Se­lect­ing ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties for your child

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS PLUS - Corey.robin­son@glean­erjm.com

“What is new about this one is the in­ten­sity and the plan to sus­tain it. We have gone about it be­fore, but we usu­ally do it on a one-track ba­sis and then leave it alone. Now we want the in­ten­sity to be cre­ated; we want peo­ple to see and feel it.”

‘DOWN­TOWN CAN’T TAME’

Even as the as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner took to the streets him­self, in­struct­ing the men and women un­der his com­mand, di­rect­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic and rep­ri­mand­ing oth­ers, it was clear that not all the cops were con­fi­dent of suc­cess.

“Down­town can­not tame. You will never be able to tame down­town. This place has al­ready got­ten out of hand,” one po­lice sergeant told The Sun­day Gleaner.

“The peo­ple are not talk­ing to the po­lice. You will stand right here and hear four shots fire around the road and by the time you leave and go around there, peo­ple say you a id­iot be­cause the man walk past you,” said one you po­lice­man.

“But if no­body says any­thing to you, and the man puts away the gun and is walk­ing – not run­ning – past you, how will you know that is him just kill a man around the road?” added the young cop in seem­ing de­spair. The fol­low­ing is an­other in a se­ries of par­ent­ing tips brought to you by The Sun­day Gleaner in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Na­tional Par­ent­ing Sup­port Com­mis­sion (NPSC).

WITH THE new school year up and run­ning, stu­dents and par­ents may be caught in a web of op­tions as to which ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties are worth pur­su­ing.

While there may be few re­search find­ings avail­able in Ja­maica as to the im­pact of ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties on stu­dent devel­op­ment, the United States De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in­di­cates that stu­dents who en­gage in such ac­tiv­i­ties usu­ally reg­is­ter a more con­sis­tent at­ten­dance and a stronger de­sire to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion af­ter high school com­pared to other stu­dents.

For many par­ents, the ben­e­fits of hav­ing their chil­dren en­gage in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties may not be eas­ily ac­cepted, how­ever, it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to con­sider that the ac­tiv­i­ties chil­dren en­gage in af­ter school will sig­nif­i­cantly shape their fu­ture. Through these ac­tiv­i­ties, val­ues such as team­work, in­di­vid­ual ini­tia­tive and group re­spon­si­bil­ity are learnt.

In ad­dress­ing the is­sue of se­lect­ing ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and pub­lic re­la­tions at the NPSC Mikhale Ed­wards sug­gests some sig­nif­i­cant fac­tors to be con­sid­ered by par­ents. They in­clude the fol­low­ing, not listed in or­der of pri­or­ity:

1) IN­TER­EST OF YOUR CHILD

For many par­ents, this may be an ap­pro­pri­ate start­ing point. Is your child gen­uinely in­ter­ested in play­ing a sport, the vis­ual and per­for­mance arts, or are they more in­ter­ested in stu­dent gov­ern­ment? Par­ents should re­sist the urge to live vi­car­i­ously through their chil­dren. By recog­nis­ing the unique gifts and tal­ents of your child, par­ents will be bet­ter able to chan­nel that en­ergy into a mean­ing­ful and fo­cused area.

2) DED­I­CAT­ING TIME

De­pend­ing on your child’s daily rou­tine and mode of trans­porta­tion, it is im­prac­ti­cal for a child to get home at 10 p.m. af­ter en­gag­ing in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. In cre­at­ing a struc­tured life for their child, par­ents should as­sist to de­ter­mine when an Play­ing a sport is a pop­u­lar ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity for many Ja­maican chil­dren.

ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity be­comes too bur­den­some.

3) COST OF EN­GAGE­MENT

In these chal­leng­ing eco­nomic times, how much of your monthly in­come will be spent on your child ac­quir­ing equip­ment and other nec­es­sary re­sources in or­der to de­velop their area of in­ter­est? Will your fam­ily be forced to make sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial sac­ri­fices, such as cut­ting back on their qual­ity of food or con­stantly in­cur­ring costs? If your fam­ily will be placed un­der such strain, it may be nec­es­sary to per­suade your child to pur­sue an­other area of in­ter­est.

4) YOUR CHILD’S PRI­OR­I­TIES

Through ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their chil­dren, par­ents should re­ceive a clear pic­ture as to what their child hopes to achieve from en­gag­ing in a stated area of in­ter­est. Is it be­ing used as a plat­form for per­sonal growth and devel­op­ment, or as a spring­board through which your child may re­ceive a schol­ar­ship af­ter pri­mary or se­condary school? Par­ents should pro­vide guid­ance in help­ing chil­dren to choose ac­tiv­i­ties that will fit their long-term goals.

5) IM­PACT OF AC­TIV­I­TIES

The most suc­cess­ful peo­ple of our life­time have been able to do few things ex­tremely well. For some stu­dents who may be

un­sure as to what their area of in­ter­est is, it is rec­om­mended that they be­come ex­posed to var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties. Sure, there may be stu­dents who are able to bal­ance two sports and still ded­i­cate enough time to learn how to play a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment. How­ever, not ev­ery stu­dent will have the en­ergy level and time-man­age­ment skills to en­gage in such di­verse ac­tiv­i­ties. Qual­ity out­put should al­ways be cho­sen over en­gag­ing in a high quan­tity of ac­tiv­i­ties.

6) BAL­ANC­ING ACA­DEMICS, EXTRACURRICULARS

As op­por­tu­ni­ties present them­selves for stu­dents to pur­sue non-tra­di­tional oc­cu­pa­tions af­ter se­condary school, par­ents are re­minded to stress the im­por­tance of chil­dren bal­anc­ing their aca­demic pur­suits with their prow­ess in other ar­eas. Whether or not higher ed­u­ca­tion will even­tu­ally in­clude your child en­rolling in a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion, par­ents should em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of their chil­dren build­ing a steady aca­demic foun­da­tion.

You can con­tact the NPSC via: Face­book: www.face­book.com/na­tional par­ent­ing­sup­port­com­mis­sion Twit­ter: @NPSCJa­maica. Email: na­tion­al­par­ent­ing sup­port@moey.gov.jm. Tel: (876) 967-7977

RI­CARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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