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4 Simple Tips For Choosing The Right Enrichment Programs For Your Child

by on 04/05/2017

When your little one is between two to five years of age, it’s indeed a very special time when it comes to learning and growing. This is when you'd be ready to explore new ways to help him develop his potential. "The preschool years are a very good time to introduce children to new learning opportunities," says Diane Smiley, Youth Services & Programming Coordinator at the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. "At this time, a child's brain experiences more growth between birth and age five than during any other phase of life."

 

It is often said that as a parent, you are your child's first teacher and you really are! However, there are just certain things which you and your partner are not equipped to teach your little one and this is where the enrichment programs come in. Parents are also working harder and longer hours so they may not have as much time to spend with their children as they would like. Here's where enrichment programs can help.

 

Covering a plethora of subjects and skills, good enrichment programs are well structured and specially designed by professional educators to help promote basic skills as well as higher-level thinking for your child. In general, enrichment programs have one main focus, and that focus is usually to improve your child's ability to learn through fun and interactive activities.

 

In the market today, enrichment classes can be divided into two main categories; academic and extracurricular.

 

Academic Type Classes

 


  • Mathematics

 

Though we may not realize, Mathematics is one subject which we do apply in our daily life so help your child lay a good foundation. Numbers and shapes can be confusing to a child so these classes aim to help them approach this subject in a fun and exciting way.

 

 

  • Science

 

These classes aim to promote curiosity in your children by letting them explore a variety of fields of Science. Just like adult Science, the children will get to carry out hands-on experiments and then make predictions, and discover their own conclusions.

 


  • Reading and Writing

 

First your children will learn to read and write but from then on, they will read and write to learn so it is important for them to have a good foundation in both. Literacy enrichment classes will teach your child the basics such as letter recognition, decoding, and grammar skills through educational and entertaining activities.

 

 

Extracurricular Type Classes

 


  • Music

 

Children will get a chance to explore different types of music and songs and they will even have the opportunity to make their own music. Who knows, your child might be a musical maestro in the making!

 

 

  • Art

 

Crayon, water colour or colour pencils, your child will be able to try out various different mediums to create their own masterpieces. This is a great activity for children as it lets them have fun as they explore their individual artistic styles.

 

 

  • Cooking

 

Cooking here does not mean your child will be whipping up Michelin star worthy dinners any time soon. These classes are just a way for children to discover more about different types of foods. They will be taught simple food prep such as mixing, mashing and stirring so your budding chef might just be a little more helpful in the kitchen.

 

 

  • Speech

 

Language and speech affect the way your child interacts with others, and it will continue throughout their life. Children will be taught how to greet as well as carry on conversations with others as if it were second nature to them.

  

 

  • Yoga

 

 

Not only beneficial for adults, yoga is also good for children as it can help to enhance the child's strength and flexibility. Yoga is a fun way for children to develop their critical physical, psychological and physiological skills and you can also reap the benefits if you join a parent and child class as yoga can help release stress and anxiety.

 

 

Choosing the Right Classes

 

With the abundance of enrichment programs available, it is important that you choose the right one(s) for your child. Not all enrichment programs provide skills that will stay with a child throughout their lives. While these extra activities might be good for your child, you also have to be careful not to overwhelm them with too many as children too, can get stressed. Smiley suggests that parents look for activities that "allow children to use all of their senses and incorporate multiple learning styles."

 

Your child's personality and traits should also be taken into consideration. While it is advisable for parents to try something new for their little one, when an activity doesn't work for the child and he or she feels uncomfortable, parents should be okay with letting it go. Also in selecting an enrichment program for your preschooler you will also need to take into account your family's schedule, budget and personal preferences.

 

Here are some tips about choosing the right enrichment classes for your kids from Bobbi DePorter, the President of the Quantum Learning Network and co-founder of the SuperCamp program:

 

  • Does the area of enrichment have any practical application to your child’s academic future?

 

Before signing up, take a good look at the program's schedule of activities. Close inspection may reveal that there's far more downtime and unstructured free time than there is quality enrichment. There’s nothing wrong with indulging your son or daughter in one of these programs. Just know that there may be little or no lasting value to the student or the parents in this investment.

 

 

  • What kind of training and expertise does the staff possess?

 

Make a point to learn about the background of the staff who will teach these skills. Are the program leaders teachers themselves or experts in a particular field? Also, inquire about the training they receive.

 

 

  • Is there a balance between learning and fun?

 

A good enrichment program incorporates fun right into the learning. When a student enjoys the learning process, the brain does a better job of assimilating and retaining the new information.

  


  • In what ways can a program enrich a student's life?

 

When most people hear "enrichment" they think of academic enrichment. Clearly, when students are able to acquire new skills in such areas as creative writing, reading comprehension, problem solving and critical thinking, they benefit. But if a program offers them growth in life skills areas that build their confidence, motivation and self-esteem, as well as their communication and leadership skills, then you’ve found an enrichment program that can help a student grow in school and in life.

 

"In summary, sending your son or daughter to the right enrichment program can pay long-term dividends for the entire family," De Porter says. "Newly acquired academic skills, increased motivation or added confidence can translate into better grades, as well as new academic and personal interests. In turn, this growth can lead to better colleges, scholarships and rewarding careers."

 

 

 


  

This article is taken from Smart Kids World issue Vol.05.