Extracurriculars at Laurel Springs School and Beyond
Living a well-rounded life is important. Extracurricular activities are a useful scholastic endeavor for a child, and a way to grow, learn, and flourish. The benefits are limitless, as different activities foster different bits of success, in socialization and friendships, in developing lifelong skills, and in garnering a track record for future educational endeavors.
Choosing the right activity for your student isn’t just throwing a dart at the board; between student government, volunteering, or even animal pet club, the options are plentiful and specific. The best way to get started is to look into all of your options and what your child would gain from each.
Finding the Right Activity
With so many ways to go about it, finding the perfect outlet for your child can be a little daunting. No matter what you choose, your student gains life experience to help them in their development now and into the future.
Different age groups are prone to different interests, and karate class might not cut it for a teenager interested in joining a sports team or even an internship. Collegiate goals and internships aside, a younger child might be better suited to developing hobbies of their own, like through an art class or the scouts.
Have a Conversation
Take the time to speak to your child about their interests and aspirations. Even at a young age, children engage with the world around them and learn from experiences. Making friends, developing skills, and building confidence are all clear benefits of extracurricular activities, and a simple conversation can reveal the activities they would be most interested in.
Consider programs and activities that exist outside of school as well as within it. Although student organizations and the latter can offer a lot, they aren't the only source to meet your child's extracurricular needs. Something as simple as a martial arts or gymnastics class can promote discipline and the development of a new skill. A summer camp can introduce your child to new friendships and social opportunities. Not everything has to be a math club. Sometimes, a student's interests are niche, and in those moments, there's often something available.
Not all outside activities have to be solely for fun. Some students benefit from extra math tutoring or even surrounding themself with a new community. For instance, if your child is LGBTQ+, finding an organization like the Gay-Straight Alliance, in which they can learn and grow into themselves will be a huge step in their development and self-esteem. If your child has autism, there are plenty of events and organizations to connect them with other autistic children. Sometimes, the extracurriculars we choose are for personal growth and self-maintenance more than a hobby or interest per se.
Volunteering through community service, at school, and through organizations is a wonderful way to expose your student to the world around them and have them connect with the world at large. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to teach them about ethics and how to directly make a positive impact. Community service builds character.
What to Look For in Extracurricular Activities
Not all programs are created the same, and some provide far better content within. Your student should thrive in this environment and gain something from it, not feel obligated to attend a daily or weekly event that feels empty.
When looking into activities for your child, take some time to find out what the club, group, or event has provided students in the past, and what kind of success your child can find there. Depending on your child’s needs, a social club might need only carry the environment for children to develop friendships over shared interests. Obviously, a younger child is not going to need the same things as a high school student, so once again, hold a conversation over what they'd like to see in their new activity.
For instance, say your child is interested in learning an instrument and playing with other musicians. The structured environment of a school band is going to cater to their interests far better than a club where students discuss music. Figuring out your student’s goals and finding a club that has the content to meet those requirements will lead to short and long-term success.
Even within a program that seems like a perfect fit, problems can arise. If your child is looking to socialize, they won’t benefit from being tossed into a group they find disagreeable. If your child is looking to learn a skill, they won’t thrive in a program lacking the proper structure. A virtual classroom setting might work for most of our students, but if your student feels lacking in outdoor activities, why not find a nature club?
Finding the right environment is finding an activity that surrounds your child with the people they need to grow and learn. That isn’t always easy, but the best gauge is your child’s reaction. Make sure they understand the importance of trying new things just as much as they recognize what works and doesn’t work for them. Communication is key.
The best way (outside of word of mouth) to do your research is to scan reviews of different camps, organizations, and clubs that your child might find interest in. It's also never a bad idea to speak to a counselor to find out what admissions officers might have to say when looking at a student's records. That way, these activities help your child's growth and success in the short and long term.
Extracurricular Activities at Laurel Springs
Student government is a fantastic option for a student who wants to excel academically and learn the meaning of responsibility. Along with student government, school newspaper, National Honors Society, yearbook club, and the wide variety of options you can find right here at Laurel Springs School, with bountiful extracurriculars available.
From dungeons and dragons to model united nations, we're ready to encourage students to collaborate on like-minded interests and learn the meaning of things like teamwork, responsibility, time management, and more. Our flexible schedule allows students to explore who they are inside and outside of the classroom, and you can hear it from our students themselves.
"Extra and co-curricular activities offer valuable entry points for student discovery and exploration that lead to increased self-awareness, sense of purpose, and moments of joy for students. Our range of offerings includes everything from special interest clubs to Model UN, spanning grades K-12,”
says Renee Mindek, dean of student engagement at Laurel Springs.
"Research shows that extracurricular activities foster connections that have a positive impact on students’ social and emotional well-being, while also increasing their curiosity and interest in academic pursuits. At Laurel Springs, students enjoy feelings of belonging and acceptance, form peer-to-peer relationships, and nurture their unique talents when they join our social community, experiences no student should have to live without."
Start Your Journey Today
Laurel Springs School supports the student's journey through education and life, promoting a fulfilling personal life that accompanies academia. That’s why we offer 30+ clubs, connecting students to passions like astronomy, creative writing, and even meditation! Although not a mandatory part of the curriculum, we highly recommend your student dives into the activities offered by Laurel Springs. Our clubs give students life experience on top of their education and can bolster their college application.
"Involvement in extracurricular activities at Laurel Springs provides students with a sense of belonging and connection to our community and is a great way to continue to explore individual passions, goals, and future career and college aspirations,” says Jillian Durante, college counselor at Laurel Springs School. By immersing themselves in our vast extracurricular opportunities, students can form meaningful relationships with their peers, through their exchange of ideas and experiences."
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