1 year ago

Education | ED03 | Summer 2016

A Wealden Times Magazine

Blackland Farm Outdoor

Blackland Farm Outdoor Activity Centre Kayaking Canoeing Bungee trampolining Rock climbing Archery Crate challenge Zip wire Abseiling Aeroball... ...and many more! Come and join us for fun-filled activity days. Why not have your birthday party here too? 01342 810493 Blackland Farm KentWildlifeTrustED03.indd 1 19/05/2016 BlacklandFarmWT138.indd 15:20 1 10/07/2013 17:31 FULLY CATERED BIRTHDAY PARTIES Giant pool inflatable, flumes, bouncy castle, sport parties and many more CHARLTON ATHLETIC FOOTBALL CHALLENGE 5 - 12 YEARS FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY MONDAY - FRIDAY CRÈCHE Put your little ones in our creche whilst you gym, swim or do an exercise class ADULT AND BABY, PRE-SCHOOL, JUNIOR AND ADULT SWIMMING LESSONS plus swimming lesson crash courses during school holidays GIANT POOL INFLATABLE SESSIONS Every Saturday and Sunday during school holidays WHITE OAK LEISURE CENTRE 01322 662188 | SEVENOAKS LEISURE CENTRE 01732 470700 | EDENBRIDGE LEISURE CENTRE 01732 865665 | 38 SencioCommunityED03.indd 1 03/05/2016 17:18

Sponsored by Tunbridge Wells Out-of-school education… Credit:The Scout Association No school can teach children everything they need to know. David Long, the author and journalist, outlines the benefits of learning outside the classroom If the key to making the most of your child’s education is broadening his or her experience, and keeping as many options open as possible for as long as possible, then out-ofschool clubs and extra-curricular activities have a vital role to play. Timetabling pressures and the requirements of exam-based learning mean no school can teach everything a child needs to know. Regardless of the staff’s good intentions there are simply not enough hours in the day for everything to be squeezed into the classroom, and that’s where the growing range of after-school activities begins to pay dividends. The benefits are almost too many to list. Primarily, of course, it is important to find something your child enjoys. But that is only the start. Actively engaging with any such club should be pleasurable but it can also work wonders when it comes to boosting a child’s sense of responsibility and of self. At the same time it provides the perfect opportunity to extend his or her social network far beyond that offered by any individual school. Meeting and interacting with others of a similar age is invaluable, but so too is the chance to mingle with older and more mature participants and with people from different social backgrounds. The acquisition of new skills, clearly, is rarely a bad thing. This is as true for hobby-based clubs as it is for more traditional sports clubs, which generally offer a much wider range than most schools can – and often a much higher standard of play. Such clubs also give a child the time and space needed to become really good, which cannot be said of an hour or two each week of timetabled physical activity. Typically, schools have to pursue a policy of one-size-fits-all in PE, and a talented child’s progress can often be impeded by the need to move at the pace of the slowest or most reluctant. It is little wonder then, that brighter, more enthusiastic pupils and their parents increasingly look beyond the school to satisfy that natural, youthful desire to try something different. More parents than ever recognise that organised, structured out-of-school activities can be enormously important to their child’s development. Youngsters soon realise that the choice is better if they look outside school. The mere fact that this sort of thing takes place out of school removes the sense of obligation too, which can only be beneficial. Participants can also learn novel skills and improve them away from the bullying and teasing which even in wellrun schools can stifle a child’s faltering first steps into a new area of interest. Someone who hates team games such as football or rugby can nevertheless really shine when offered the chance to try something less mainstream – archery, perhaps, or roller hockey. That such clubs are generally run by volunteers brings with it another bonus. Teachers frequently have to battle with reluctant participants and all too often, regrettably but wholly understandably, their own passion can wilt when faced with a class in which many of those present feel press-ganged into doing something they would sooner not do. That school teachers are ‘professional’ while clubs are typically run by amateurs is no guarantee of quality. Someone giving up his or her own time to share knowledge and skills with a new generation is less likely to be resentful of this – if only because by definition he is free to step back and give it all up if it becomes 39