Holistic child development is essential to find meaning and purpose of life at a very young age. While school plays a crucial role in that, the academic curriculum must be blended with some activities (known as extracurricular) that aid pervasive growth.
The competitive times of today push education beyond the four walls of a classroom. The curriculum at preschool in Ahmedabad is also getting revamped to match the world class levels. Schools and parents, both have started to incorporate and give emphasis to extracurricular activities along with the academics for holistic development. Schools are encouraging students to choose from a plethora of activities for after-school sessions. Not only educators but also parents send their child to different classes for such activities.
There are numbers of extracurricular activities which fosters the growth at an early age. This includes activities like cooking, swimming, dancing, skating, martial arts, sports, music, editorial, quiz competition, STEM, gymnastics, dramatics etc.
1. Aiding Physical Development
Extracurricular activities help to refine the fine and gross motor skills in the form of physical development. Art and dancing help children to pick up fine motor skills along with the hand-eye coordination that involves a lot of small movements.
Sports and martial arts not only strengthen their bodies but also develop flexibility. Yoga and gymnastic improve their balancing skills and how to adjust bodies according to the situation. For instance, in soccer children need to use movements like running, kicking, leaping without falling which blends the use of mind and body for balancing.
2. Developing Rationale
A person with good rationale is usually associated with having great thinking capabilities. Preschool and daycare activities for children involving painting, drawing, and pottery promotes the healthy development of their imagination and creative thinking. Indoor games like Chess, Sudoku, etc. helps children to think in an analytical and strategical way. Some of the sports games create situations, in which children need to analyze, synthesize and evaluate the posed challenges and arrive at suitable solutions.
3. Improving Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
Self-confidence and good self-esteem are key to a successful life. Arts play an important role in building up the confidence and creativity. Performing arts like music, dance and dramas which involves people watching it, boosts their self-esteem. Chess, for example, will train their brains to think ahead, anticipate be confident in their decision. Something that one can associate with life values like patience, persistence and mindfulness. All of which combines to improve self-confidence especially for key decision-making in life ahead.
4. Making way for Cognitive Development
There’s no equivocality involved in saying how art plays an important part in a child’s brain development. It contributes significantly to develop a child’s imagination and thereby intensifying the brain power. Games involving mathematics and language like Sudoku, Crosswords, etc. contribute gradual cognitive development. Another way to involve art for holistic development is ensuring that the child takes up music lessons that stimulate cognitive skill development through coordination, motor skill development ability to learn a language, and responding to senses.
5. Learning Time Management
Extracurricular activities which largely involves sports and arts will often define how a child responds to the cues in real time. Things are happening in flashes and to be a step ahead will compel them to gauge the timing of their reflexes. Also, this contributes to making quick decisions and perform the required action driven by senses within the marginal time-frame.
6. Enhancing Social Skills
All extracurricular activities promote social development by encouraging participants to work together and share ideas. Sports promote nurturing social skills involving camaraderie and teamwork. Also, these social skills help children easily open up with their peers and make connections easily. Probably, this will get them out of their comfort zone which is quintessential to live in a modern world.
7. Developing Leadership quality
Extra-curricular makes room for indoor and outdoor preschool activities for children. Team building exercises involve inter-dependency making way for the children to step up and lead to the solution. There are a lot of problem-solving tasks and excelling them will balloon their morale and they will exhibit qualities that lead others. Most of the sports activities end up developing leadership skills along with social skills. It helps children how to behave with others and lead group like a leader instead of being bossy.
8. Cultivating Cultural Values
Most of the art-driven co-curricular activities tend to focus on local language, culture, and tales of the town. Such an influence will mean children in dramatic arts, music, and dance will be learning the values that are aboriginal to the land they belong to. This may be in the way of a dance form, stories enacted on stage, or folklore that runs cultural heritage. Picnics and preschool trips to heritage site will bring them closer to their culture, making them fully aware of their belongingness.
Extracurricular activities are thus they are heart and soul for child development. There is no way children can prosper academically without being introduced to at least one of those activities to keep them a step ahead in all phase of life.
Usha Agrawal co-founder LittleWings, one of the leading Daycare school in Ahmedabad that focuses on the holistic development of children. Her dedication towards understanding childhood development contributed immensely to providing many kids with a solid foundation in the early years.