Enhancing the curriculum
The school years are a formative time for all children. They are learning who they are and who they want to be. But there is always the risk of children leaving school uncertain as to what to do with their lives. And school can only do so much to help children find their calling – which is why an after-school club focusing on activities linked to, but separate from the curriculum could help them come to a decision.
STEM – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) offers careers that are in high demand with lucrative opportunities offered to people looking to break into the industry. However, there has been a worrying skills gap, and even though students may leave with top marks in their chosen subjects, some have had difficulty attaining the experience required to help them progress further. An after-school club can give them an understanding of how what they’re learning at school can be applied in a career, the things they can achieve and the safety regulations they must adhere to. One thing an after-school club can offer is the opportunity to practice some of these activities under the supervision and guidance of an adult. They could have mini-projects such as dismantling and restoring a car engine. It is a good starting point to prepare them for the future. The mathematics angle is also an important one considering that almost every job in the UK requires students to possess GCSEs in Maths and English. After-school sessions can provide support to ensure that they are building up a mathematical prowess. Such activities can also help them to develop analytical and problem-solving skills that they can carry over into a career.
Drama & Film Making – Many children will grow up loving stories. Many of us have at some point in our lives been inspired by stories, both fictional and real. A good drama club can give students the chance to create their own stories. For those who aspire to work in the dramatic industry, there are many facets to learn beyond acting. Children can be educated on the elements needed to craft a captivating story that resonates with the audience. And given that school is an environment where success is best demonstrated, what better way to demonstrate the student’s learning through a performance before an audience?
Art – Childhood years are a time when children are still learning how to express themselves. Much of the art is about self-expression. Every drawing we draw, every painting we paint is an extension of ourselves. At an after-school club, staff can help children hone their skills in arts and crafts, helping them put their feelings on canvas and understanding the relationship one can have with art. And rather than do what is expected as part of the curriculum, children are encouraged to learn about mosaics, materials, taking random objects and repurposing them through craftwork. There’s so much to be learned in art and students can then take what they have learned and apply it in the art curriculum and possibly in a career.
Language – We live in a culturally diverse time where children of all backgrounds can come together to learn. But there is an ongoing issue regarding language barriers. Some students may come over from other countries and because English isn’t their first language, they can struggle to integrate socially. But an after-school club can give children the chance to come together through language lessons and overcome that barrier. It also gives students the chance to widen their worldview and learn about other cultures such as Spain, France, China and India, to name but a few. The world has many facets to it and language clubs can help children explore all of them.
Sports – Many children are always looking to be the next big sportsperson, whether that is in football, rugby, tennis or badminton. Boys and girls who are truly passionate about sports will often try to fit in some practice. Another positive to consider is how sport will improve a child’s fitness. All growing children need to put aside at least one hour a day of vigorous exercise. It builds children into a regime that they will be encouraged to keep up as they progress into adulthood.
Dance – Dance isn’t one of the celebrated subjects on the curriculum and outside of possible drama lessons, students seldom receive the opportunity to practice it. But if an after-school club has access to a wide space like a hall or a gym, then students can learn all different manners of dance, from ballroom to salsa to jazz. For those who are already aspiring genres with an affinity for music, then they might like the opportunity to mix genres for music and dance, another chance to explore creativity.
Charity – There are no end of worthy causes out there that deserve championing. In a bid to raise awareness of the many issues facing the world, after-school clubs might enlighten children on some of the charities that support these causes. Club leaders may even want to consider encouraging children to take up some of these causes by organising a charity-supporting event. Whether that be a film screening or a sporting event, it gives students a chance to test that entrepreneurial spirit and find something to believe in.
Study – Not necessarily a subject in itself, but something that will benefit all children as GCSEs draw closer. But it can be difficult finding the time to fully devote yourself to your studies, especially if you have all your easy distractions at home surrounding you and tempting you away. After-school clubs can offer students a tranquil environment in which to study and accumulate their knowledge, with supporting materials on hand should they need them.
Other activities – School Clubs have been quite diverse in their delivery of after-school clubs. Some clubs have taken that long-lasting love of Lego and empowering children to explore design techniques to create models, of people, building and furniture, whatever sparks the imagination. And given that children spend so much time around technology, it stands to reason they know how to construct it. School Clubs have hosted clubs that focus on robotics and give students a chance for innovation, designing a working robot from scratch with provided materials, setting them on the path that perhaps one day will see them create something that everyone will use in their everyday life.