As much as a school tries, there is just not enough time in the school day to give students the ability and opportunity to devote considerable time to their favourite interest or hobby.
At the Yew Chung International School of Beijing, students thankfully have ample time to engage in After School Activities, giving students a chance to explore their passions as well as develop various skills necessary for their success in the future.
We sat down with Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s Primary School Curriculum Co-ordinator Jennifer Mills to learn more about YCIS Beijing’s extensive ASA programmes and the benefits these programmes give to our students.
Ms. Mills explains that the key to selecting an ASA is finding out what your child is passionate about. On a school level, “we first must find out if it matches our school values as well as certain criteria. Is the activity going to be challenging? Is the club going to be beneficial to our student’s creativity? Whilst not all after school activities are solely focused on creativity, it’s certainly a major factor I take into consideration when making the selections. Anything that can enhance our students’ creativity and add to their knowledge base is highly valued.” Mastering new skills and being given the opportunity to independently and creatively explore solutions to problem solving is paramount in developing a young child’s self-esteem and logic based reasoning.
Developing Social Skills
Aside from learning specialized skills based on their interests, one of the major reasons for enrolment in an ASA is to help a young learner develop their interpersonal social skills. Ms. Mills explains that one of the unique benefits of an ASA at YCIS Beijing is that “it’s a much looser environment compared to a regulated classroom. For example, in our Lego Club, Primary School Students are given a task at the beginning and it is up to the students to figure out how to design and collaborate with other students to achieve their goal. Of course, there is always some level of guidance and supervision from the teacher, but the focus is on discussion and working together to find their own solutions to the problems that are presented.
This gives students the chance to independently develop their own thought processes, allows students to learn social skills by having to relate with other students that are not necessarily their own age, and helps them appreciate the value of teamwork.
Offering Unique Opportunities
One of the most important reasons for your child to become involved in an After School Activity is to give them the chance to learn and explore a subject in ways that are not often possible in a classroom or sometimes even at home. Ms. Mills gives us the perfect example in the form of YCIS Beijing’s Forest Detective Club: “the club is one of the newest ASA’s that we have started offering this year. It directly uses the beautiful Honglingjin Park that our school is situated beside. Children are given the opportunity to explore the park in a very intimate way, examining various aspects of nature and learning about the processes of our natural environment. We believe an After School Activity like this is incredibly important for children;
Getting the chance to interact with nature, to touch it and understand it, is not something most children are able to do in an urban environment like downtown Beijing.
It has proven to be so popular that we had to enlist the help of another teacher to help meet the demand for such a unique and worthwhile activity!”
After School Activities are a fantastic way for Kindergarten, Primary, and Secondary School students to develop social skills, gain in-depth knowledge and skills regarding a topic they love, and experience something they might not have had the chance to experience in a normal classroom setting.