What after school classes can my children do?
Of course, it depends on their age. My four-year old daughter has just started to learn dance after school once a week. In terms of price, it is relatively cheap at £7 per hour and she is really enjoying it.
My sister when she was younger took ballet and she kept it up for quite some years, and now she is a fantastic dancer. When I was in primary school, I spent a few years learning karate (mixed martial arts.) Later in during high school, I decided to start doing boxing, which was a great outlet for my anger, helping me express myself much better. Some schools actually host some clubs after school themselves but it is becoming rare that they will have much choice, this is mainly due to lack of staff and, funding, unless your child attends a private school.
Common after school classes
Drama is a subject that I wish I took as a child, but I felt like I was too shy and never pursued it. I couldn’t bear the thought of performing in front of others and was never pushed. Always feeling worried about what other people would think of me. This low self-esteem literally stopped me from taking part in something that I had a great interest in. Now as an adult, I do not feel like I am a shy person and in general conversation, I say what I feel.
In my four-year-old daughter, she is playful and very imaginative, as many children are. She loves playing role-play-based games which should, of course, be supported at home from her parents. However, there is only so much that we can do to help her develop this skill. Sure we can get involved and role-play characters with her but we are very limited in terms of drama knowledge. There are several benefits to drama lessons, let's explore each of them.
Learning to improvise
This is a skill set that you would use during the drama and performance. It is the practice of creating something. Whether that be a piece of music or drama spontaneously without preparation. In the drama industry, this is a fantastic skill that you will use nearly all of the time, and your child will need drama classes in order to develop this skill.
It’s something that a lot of us lack. It’s having the strength to stand up and speak your truth, and the will to perform. A lack of confidence can prevent you from pursuing things, throughout your life. It may be strengthened and weakened by other people. You can help develop confidence for your child from home with compliments etc.
However, the best way for them to become more confident is in fact practice. In the drama class setting, their main focus is to help your child become more confident. This will be through activities, games, and performance. They may get your child to stand up alone and speak to the group, sing a piece or act. Whatever it is, constant exposure to this type of activity will help your child become a natural performer that is confident in their own abilities. Whilst setting them up for the future as an adult that understands their value and can maintain it through salary, power, and popularity.
Dedication & determination
As your child becomes more confident, they will start to become more determined. Determined to do well, determined for success. Once they have their minds fixed on their goals, they will have pure dedication.
Better body language expression
Drama classes will teach your child to express themselves better, not only through words and art but also through body language. Body language refers to communication via movements of the body. It is not just in doing but also in the reading. Understanding body language well can help to predict real-life future situations as well as being able to express yourself more freely. The better the expression, the more in tune you will feel with the universe and essentially the happier you can be.
Teamwork & team-building skills
With drama classes, most of the time you will be working as a team. Working with other people alone at times can be challenging but the more practice you have, the better team working skills you will develop. Whilst most schools could help with teamwork development, drama more specifically focuses on team building activities.
Using feedback to improve (Constructive Criticism)
Firstly, no one is or will ever be perfect. Some are better than others and to improve practice is needed. Not just any practice but the focus should be on what is at its worst. Whatever it is that you are bad at, this could be what other people see. Some people tend to use a critical eye and disregard the good whilst using a firm judgment on a small error or low performance. Without the skill to take someone’s feedback and improve your skill in a more productive way, your confidence can be affected.
This is why it is important when you get critical feedback to not take it to heart. Don’t focus on the bad things that you did but instead focus on how you could fix them through good practice. Instead of focusing on the feedback itself, see it in your mind as productive because now you can get even better. To be able to take this feedback in a productive way you must be exposed to lots of people giving you feedback. In drama, you will be given constructive feedback regularly and this will help develop your skills as you become better. If you do not have many people giving you feedback and you randomly get one that is quite critical this could affect you negatively.
Great exercise & fitness
Whilst taking part in drama classes, you will be constantly on the move. When taking part in warm-ups, games, and activities you will be using a lot of energy. Aside from developments, the most important thing is that your child has fun!
Other common classes
Other classes include cooking, music instrument lessons, singing, arts & craft, pottery, painting, dance, book club, sports, chess, mixed martial arts (Boxing, Karate, Taekwon-do), language classes, Messy play (suitable 6 months to 4 years old)
Benefits of taking an after school class?
The best thing about doing an after school class in my opinion is; The exercise, opportunity to make some new friends, as well as the new skill and trying new things allows us to open up our minds. This develops our personality and helps us be willing to try new things. For children it could help increase their intelligence as they improve their knowledge.
We are all defined by our experiences, our friends and family as well as their experiences. I now make it my goal to try something new whenever I can. If you decide that your child won't be taking part in any after school classes you may find that your child will become shy.
Why are children shy?
Children can be very funny. Most of the time they are full of energy and seem like they are the most outgoing out of all of us all. However, when it comes to meeting new people they can quickly become shy reverting back into their shells without letting any words come out.
People try to make the effort by talking to them but it’s almost as if they ignore. Why is that? It is most likely caused by two things. These are one, a lack of confidence. Two, a lack of practice talking to new people. Both of these skills go hand-in-hand and generally improve as they get older. But there are some things that you can do now as a parent to help kick-start those skills and further develop your child.
Before we get started in working towards a development fix. I must say that as a child I was very shy and my parents as most do would speak on my behalf. When being shy it can you come across as cute, especially when it is a younger child who is showing this behavior. It does, unfortunately, make them miss out on opportunities. If not addressed this could later on develop into something such as anxiety. Which today a huge percent of the population suffers alone with.
Whilst being shy is somewhat of a defense mechanism system put in place to protect us from danger similar to the anxiety. In this day and age, it is not really needed and being able to speak well with good communication it’s very important. You should know today is a completely normal response and there is nothing to worry about however you should combat your child’s shyness whilst they are still young.
How to help your child be less shy?
There are many things that you can do to reduce how shy your child is. One of them that I would highly recommend is getting them into some after school clubs such as mixed martial arts, drama, music, or painting. Martial arts and drama are great because they need to somewhat perform. This over time as a consistent practice will definitely increase their confidence.
Music and painting offer a different way. These are very good for expression and if your child has these as their main particular interest. It will likely be easier for them to communicate with others who share the same interest. Making the communication easy then allows them to increase the skill with minimal effort. With them being able to freely express their emotions through painting or playing an instrument. It can overall help improve their intelligence in many ways.
Still, though you shouldn’t rely heavily upon after-school clubs alone. You can enforce a lot of confidence-building activities at home and when you are out with your child. For example. You can give your child the money so that they can go to the shopkeeper and pay for the items. Or you could get them to phone someone to tell them something on your behalf. Essentially the more you practice with them the less and less shy they will become.
Common signs that your child is shy
- They put their hand in front of the mouth
- Talking quietly or mumbling
- Looking away from the person who is talking to them
- Hiding behind you or close to you for reassurance
There are many games that you can play at home that will help improve your child’s confidence. My favorites are those that encourage you all to sit down together to form a circle. A common game that we play works like this. You must say any word quietly and going around in the circle each of you must take it in turns to say the word. But the word must get louder with more expression on it each time. By the time that you have gone around the circle and it gets back to your turn again to finish it.
The word should have become very strong and loud. After this, it is up to the person next to you in the circle to choose a word and you repeat until everyone has had a turn. This game is good for confidence building because it encourages a slight performance in front of others which in turn can reduce public shyness.
There are many games like this one, another one is an association game. It involves pointing at someone in the circle and saying a word such as apple. The person whom you pointed at can then say any word that is associated with an apple. This could be another type of fruit, the word tree or pit. Whatever the associated word is. That person must then point at someone else with their word, and it continues until you can no longer think of anything else to say.
Up next: Music instruments for schools