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Get children excited to learn again; Tips for picking the right enrichment programmes

by on 25/02/2022 2145

To help children recover from the 2020-’21 school year, educators are prescribing fun and variety. Many have attended classes from their bedrooms, and seeing teachers and friends on and off virtually and in-person. Most schools have also put their extracurricular activities on hold due to social distancing requirements.  As much as children need academic support, it’s nice to provide a break from their day-to-day school routine to get them excited about learning again. Playing freely outside is great, but so is letting them try new things that they don’t normally get to do in school. One fun way to do so is to schedule some enrichment programmes into your child’s week.

Image credit: Brainbow Kids

"The preschool years are a very good time to introduce children to new learning opportunities," says Diane Smiley, Youth Services & Programming Coordinator at the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. "At this time, a child's brain experiences more growth between birth and age five than during any other phase of life."

Image credit: Jean Gan Academy of Ballet & Music

Choosing the right enrichment classes

With the abundance of enrichment programmes available, it is important that you choose the right one(s) for your child. Not all enrichment programmes provide skills that will stay with a child throughout their lives. While these extra activities might be good for your child, you also have to be careful not to overwhelm them with too many as children too, can get stressed. Smiley suggests that parents look for activities that "allow children to use all of their senses and incorporate multiple learning styles."

Image credit: Robothink; Babytots

Your child's personality and traits should also be taken into consideration. While it is advisable for parents to try something new for their little one, when an activity doesn't work for the child and he or she feels uncomfortable, parents should be okay with letting it go. Also, in selecting an enrichment programme for your child you will also need to take into account your family's schedule, budget and personal preferences.

Here are some tips about choosing the right enrichment classes for your children: 

? Does the area of enrichment have any practical application to your child’s academic future?

Before signing up, take a good look at the programme's schedule of activities. Close inspection may reveal that there's far more downtime and unstructured free time than there is quality enrichment. There’s nothing wrong with indulging your son or daughter in one of these programmes. Just know that there may be little or no lasting value to the student or the parents in this investment.

? What kind of training and expertise does the staff possess?

Make a point to learn about the background of the staff who will teach these skills. Are the program leaders teachers themselves or experts in a particular field? Also, inquire about the training they receive.

? Is there a balance between learning and fun?

A good enrichment programme incorporates fun right into the learning. When a student enjoys the learning process, the brain does a better job of assimilating and retaining the new information.

? In what ways can a programme enrich a student's life?

When most people hear "enrichment" they think of academic enrichment. Clearly, when students are able to acquire new skills in such areas as creative writing, reading comprehension, problem solving and critical thinking, they benefit. But if a programme offers them growth in life skills areas that build their confidence, motivation and self-esteem, as well as their communication and leadership skills, then you’ve found an enrichment programme that can help a student grow in school and in life.

Image credit: Allegro Music & Arts; Edu.Robot.Stem

In summary, sending your child to the right enrichment programme(s) is incredibly important for children’s self-esteem and mental health. In turn, this can translate into better grades in school, as well as help children develop new academic and personal interests, which can lead to better colleges and more rewarding careers in the future.

Image credit: Cosmotots-iqd; MK Sounds Heavenly Music Academy

Take your pick from the wide variety of fun enrichment classes here.

Reference: Smart Kids World Issue Vol. 05