Think about your school days, which is your favorite memory? Is it mastering science concepts or time tables, or is it school trips, sports days and cultural activities? Education is not just about scoring top marks in class and mastering English and math. The activities that bring new experiences and opportunities for the children are also an important part of their learning.
These activities are called enrichment programs and are an asset for all the children in the school, especially for the more able ones. Academic enrichment program presents them with new opportunities to explore their subjects in greater detail and use their imagination. Even the children who can’t afford frequent outings or come from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from these activities.
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The Importance of Enrichment
When children receive opportunities to try new activities that may not strictly fit into their learning curriculum, they develop a better character and learn new life skills such as teamwork. These are aspects that are also important for life beyond the classroom.
Certain activities may lead the children to develop an interest and appreciation for cultural and social affairs which help in making them socially responsible. Research shows that the children who are engrossed in enrichment are also academically more successful.
Enrichment in Schools
The Department of Education and Ofsted encourage the schools to provide enrichment opportunities for the children. These will help the children in personal development along with academic achievements.
The schools are expected to:
- Aid children in developing their interests and talents
- Groom them for future successes
- Train them on staying mentally and physically healthy
- Help them build up confidence and independence in their character
- Educate them on becoming responsible, respectful and active citizens
Enrichment in the Classroom
Schools can take the elementary curriculum subjects and develop them further. This will help more abled children in particular. They can encourage students to look at the topics more deeply or from a different perspective thereby enabling ‘detailed’ learning. Here are some simple enrichment ways in which schools can include in their routine classes.
- Promoting students to research in a particular subject. For example, ask them to use different books and websites for making presentations, projects or posters.
- Allowing the more abled children to work at a higher level. This may be done by setting tiered activities and placing them in a more challenging position.
- Sanctioning students to work in small groups under the supervision of a teacher to explore a topic in greater detail. This activity is called ‘enrichment cluster’.
- Organizing circle time and debates which will help the children to build up interpersonal and social skills.
- Encouraging the students to apply their knowledge across the subjects. For example, if the children are being taught about the Great Fire of London in history, they can be asked to think about why did the fire spread so quickly. This helps them analyze the situation from a science perspective.
Enrichment Outside the Classroom
The DfE has introduced Activity Passport for the schools in which they have suggested a list of enrichment activities for students under 11 years. They have been circulated to all primary schools, though the schools are in no way obliged to abide by them.
Some common enrichment activities outside the classroom includes:
- After school chess, art or sport clubs
- Music, acting and dancing lessons and their contests
- School trips and visits to famous speakers and authors who can share their expertise with the children
- Organizing events on days like World Book Day and World Earth Day
- Charity programs
Enrichment at Home
Parents do a lot of enrichment for their children without even realizing it. Some of the activities include:
- Reading together, painting and drawing
- Playing board games and roleplay games
- Involving children in singing, swimming, dancing, gardening and cooking activities
- Taking them to art galleries, museums, libraries, and zoos. This will enhance your child’s knowledge.
- Family visits and picnics and interaction with others of their age is also a great way to develop their social skills.
The main aim of enrichment is to make life and education a more fun-loving experience for your child. It is better if you don’t stress them out with studies. Instead, help them wherever they are weak.
Often children may ask you a lot of questions out of curiosity. Helping them find the answers is also a part of enrichment. If you are unable to answer them you might want to refer to the internet or ask some friends.