The Importance of Extracurriculars

Education Editor, The Maples Academy

School isn’t all curriculum, teachers and homework. An adequate education involves some form of co-curricular opportunity, and an exceptional education offers a variety of opportunities which are readily available to students. Extracurriculars can go underestimated by school faculty and parents, who often zero in on maintaining an excellent academic skillset, but ignore the benefits of involvement outside the classroom. These supplementary activities are an important part of a student’s comprehensive educational journey, often just a segment to the school’s “student life.” Extracurriculars give students vital opportunities to expand beyond standard curriculum, and reach their fullest potential.

The whole student

Along with a breadth of curriculum, extracurriculars play a large role in obtaining a holistic education. The International Baccalaureate (IB) and similar enriched education models commit to developing the whole person, not just the whole student — this offers students the chance to grow into confident, independent, multitalented young people who are motivated to keep learning and growing. A student has the opportunity to become an athlete who sings the lead part in the musical, or a leader in debate club who plays in the school’s orchestra. They can flourish into a well-rounded person with a wide skillset and versatile passions, making them outstanding university candidates.

Trying new things

Students in an extracurricular-rich school are inspired to be courageous and put themselves out there for things unfamiliar to them. While the classroom teaches students new material every day, extracurriculars truly clear the stage for students’ self-advocacy, confidence and independence to flourish. Students are allowed much more freedom to choose which passions and hobbies to pursue, which not only encourages open-mindedness and courage, but also inspires them to take responsibility for their own education and life path.

Leadership and cooperation

In conjunction with independence, clubs and teams often have executive roles open to students. They can begin practicing leadership skills in a constructive setting before they even graduate high school, which gives them a leg up from students who are not involved in any extracurriculars. Moreover, being a part of a team is valuable experience. Learning how to cooperate, work together, delegate tasks and be mindful of others’ ideas introduces young students to practical life skills that they can’t get from academics alone.

A sense of belonging

Although the school your child attends should always be a place where they feel they belong, extracurriculars are a special part of school where they can connect with likeminded peers who share the same interests, goals and passions. Clubs, teams and ensembles are an easy, organic way to make friends at school and to spend time with them through a common interest.

It’s important to remember that the whole of your child’s experience at school, from making friends to gaining a range of talents, contributes to their development. Limiting their experience to academics robs them of the chance to shine in a co-curricular hobby, as well as the chance to show you their unexplored potential. A selection of extracurriculars which are available to each and every student will give your child a starting point from which to inspire new strengths and to continue growing in current hobbies. Find a school that prioritizes extracurricular involvement, ensure that there is enough opportunity available and encourage your child to be courageous, lead and flourish in a place where they truly belong.

The Maples Academy (JK-Grade 8) is the leading private IB School (PYP & MYP) in the communities of Orangeville, Caledon, Shelburne, Grand Valley and surrounding areas. The Maples Academy is a part of a family of schools: St. Jude’s Academy, The Maples Academy and Oakwood Academy. Our faculty are world leaders in IB education, providing fundamental skills. Phys. Ed, Arts and language specialists nurture the whole student, which ensures our graduates are accepted into their chosen high school. Supported by faculty and parents, our students are inspired to confidently make their mark in the world. Visit us at themaplesschool.com.