Beyond the curriculum

One of the objectives of education is to inculcate in children the ability to appreciate extra-curricular activities like the arts, culture and sport. Primary education plays an important role in the development of youngsters with creativity and character. Therefore teachers must expose their students to manual work that will kindle their creative talent thereby guiding them in developing their innate potential. Building blocks, making models with clay or wax and sand-play should definitely be encouraged among children.

Teachers are instrumental in making children realize the importance of sports and physical education which, apart from improving aerobic activity and health, instill in children, a feeling of team spirit.

A cure for monotony: In today’s context, extra-curricular activities are not only to serve  to widen intellectual horizons, but also help in relieving children from the monotony of a stressful syllabus. Children hardly ever find time at home to pursue a hobby, as they are occupied with homework, tuitions and coaching classes. Therefore help them devote time to extra-curricular activities at school.

These exercises may also help you identify good artists, writers or sportspersons in your students and serve as valuable information while guiding them in choosing a career.

Such activities must be made mandatory in schools to enable both teachers and students to find time for them even amidst the busy schedule of the syllabus.

Extra- curricular activities play a very important part in improving a child’s communication skills, boosting his confidence and enhancing his personality.

We present here some activities that a teacher could make her students do, all within the school premises.

Food for the soul: Vocal, instrumental, classical or light --- music does have therapeutic value. It is also known to be instrumental in relieving stress.

Therefore do encourage children to sing during free hours. Take time to conduct musical games like antakshari on a regular basis. Children will not only have fun, but more importantly , de-stress themselves.

 Stepping to the music: Dance also serves to bust stress. In fact, dancing leads to a catharsis ---- flushing out all pent up feelings and emotions ----- thereby rejuvenating one’s body and mind. So conduct ‘free style’ dance competitions in school for children to shed stress and inhibition. Alternately arrange a ten- minute dance ritual everyday after the assembly, where students can hop, jump and swing to their hearts’ content.

 Stroke and colour therapy: Shy and inhibited children might find better expression on canvas. Encourage your students to etch and colour their imagination. Invite them to colour the various cartoons in newspapers as a beginning.

Crafting ideas for relief:  Some children may take interest in sewing and embroidery. Organize tailoring classes at least once a week to teach basic tailoring skills like buttoning, hemming and tacking.

Teach your students to make objects such as flowers, using coloured paper.

Shaping clay to make various objects could be a very interesting experience. Let children make their own pots and shapes and paint them.

Teach children to weave baskets and vases from wire.

Display their works in a small exhibition held in the school premises.

Literary exercises: Move away from convention and encourage your students to write poetry and creative prose in class. Organize quizzes on a regular basis to sharpen their general knowledge.

Acts in theatrics: Organize plays and skits and encourage children to act. Apart from main-stage actors, you will also discover backstage experts like the choreographer, costume designer etc. Encourage children to write their own scripts and help them stage their plays.

Athletics - Tonic for vitality: Sport is a source of entertainment and a tonic for general health and vitality. Encourage children to take part in sports like running race, football, badminton etc.

 Ensure that you encourage all your students to participate equally. The idea is to help them overcome their inhibitions and boost their confidence.

This article first appeared in Teacher Plus, Issue No.66, May-June 2000 and has been adapted here with changes.

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