Education & Training

How to Help Your Child Pick the Right Co-Curricular Activities

Singapore is well-known for having one of the best systems of education in the world, with the country consistently earning top spots in international surveys and rankings. More than just raising smart students, however, education in the city-state is designed to nurture holistic growth. In fact, Singapore-based students have also rank highly when it comes to surveys that are designed to measure problem-solving skills through teamwork. In part, this achievement can be traced back to the inclusion of co-curricular activities (CCA) in the country’s educational framework.

What Are Co-Curricular Activities?

CCAs are activities and spaces where students can develop their character and social-emotional competencies. The Ministry of Education (MOE), which strongly encourages primary and secondary students to take part in CCAs, hopes that the values that the students will pick up from these programs will aid them in overcoming future challenges and in taking on their roles in their respective communities. Students have a wide selection of CCAs to choose from, no matter if they’re studying in a local secondary school, an international elementary school in Singapore, or another type of academic institution. In general, they have the option of choosing CCAs from these 4 categories:

  • Club and societies such as student councils, science clubs, and environment clubs
  • Physical sports such as swimming, sailing, badminton, and softball
  • Uniformed groups such as the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and the Boys & Girls’ Brigade
  • Visual and performing arts such as dance clubs, drama clubs, and string ensembles

A World of Options: Helping Your Child Choose Their CCAs

Your child can choose different CCAs as they go through the different stages of their education. For example, they can try sports in their elementary years, shift to learning a musical instrument in middle school, and join the school’s debate team in high school. To help your child find the CCA that will give them the best opportunity to explore their interests and to improve their skills and talents, take the following aspects into consideration:

Your Child’s Interests and Preferences

First, it’s important to sit down with your child and have an honest conversation about their interests and dreams, as well as their strengths and competencies that they’d like to explore further. Perhaps your child has a lot of energy and they like to engage in physical activities, they’re quite artistic and they want to find better ways to express themselves, or they have a great interest in learning how the physical world works. Ask your child if there’s an activity that they want to try out or skills that they want to develop further. Alternatively, your child may also want to focus on an activity that will allow them to unwind in between their more demanding subjects.

Your Child’s Level of Commitment

How many hours can your child commit to their CCA in a week? There are types of CCAs that can be a bit more demanding than others, such as student councils, and these may require your child to attend CCA activities and events for long periods. Given the CCA’s requirements, will your child still have enough time and energy to take care of their other priorities, like family, friends, and schoolwork? If not, then it’s a good idea to consider less demanding alternatives that will enable your child to explore their other interests and to balance their current commitments.

The Skills and Values Your Child Wants to Learn

What does your child want to be in the future, and are there CCAs that can help them develop the skills they need to pursue this dream? If your child is interested in taking an active part in community building, for example, perhaps they can join a CCA that’s focused on developing their leadership abilities. If your child aspires to join the culinary industry, they can perhaps take part in a pastry or baking club to pick up practical skills and to see if they can develop further interest in this activity. Who knows, your child’s choice of CCA might just help them get a clear view of the path that they want to pursue later in life.

The Options Available to Your Child

If none of the options presented by the school interests your child, remember that students can start their own CCA and have it approved by their school. This option enables them to find avenues to explore their interests if they find themselves limited by what’s readily available to them. However, if your child is not prepared to go through the process of starting their own CCA, they can check out the non-school-based CCAs hosted by organizations like SportSG and the National Arts Council. The Ministry of Education has partnered with these groups to provide students with more CCA options if they don’t have athletic or performance art clubs in their schools.

During their CCA journey, your child can pick up new skills, make lasting friendships, or even gain a good preview of the career they want to pursue in the future. Talk to your child about their choice of CCA today, and get a better view of what their goals are and how you can offer them the support they need to take them a step closer to achieving their dreams.

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