Previously, we discussed stability in schooling and how it is crucial for a student’s academic success. It’s no surprise that many students’ grades and academic performance suffer when not attending core classes like math, science, and history; however, instability in schooling also causes students to miss out on sports and extracurricular activities.
Participating in these non-academic forms of personal enrichment—in addition to their core classes each school day—can not only improve a child’s academic performance: It can also boost their self-esteem, promote physical wellness, and encourage healthy psychosocial development.
Read on to learn more about why children need opportunities for sports and extracurricular activities in school for quality experiences and education.
There are a couple of reasons why sports and extracurricular activities are critically important for academic performance and overall success. This first one might be obvious: students, just like everyone else, need a break from concentrating on their work to refresh their working memory and attention span. If you have kids, you know that virtually all kids have limited attention spans to some degree.
Providing opportunities for physical activity is especially beneficial in preventing children from being overworked because it lets them take a break while staying in a productive mindset. Plus the fact that exercise is crucial for their developing minds and bodies to function and perform properly.
The academic benefits of physical exercise for students are so well-proven that all K–8 schools here in the state of Alabama are required by law to provide students with teacher-instructed Physical Education classes (PE) for a minimum of thirty minutes each day.
Healthy Psychosocial Development
Did you know that opportunities for sports and extracurricular activities can make a substantial difference in the way children develop socially?
When students join teams and clubs or take elective courses like art, career prep, marching band, and theater, they enjoy many social benefits. These include making conversation and building friendships with classmates who have shared interests, learning how to follow directions and work well with others, and receiving social and academic support from peers and teachers.
These social benefits can all work together to boost a student’s self-esteem as they give them a sense of belonging and confidence in themselves.
Plus, teachers of elective classes often tie important academic and moral values into their lessons. As an example, many art educators dive into the historical significance of the artists and techniques they’re teaching.
Similarly to these electives, sports teach students valuable lessons in teamwork, following the rules, respecting authority, and maintaining personal health.
Another incredible benefit of elective courses and extracurriculars is that they can teach students specific skills they can apply to their lives in positive ways. Career prep courses can help prepare students to enter the workforce, and instructors can include fun activities that help students discover what they want to do with their lives after high school.
Some high schools can give students the opportunity to train for specific careers, like welding or cosmetology classes, which can give students a headstart on their career path. For example, some of these kinds of classes include industry-specific certifications.
These hands-on career electives are also great for students’ mental health and sense of purpose: They’re especially beneficial for students from underprivileged backgrounds who may not have access to them otherwise.
Encouraging Students to Participate in Sports and Extracurricular Activities
The many benefits of sports and extracurricular activities we’ve shared are only a few of the many reasons why we encourage our residents to participate in sports and activities.
One reason we love providing sporting activities to our children, in particular, is that they learn good sportsmanship.
A few of the young boys in our Children’s Home have now made all-star teams in sports and have great sportsmanship as a result of the sporting opportunities we are blessed to help them with! However, oftentimes residents who come into our care struggle with good sportsmanship, gratefulness, and attitude in general. In these cases, our house parents have to work with them to explain what behavior is and is not appropriate—that everyone has times in life when they win and times when they lose, and that being a good sport about it is essential.
Our staff and house parents are continually grateful to have the ability to minister to our residents who have come from broken homes or foster care and provide them with the opportunities they need to learn and grow into healthy, happy, well-adjusted young adults. If you feel led to support our ministry and residents at the Alabama Free Will Baptist Children’s Home, we ask that you give gifts and provide prayer as you are able.