Preschool children are notorious for their inquisitive nature. They are busy and need constant stimulation to stay entertained and to learn. Parents understand this, and some try to fill their day with activities — but not all activities are equally beneficial to your child’s development.
Early childhood development educators have emphasized the importance of incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in a preschool curriculum. Extracurricular activities are no different, and should focus on these outcomes as well. Below, we discuss the importance of extracurricular activities for early childhood development, and the benefits of these activities.
The Importance of Preschool Extracurricular Activities
Learning cannot be limited to the classroom. For holistic learning that promotes emotional, social, and cognitive development, children must learn outside the classroom, too. Children learn best through play, and they learn best in fun environments with their peers. Outdoor after-school STEM activities for preschoolers provide an added opportunity for learning and engagement. Extracurricular activities are important for early development because they promote the development of essential skills and developmental milestones.
The Benefits Of Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are more than just a way to keep young children busy. Structured extracurricular activities can promote:
Children learn best not only through play, but through repetition and routine. The consistency of the routine can provide a sense of security that encourages emotional and cognitive development. Unstructured extracurricular activities can achieve the opposite as children can feel overwhelmed or bored when there are no clear objectives.
Adding scheduled, consistent extracurricular activities can help young children feel greater certainty as they learn to predict what happens next in their daily lives. This creates a sense of control, confidence, and security that can help prepare for formal schooling and beyond.
Extracurricular activities, like summer camps, can promote the development of essential social and communication skills. While participating in these activities, children are provided with an opportunity to interact with and learn from their peers.
Some activities require teamwork and encourage preschoolers to work together to achieve a specific goal. While working with their peers, they can learn essential social skills such as conflict resolution and sharing. Children can also build friendships that follow them into adulthood.
Passion & Personal Development
Participating in extracurricular activities can provide children with an opportunity to explore new skills and interests. This can help them find interests and activities that they are passionate about and can develop as they grow older.
Self-discovery is an important part of growing up. Creating opportunities for young children to express themselves and explore their interests can build their self-esteem and confidence.
Cognitive Skills & Physical Wellbeing
Balancing technology and learning is a challenge to parents and teachers. With increased screen time, children are facing cognitive and physical risks. Studies have shown that excessive screen time can delay language and cognitive skills.
When using electronic devices, children usually sit in a stationary position for an extended period of time. The decrease in physical activity places the child at risk of childhood obesity and the adoption of unhealthy habits.
Participating in extracurricular activities can teach children the importance of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Active children who spend time outdoors can develop balance, co-ordination, and sensorimotor skills. These contribute to physical well-being and the development of motor and cognitive skills needed for healthy development.
Preschool In Parkland, Florida
At Parkland’s Children Academy, our preschool curriculum prioritizes physical, mental, and emotional health. We encourage learning inside and outside the classroom, creating an environment that encourages early childhood development.
Contact us today at (954) 688-5877 to find out more how our learning center and experienced staff can help your child achieve their developmental goals.