“All work and no play doesn’t just make Jill and Jack dull, it kills the potential of discovery, mastery, and openness to change, and flexibility and it hinders innovation and invention,” Joline Godfrey, a prominent US author and educator, famously said.
The truism of this statement, particularly when it comes to the training of children, is impossible to dispute. While it is imperative for children to gain cognitive education in the classroom, the impact of their learning and overall development could be severely limited if they are restricted to their classrooms solely for intellectual activities.
Children need to, at various times, step away from their classes to get rejuvenated, and this can only occur when they engage in other activities that are voluntary and social in nature. Studies have shown that taking part in extracurricular activities decreases the possibility of students committing criminal offences, ensures reduction of anti-social behaviours, helps build teamwork and problem-solving skills, develops social relationships, and achieves a higher knowledge retention level and superior academic performance.
By participating in these non-academic activities, children not only get to be mentally re-energised but also develop and pursue a special interest and develop skills in extramural activities, which may be of immense benefit to them later in life.
One educational institution that is at the forefront of striking the right balance of study and play for its students is Chrisland Schools, an educational conglomerate providing top-notch education.
Established in 1977, Chrisland Schools is committed to child-centred education for the realisation of maximum self-discovery and development in life.
According to High Chief Dr (Mrs) Winifred Awosika OON, the school’s founder, “the right step for today’s child is being given the best possible education and training as a springboard to a future of distinction”. Allowing and encouraging students to participate in extracurricular activities, a key component of the psychomotor domain of learning, speaks to the school’s objective of developing well-rounded students.
For instance, the school organises the Foundation Stage Spelling Bee, a competition exclusively for its nursery pupils who, during the competition, are required to spell a selection of words, usually with varying degrees of difficulty. The competition is organised to motivate students to learn standardised spelling, as well as sharpen their command of the English language. Through this, the pupils demonstrate their understanding of what they have learnt in their classes.
In addition, the school has voluntary organisations such as Boys’ Scout, Girls’ Guide, and Red Cross, as well as gymnastics, dance, drama and cultural clubs. It also has facilities for board games. Also available in the school are subject-based clubs such as Jets Club, Press and Literary Club, Geographical Society, Arts Club and ICT Clun. These focus more on the instructional aspects and provide practical learning experiences for the students on top of academic studies and enable them to initiate social interactions in a more relaxed environment.
Chrisland Schools also places great emphasis on sports as part of its extracurricular package, with the students encouraged to participate in football, basketball, volleyball, athletics, tennis, cricket, chess, handball, gymnastics, and swimming. To forge the spirit of competition, friendship and sportsmanship, the school organises the Chrisland Soccer Fiesta, an annual football competition between secondary schools in the group, as well as, the Chrisland Intra-school Volleyball Competition.
Also, a larger sports festival, the Chrisland Inter-house Competition, is held annually in its primary and secondary schools located in six different locations across the country. It also registers students for intercollegiate games among private secondary schools in Lagos State, through which triumphs have come in swimming and volleyball.
Another extracurricular activity is the Annual Colour Day, which aims to expose Foundation Stage classes (Nursery classes) across all Chrisland Schools to the utilitarian nature of colours; the aesthetics, the symbolic nature and the application of colour to our everyday life. Various sessions are facilitated to educate the children on the creativity behind colour choices, the hidden meanings of colours, and the encrypted message that each colour carries and symbolises so that they can fully appreciate the diversity of colours.
To properly groom the leaders of tomorrow for their later years, educators are expected not to solely focus on churning out intellectually gifted and brilliant students but also on developing students, who are socially active and responsible, and also on helping them to scale up their enhancement of handy skills. This will surely make them more versatile and crucially aid their personal development in the future, and this is what Chrisland Schools has continued to do for over four decades.