Why participate in the Extra-mural programme?

June 24, 2019 | Boys’ Preparatory

The life lessons, the skills and the character building that comes with being part an extra-mural program – it matters. It matters a lot.

Here are 4 reasons why participating in a sports programme matters.
1. Authority. 
Sports come with a coach. Someone to correct, teach, and encourage your child. It’s important for children to have an authority figure (other than parents) to listen to, respect, learn from, and look up to. Coaches teach your child to work hard for what they want. They instil healthy habits, they put children in their place, praise their successes and help them learn from their losses. Coaches are put in a unique position where they influence your child both on and off the field in ways that you cannot.
2. Doing Hard Things.
Sports are hard: physically, mentally and emotionally. Being part of a sports program comes with the hard, but it also comes with learning how to persist through the hard and seeing the success of persevering. Children will also learn how to perform under pressure, how to deal with stress, how to stay focused and how to maintain confidence. Sure, those things will come with some growing pains, but they will be learned and your child will be better for it.
3. Social Skills.
Social skills are vital and important because people are unavoidable. Sports will instantly immerse your child into a social scene of friends with common goals. Sports teach children the value of teamwork and respecting each other’s abilities and opinions. Because they are part of a team, your child will be required to be committed, be on time, assist their teammates, be reliable, sacrifice for the whole, interact and communicate. Important life skills? We think so.
4. Character.
If we had to pick the most important reason sports are vital in boys lives, this would be it. Sports, regardless of your child’s natural talent, make them better. And we’re not talking skill here – we’re talking character. Sports teach children the value of playing by the rules. Sports teach children how to succeed with class and lose with dignity. Sports teach responsibility, accountability, commitment, respect, work ethic, passion, and much more. Pat Gillick, an American Professional Baseball Executive, says, “It’s about talent, hard work, and strategy. But at the deepest level, it’s about love, integrity, and respect.

Why does a cultural program matter?
Here are ten ways that the arts help children learn and develop important characteristics they will need as adults:
1. Creativity. 
The arts allow children to express themselves better than mathematics or science. As the Washington Post says: In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in six different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have to practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them in the future.

2. Improved Academic Performance. 
The arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity—the skills they learn because of them spill over into academic achievement. PBS says, “A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.”
3. Motor Skills. 
This applies mostly to younger kids who do art or play an instrument. Simple things like holding a paintbrush and scribbling with a crayon are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors.

4. Confidence. 
While mastering a subject certainly builds a student’s confidence, there is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on a stage and singing gives children a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.
5. Visual Learning. 
Especially for young children, drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class help develop visual-spatial skills. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University says, Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.

6. Decision Making. 
The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through my dance? How should I play this character? Learning how to make choices and decisions will certainly carry over into their education and other parts of life—as this is certainly a valuable skill in adulthood.
7. Perseverance. 
After practicing hard, children learn that hard work and perseverance pay off. This mindset will certainly matter as they grow—especially during their career where they will likely be asked to continually develop new skills and work through difficult projects.
8. Focus. 
As you persevere through painting or singing or learning a part in a play, focus is imperative. And certainly focus is vital for studying and learning in class as well as doing a job later in life.
9. Collaboration.
Many of the arts such as band, choir, and drama require children to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. Children learn that their contribution to the group is integral to its success—even if they don’t have the solo or lead role.

10. Accountability. 
Just like collaboration, children in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the group. If they drop the ball or make mistakes, they realize that it’s important to take responsibility for what they did. Mistakes are a part of life, and learning to accept them, fix them, and move on will serve children well as they grow older.


Images: Mr Sean Ward