Keeping their cool after school

Extra-curricular activities

Keeping their cool after school

Many children are taking to extra-curricular activities after school in a big way. This, they feel, not only gives them a much-needed break from academic pressure but also helps them focus better. Parents too endorse the idea of keeping their children creatively occupied after school. They believe that these activities help the little ones shed their inhibitions and develop their communication skills.

Most of these after-school programmes are conducted by independent groups and sometimes happen on the school campus itself. Even apartment residents’ associations are earmarking space for children within the premises. Vishakha Dey-Shenoy, a working parent, says that her three children go for various activities such as dancing, painting and martial arts within the apartment complex. “I am not one of those who wants her children to run between school and tuitions. I want them to enjoy everything that they are doing, whether it’s studying or any other activity. Here, we have a host of groups offering different activities within the complex. One of my kids goes for martial arts classes while the other two go for painting and dance classes.” She also feels it is important for children to devote as much time to playing as they would to studying.

Ashok and Resmi, who are both working, have two daughters studying in Vibgyor High School. They say that the school has various extra-curricular activities like music, dance, swimming, skating, gymnastics and fitness as part of its curriculum. “Our elder daughter gets picked up by the staff from the pre-school and daycare centre, which is very close to the school. Here, she plays for sometime with her friends and then enjoys her favourite activities like karate, abacus and global art classes. They also provide dance and music classes,” explains Ashok.

His wife Resmi feels that these extra hours after regular school help in the holistic development of the child. “When everything is offered in one place, it eliminates the trouble of having to run to multiple locations and from one activity to another. It is also a joy when children exhibit some of the craft or art work that they have done.”

Educationists like Swati Popat Vats think that children, whether in primary or high school, must be given the freedom to express themselves through thought and action. “When we make our children go hopping from one class to another, we take away their right to play. We make them lose interest in everything by forcing them to excel in academics. They need to be allowed to play in the mud or just spin around for fun and indulge in any activity of their choice,” she reasons.

There are a few parents like Divya Prabhu, who believe that extra-curricular activities from a young age help children network and connect better. “The more they go for such activities, the more they learn to adjust to an environment other than that of their homes. They learn the art of networking from a young age,” says Divya whose children used to go for such classes until recently.

“My older one is a little shy and the younger one is full of energy. So when the two of them are together, they bring the roof down. The many activities that they have attended in the past have helped them overcome their anxiety,” she says.

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