3 Questions to Ask Before You Send Your Child for Enrichment Classes
Updated: 3 days ago
Art, Ballet, English, Gymnastics, Mother Tongue Languages classes, Music, Robotics, and Swimming. These are just some of the children enrichment classes that are available. I have just listed 8, if I sent my children to one class each day, I would not be able to complete all the classes in week! With a plethora of enrichment classes to choose from, it can be difficult to decide on which enrichment class to go. In this article, we explore more about enrichment classes.
1) Are enrichment classes necessary and when should you have them?
To answer that question, ask yourself. Is your child developmentally ready to learn? This includes physical, emotional and social readiness. For example, how well does your toddler listen to your instructions and follow through? If you were to send the child for music lessons, is she willing to spend time to practice or do you have to beg, coerce or threaten the child? If you sign up for the enrichment class, will your child enjoy the activity? A good indication is that your child wants to attend the enrichment class and is willing to spend time to practice to gain a new skill.
Another question that you can think about is whether you have the time, energy and know-how to teach your child by yourself. If you do, you might want to consider teaching your child first, so that you know the strengths and weaknesses of your child.
Some children just adore running around playgrounds, love playing ball games like soccer or basketball. If your child is active, enrichment lessons that focus on learning to play a game (such as gymnastics, soccer) can increase your child’s strength and skill at the same time expending their physical energy.
2) What are some popular enrichment classes?
In 2014, a study conducted by ECDA revealed that the popular enrichment classes were English Language, Art/Music and Mother Tongue Languages classes
However, in recent years, there have been other kinds of enrichment classes that focus on physical and motor skills development which I will discuss more below.
Ballet – I have tried ballet classes for my girls at a community centre. What are the items needed for ballet lesson? These include: leotard, shoes, ballet skirt.
What I have learnt: Physical appearance such as tying up of hair, wearing ballet skirts, having the correct colour leotard are very important. One needs to be disciplined about getting the physical appearance to follow the standards needed in the class. One positive outcome from attending ballet class was that the girls did develop more flexibility after attending classes close to 1 year. After attending for a few semesters, the goal set by the teacher was to prepare for ballet exams😊 I did not follow through for the exams because that would mean spending even more time which I was not prepared for.
Gymnastics - Gymnastics have become very popular these days and there are certain primary schools that are proud of their gymnastics program and promote it actively. Gymnastics is also one of the sports listed on MOE’s Physical Education Syllabus 2014.
Those who attend can gain self-confidence because of the ability to do a split, cartwheel or handstand. Discipline, diet and physical appearance are important too. For example, hair must be tied up, gym outfits must be of a certain colour. So far, I have not heard of gymnastics exams but I do know that as the students becomes proficient in the sport, they can go for inter-club competitions. For those who are less inclined towards competition, gymnastics class becomes more like an exercise class for them😊
These days, there are many people who can play a musical instrument. Being able to play a musical instrument can boost a child’s self-confidence. To learn a musical instrument well, one needs to practice, practice and practice. For a preschooler, the recommended time is to practice for at least 15 minutes each day. Even if the child has finished practicing on music sheet for the day, try and get the child to play whatever song she likes, this is to develop a habit of playing the instrument every day. It is important to develop a “relationship” with the musical instrument and to train muscle memory (in fingers, ears and eyes). Just having the music lesson with the teacher is too short to learn the skill. For those who have had a few years of practice, one can go for exams and competitions to increase in skill and exposure in playing to an audience.
3) What kinds of enrichment classes are related to primary school programmes?
The ability to swim is a required learning outcome within the PE Syllabus 2014, thus all primary schools do offer a compulsory swimming programme to their pupils. Most primary schools offer the SwimSafer programme. If your child has the SwimSafer certification, it might be possible to opt-out of this programme in primary school. To prepare for that, you may want to consider sending your children to swimming lessons beforehand.
Nowadays, robotics or programming has become very popular. For kids programming, most use the drag and drop feature. These are visual blocks containing commands like “turn right 90 degrees” or “go straight for 15 cm”. With these visual blocks, kids can place the blocks in a logical, sequential order to solve a problem, for example to get the robot to arrive at a certain destination or to perform certain tasks. Syntax programming which is using the code itself, is introduced at a later stage, for example, when the child is in secondary school.
Learning programming is good for the child because this will expose the child to the operations behind a computer. It will also teach the child logical thinking. Given that more and more lessons are conducted using a computer, and home-based learning will become even more prevalent, basic programming of the computer will be useful to the child.
In conclusion, enrichment classes can help to show another view of your child and help identify your child’s interest and strengths. However, enrichment classes can take up a lot of your time if you have to send your child for the classes. In addition, a lot of discipline and follow up is needed to help the child pick up a new skill or excel in the enrichment classes. If your child is developmentally ready to pick up a new skill and you are also willing to invest time and resources to nurture your child, then do go for it!
Find out more about the holistic education at Nurture Infant House Tampines
At Nurture Infant House Tampines, we aim to provide a holistic bilingual learning experience for your child. For better knowledge retention, we adopt a thematic learning approach for our English and Chinese curriculum, where class activities and lessons are centered around the theme. This makes the learning experience more engaging and interesting for the children.In addition, we are currently adopting the well recognised Kong Zi Xue Yuan Chinese Teaching Program for our Chinese curriculum. This program is equipped with a complete set of learning materials and lesson plans for an enriching learning experience. For our phonic lessons, we are using the Letter land Program to help our preschoolers read, write and spell.
In Nurture Infant House Tampines, Math and Science concepts are introduced naturally to our preschoolers through hands-on activities and play. We also provide activity sheets designed to help them practise the skills they have acquired.
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