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The Lure of Kids’ Extracurricular Activities

School resumes, and kids are registering for all kinds of extracurricular programs. However, many parents have concerns about relevance and suitability, including the content, costs, benefits, and demands of these activities, wondering which ones are appropriate for their child. Here are some considerations and guidelines.

“Extracurricular activities can complement what happens in school, giving children a place to develop their talents, broaden their interests, challenge their minds, and extend their love of learning.” *

The Basics

Who and What:

Extracurricular activities provide opportunities for children and teens to engage in the arts, recreation, athletics, scholarly pursuits, and more, based on their interests and preferences. These activities can supplement the learning experiences typically incorporated within a school curriculum, from kindergarten through college.

Why

Sometimes a school program does not have the capacity to meet a child’s particular needs or exceptionalities, and so that individual may want additional challenges or opportunities. Other times, kids may seek outlets that will give them a chance to extend their creativity, or to find social or emotional connections and support through meaningful interaction with others who have similar interests. Extracurricular activities can provide enjoyable, relevant, and mind-stretching ways to forge relationships, and broaden conventional educational offerings.

When and Where

Extracurricular activities are available evenings, weekends, during lunch hours, or before or after school. They may be developed within educational or various professional institutions, at community and cultural centers, or through collaborative efforts by parents, teachers and/or children. Timing often depends on space and venue availability. For example, a program may require the use of a science or computer lab, theatre, gym, swimming pool, hockey rink, art or dance studio, track, playing field, or other location.

Key Components of Extracurricular Activities: Content, Costs, Benefits, and Demands

Extracurricular activities provide creative, exploratory, and social opportunities so children can extend themselves in areas that are informal, unusual, and fun, or perhaps more disciplined or traditional. It’s up to them! Content can vary, and …

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens.

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