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Too much of school

When my mom finally decided to take that plum posting as a Divisional Head, I knew I was in trouble. Her office hours stretched way beyond my school hours. And anyway, I was privy to the many discussions my parents had about 'Honey, what do we do with the kids?' Well, finally they struck gold - an educational after school program. Won't that be just grand? Kids are learning new things while parents are happily minting greenbacks! And so, we went directly to another class after our school. The brochure said that they would be 'using fun activities and innovative teaching methods to fill the gap in your child's understanding'. I suppose they meant that the teacher would write down the homework and we were to copy it. At least, this is what happened most of the time. Of course, we didn't tell our parents. How would that help? They'd simply get smart and shift us to a class that would actually make us solve our homework.

I hated the classes. Mostly, I was bored to tears or falling asleep. After so many hours at school who'd want to spend the entire afternoon with the same books? But, as a child, one had little choice in these
matters. Especially when one's parents were cleverly telling one that mommy's salary will help get us that spanking new TV or that video game. Lose some, win some! Then, one day, my sister decided to rock the proverbial boat. She decidedshe had enough of studying and refused to go to the after school program. That's when my parents began to smell something stale. Shortly after that, they put us in a better program (o, yes, another educational one). This was bigger, brighter and somehow more fun. We had some interesting games, and a COMPUTER too. Each of us got a chance to do something on the PC (this, when PCs were just beginning to make their presence felt). We somehow managed to blaze through our homework, most of which had to be done by us. Then it was time to have fun. We had a little bit of everything. Acting classes, speech, games and of course painting. Those hours we spent splashing color on pages and laughing at silly jokes were really the highlight of an otherwise boring day. Ironically, I began looking forward to my after school program.



Now, so many years afterward, when I need to take up a job and leave my own child alone till I get back, I know how important these after school programs have become. Talk about history repeating itself! I just hope I'd get her into a good one, and yes, it's going to be educational too. The Learning environment There is often a trap in the words 'after school activities'. One may easily believe that since these activities are after school, they are not of much importance. But, one couldn't be more wrong. Research suggests that children pick up some of their most important skills from after school programs. That is why children who do not participate in any extra curricular activities are generally slow and less vibrant.

The learning environment that one fosters in after school activities must be as disciplined and as functional as that found in the school. This is especially true of educational after school programs. This is the best place to teach the child important skills like time-management and goal setting. Time-management is a vital skill, but it is not achieved easily. Children need to feel the discipline that is needed to finish a task and the happiness of finishing the allotted work in a specific time frame. Children look for different things in an after class program. The learning environment should be attractive, colorful and informative. Use charts, pictures, posters and drawings to liven up a class. Additional resources resources that are not easily available in the school) will make the classes interesting. For instance, when teaching a biology lesson, alloWhe child to see through a microscope or see slides of bacteria. This will add to his knowledge and also make him more enthusiastic about his after school program.



Discipline is a must in after school activities. In fun or sport-based activities, it is easy for children to step out of line and wreck havoc. While children should be allowed to have fun, they should be curtailed from unacceptable behavior. The best way to enforce discipline is to lay down the rules at the very beginning. Let the children know what is unacceptable, right at the beginning. Rewards are an important part of any learning process. The reward can be a simple pat on the back or a token of appreciation. Motivate your children to aspire for higher things by rewarding their achievements. Holding competitions or sport activities where the children can show their proficiency is a reward in itself. Children can get bored easily, especially in the case of an educational program. The main thrust of an academic program is to repeat what has been taught in class and to allow the child to learn it quickly. It is difficult to pique the child's interest a second time, especially when the child is already tired of one dose of the same lesson. It is best to thwart boredom by using creative techniques like an impromptu extempore on ny topic, a quiz program or a slideshow. After school activities are becoming more popular by the day. Parents want their kids to learn more. Children too have an insatiable quest for knowledge. In an after school program, it is possible to pay individual attention and quench this thirst using various effective techniques.



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