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Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
Enrichment programs are after school activities designed to give students the opportunity to try new things and explore and develop interests outside of the classroom. Activities can range from sports to cooking, from drawing to coding. All you need is a passionate teacher or external instructor, who can run an activity that aligns with the interests of your students. Another option you can consider is to challenge your students and get them to run their own activity. For example, we have worked with a student at the South Island School in Hong Kong to start an after school code club. It’s been incredibly successful and he now has a waiting list!
Enrichment programs are not just something that fills time between school and home though. They have a huge number of benefits and provide opportunities for students to further their interests from the classroom or to try something totally new. They help students develop a love for learning in their own time, expand their mind and gain skills that will help them in their academic and professional careers. Learning outside the classroom also gives students the opportunity to experiment and take risks with no implications. They are not being graded or compared to their peers and so students can try things out and learn from their mistakes. This in turn will build students’ confidence as they learn new skills and immerse themselves in new experiences.
Although activities may take place outside the classroom, their benefits will follow your students into their studies. According to “After School Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What It Takes to Achieve It” published by Harvard Family Research Project, many studies “repeatedly underscore the impact of supporting a range of positive learning outcomes, including academic achievement, by affording children and youth opportunities to learn and practice new skills through hands-on, experimental learning.”
These benefits are all true of our experience at BSD. We offer programs at our own space in Hong Kong and at a large number of schools in both Hong Kong and Philadelphia. As after school programs are in a student’s own time, we know it’s important to provide an educational but also fun and sociable environment. We particularly focus on collaboration and teamwork as our programs often bring together students from a range of different backgrounds and age groups. As a result, we have found that students participating in enrichment activities not only build technical knowledge, but also develop vital future skills such as working collaboratively with new people, problem solving and presentation skills. You can found out more about what we offer here.
Enrichment programs are a great way to encourage students to follow their passions, develop new interests and build new skills. You should think about the activities you can offer and inspire your students to try something different.