes offer opportunities for students to explore their creativity and acquire new skills. 

Music, since the first school years, not only helps cognitive development but can also be used as therapy for children with learning difficulties, positively influencing brain areas related to cognition.

In the same way, dance and theater help develop expression and creativity skills, boosting children’s self-confidence and self-esteem, and allowing them to explore and express their emotions healthily.

They also promote motor coordination, body discipline, and teamwork, while providing a means to constructively deal with stress and energy.

  1. Learning new languages 

It is crucial to foster learning foreign languages as an extracurricular activity for children in their first school years. They have a natural skill to learn new languages, especially when it is playfully and frequently.

The inclusion of learning new languages as an extracurricular activity offers linguistic, cognitive, and cultural benefits. 

  1. Practicing Sports

Participation in sports teams such as soccer, basketball, or gymnastics promotes physical health and teaches values such as discipline, determination, and resilience, as well as developing skills such as teamwork.

Practicing sports is especially beneficial for developing children and young people, contributing to greater physical and emotional control and improving the body and social interactions.

  1. Reading and Debate Clubs

The creation of Reading Clubs not only encourages students to develop reading habits but also provides an environment conducive to exploring themes relevant to their interests and good for their future careers. 

In this context, debates play a significant role in improving students’ communication and argumentation skills. This practice not only prepares them to actively participate in debates but also in academic presentations, thus contributing to their whole development. 

  1. Volunteering

Volunteer work involves students in community projects, fostering a sense of social responsibility. Furthermore, it offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Development of social skills
  • Personal growth
  • Practical experience and application of knowledge
  • Building networks and relationships
  • Contributing to the community
  • Development of professional skills
  • International and cultural experience
  • Well-being
  1. Robotics club

A common extracurricular activity in innovative schools is maker spaces and robotics clubs, which provide students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the principles behind the programming language, prototyping, and electronic connections. 

By participating in these activities, they come into contact with essential concepts covered in subjects such as physics and mathematics, such as mechanics, electricity, algorithms, and others, enriching their education in an interactive and captivating way.

  1. Cooking activities

Cooking is an effective extracurricular activity to teach students about the importance of healthy eating. Besides, the classes offer opportunities to explore smells, flavors, and textures, enhancing the tasting and developing motor skills, creativity, and autonomy. 

How to insert extracurricular activities at school?

The effective integration of extracurricular activities in the school environment is essential to guarantee that students can benefit the most from them. Here are a few practical suggestions: 

Various options

Offer a wide range of extracurricular activities to suit students’ diverse interests.

Time flexibility

Make sure activities are available at times convenient for students so they can participate without compromising their academic responsibilities.

Clear communication

Inform students and their parents about available activities, their benefits, and participation requirements.

Continuous assessments

Regularly assess the impact of extracurricular activities on students’ lives and make adjustments as needed.

Conclusion

Extracurricular activities play a crucial role in students’ education, offering valuable opportunities for skill development, personal growth, and preparation for the future.

By effectively integrating a wide variety of options into the school environment, schools have the power to significantly enrich their students’ educational experience.

At St. Nicholas School, we actively encourage the exploration of skills and passions through a variety of extracurricular activities, which span sports, arts, and music.

Schedule a visit to closely explore St. Nicholas School’s innovative teaching practices and educational approach, focused on the holistic development of students.

Come join our community and experience a transformative education, aligned with the demands of the 21st century!

Author

  • St Nicholas

    St. Nicholas School is a school with an international education with the aim of developing responsible, confident and caring citizens. Teaching students to ask the right questions, to get to the right places for them. You can find St. Nicholas School in Pinheiros and Alphaville.