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The Benefits of Extracurricular Participation

1 October 2019

This month is going to be another exciting one - we’ll be starting our extracurricular activities!  Students have had time to review the many options and select clubs and/or teams they are interested in. Participation in these clubs and teams should be encouraged and supported as they provide unique opportunities for both social development and personal growth that goes beyond what can be achieved during academic instructional time.

At DSCE, we are very fortunate to have an active and engaged student population.  With respect to this year’s extracurricular activity program, we currently have an overall student participation rate of almost 80% in at least one extracurricular activity! This is very positive and truly reflects the importance of getting involved and being active in school opportunities. In addition, in the Junior Division (Grade 4-6) approximately 50% of our students are enrolled in at least two clubs with some involved in 3!

Not only is student involvement in extracurricular activities beneficial to their growth and development as a whole person, but their participation is also critical to feeling a sense of belonging and to creating a sense of school spirit. Research over several decades has shown that “extracurricular and other organized activities can provide a wide variety of experiences and more quality interaction among students and between adults and students in the school, which may become translated into better socioemotional wellbeing and learning outcomes in children” (Metsäpelto and Pulkkinen, 2014).  While this is true for all students, early engagement in “extracurricular participation is all the more important in early school years, because children who participate in activities during middle childhood [ages 6-12] are more likely to continue to do so during adolescence (Simpkins, Fredericks, Davis-Kean, & Eccles, 2006).

So, while extracurricular activities are themselves non-academic, there are clear direct academic benefits. In fact, “participation in extracurricular activities has shown to have a wide range of positive impacts on student performance and achievement” (Craft, 2012: 74). More specifically, it has been shown that “participating in one or more structured extracurricular activities has physical, emotional, psychological, academic, and social benefits. These benefits range from improvement in general health, emotional regulation, study skills, subject grade points, and aptitude test scores to increase in self-esteem” (Roopesh, 2018).

Overall, that is a substantial benefit to the growth and well-being of our children. Furthermore, students engage in these activities "learn teamwork, dedication, success, failures, the ability to manage time, and the ability to build positive relationships with other students, coaches, parents, and community members. These qualities will make these students better all-around students and people” (Craft, 2012 :71). Given the huge benefits, it is very positive to see the high level of engagement of students in DSC's extracurricular program and the support they receive from our parent community! Let’s keep the momentum and benefits going!

Allan Morrison, BA (Hons), BEd, MA, MBA
Deputy Principal (Elementary)

 

References

Craft, S. W. (2012). "The Impact of Extracurricular Activities on Student Achievement at the High School Level". The University of Southern Mississippi, The Aquila Digital Community. At https://aquila.usm.edu/dissertations/543

Metsäpelto, R.L. & Pulkkinen, L. (2014). “The benefits of extracurricular activities for socioemotional behavior and school achievement in middle childhood: An overview of the research”.  Journal for Educational Research Online. Volume 6 (3). pp 10–33.

Roopesh B.N. (2018). “All Work and No Play: The Importance of Extracurricular Activities in the Development of Children”. In Deb, S. (ed) Positive schooling and child development – International perspectives. Singapore: Springer Pte Ltd.

Simpkins, S. D., Fredricks, J., Davis-Kean, P., & Eccles, J. S. (2006). “Healthy minds, healthy habits: The influence of activity involvement in middle childhood”. In A. Huston & M. Ripke (Eds.) Developmental contexts in middle childhood - Bridges to adolescence and adulthood. New York: Cambridge University Press.