The UOC determines that, provided certain requirements are met, extracurricular activities enhance socio-affective development and promote employability
After the launch of the new course, the next stage is to wait for the publication of the list of extracurricular activities. The solution is complicated. Despite the fact that their prices are prohibitive for many families, data from the Ministry of Education confirm that 90% of Spanish students between the ages of 6 and 16 do some extracurricular activity. Extending children’s schedules is sometimes the only way to accommodate school schedules with fathers’ and mothers’ work schedules. The menu of options is huge at the moment: there are more and more for younger ages too, and we’re talking about a more important decision than it seems.
90% of Spanish students between the ages of 6 and 16 do some extracurricular activity, according to data from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training
The Open University of Catalonia (UOC) has just published a study which states that as long as they meet certain requirements, extracurricular activities will influence the future employment of our sons and daughters. Not only for the academic benefit, which includes expanding knowledge and skills, promoting interests or correcting deficiencies, but also for the good social-emotional development of boys and girls.
“Everything that is worked on at an early age contributes to the building of the personality and the academic, social and professional profile”
Sylvie Pérez, professor at the UOC
“Although the future may seem very distant, everything that is worked on at an early age contributes to the building of the personality and the academic, social and professional profile,” he explains. Sylvie Pérez, Educational Psychologist and Professor of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the UOC.
Boys and girls have two main spheres of socialization: family and school. The inclusion of a third party – adds the university professor – is a way to increase socialization, which favors good social-affective development, which is essential for the social and working future. “Making friendships outside of school and institute and having other adult role models is positive because it involves connecting with other people,” he stresses.
Another argument in favor of extracurricular activities is that they are a way for students to an activity that is not established in advance. “Kids always do what we adults tell them: go to school, eat, go outside, brush their teeth, learn math… There is not much flexibility in their daily lives and extracurricular activities are a way of offering them something outside the established routine & rdquor ;, emphasizes the university professor. As long as they are “well chosen” they help discover interests and opportunities and in addition promote self-confidence.
“Having a new environment to socialize is important to learn to identify and manage emotions & rdquo;, emphasizes Jordi Perales, UOC Master’s Lecturer in Learning Difficulties and Language Disorders.
“Having a new environment to socialize is important for learning to identify and manage emotions”
Jordi Perales, professor at the UOC
For extracurricular activities to be beneficial in the short and long term, they must meet a number of requirements. “An extracurricular activity cannot become something without criteria or rigor,” admits Perales.
The first requirement is that they be reconciled with the sons and daughters and never imposed. “This cannot be forced time & rdquor ;. In addition, fathers and mothers must demand commitment from their children. Perez explains this two trimesters – no less – this is enough time to find out whether the activity is profitable or not.
The attendance commitment does not mean that students have an excessive daily schedule with no empty seats. The advice of the authors of the UOC study is a maximum of three weekly afternoons and avoid piling different activities on the same afternoon. In childhood and youth, free time is essential, doing nothing and even being bored.
In many families, extracurricular activities are a way – sometimes the only way – that allows coordinate children’s schedules with adults’. What are known as park children. In this case, Perez advises to escape guilt and be honest with ourselves and our children, admitting the truth. “In those cases, we’ll tell them we have no other way to arrange schedules. And, of course, we will be less demanding with the commitment & rdquor ;, he concludes, insisting on asking families not to feel guilty.
Although some extracurricular activities are subsidized by parent associations, they are still overwhelming for many families, especially the most vulnerable. For avoid the risk of elitism and segregation, The UOC professor is asking municipal councils to realize the value they have in expanding the supply of public spaces free to students.