I see lots of parents who do not let their child play cricket or join scouting for the mere reason that their child may not do well in studies. For them, any extracurricular activity is a distraction from studies.
Mr Krishnan, an officer in a commercial bank told me, ”I want my kid to do well in English and Maths right from now. Only then would he do well as he comes to higher classes. See, the foundation needs to be very strong” referring to his only son studying in the first standard. I pitied him. It took me a long session to convince him and somehow convince him.
When I took over as principal of a school, I took a firm decision to pave the way for the all-round development of the kids. Hence I introduced dance, instrumental music, woodcraft, scouts and guides and many other activities suitable to the different age groups. Weekend co-curricular activities got added to the schools syllabi and I spoke to my teachers to conduct quizzes at the class level too. Children who were interested in gardening were provided with a patch of land at the back of the school to grow vegetables.
One of the school committee members told me “I see children picking up co-curricular activities very well. But it should happen in study areas” I coolly told him, “It will happen. There will be a change” . Once children began partaking in the mainstream by joining activities, there was a sea change. Children began picking up well in studies too.
It is only when you provide for various activities, that children will be able to explore their individual strengths and weaknesses. Scouts and guides, social work, sports, for example, build character and help develop important skills.
Skits, drama and dance – all these tend to be fun for kids. They enjoy putting up colourful dresses and playing different roles on the stage. They gained confidence and all the skills they pick up are transferable.
Today, educationists term extracurricular activities as co-curricular activities. They help in imbibing the very characteristics that are needed for success in the classroom and in life. Each one of us has been bestowed with special abilities, but we have to explore them. Co-curricular activities are a wonderful programme in that direction.