Extracurriculars Aren’t Just “Extra”
By Lisa Lyons, Educate the Children
In many schools around the world, extracurricular activities of any kind are rarely or never available – yet there is so much more to the educational experience than classroom learning alone. Activities such as clubs, sports competitions, and cultural events can foster children’s intellectual curiosity and growth, confidence, and social functioning in ways that the more structured and formal classroom environment may not be able to do.
With that in mind, Educate the Children organizes and supports a variety of extracurricular activities that enrich students’ educational experiences. ETC is currently working in 29 schools with a total enrollment of more than 4,000 students in grade levels pre-primary through 12. Thirteen of these schools have Child Clubs, launched by ETC in recent years and intended as a framework for a variety of extracurricular activities; other schools offer opportunities on a more individual or occasional basis.
Below are a few of our most popular and long-running extracurricular activities.
Art competition: In August 2019, 80 students from four schools participated in this fun activity, which – while called a “competition” – is really very low-key. Children from higher grade levels were given the theme “The Village of My Imagination,” while children from lower grade levels were not given a set theme. Participants always enjoy this special opportunity to flex their creative muscles.
(Left) An example of an Art Competition submission.
Agriculture in Schools: Members of the Child Club at Gujarpa Lower Secondary School, ages 10-14, took part in this ongoing activity through which they plan and cultivate the vegetable garden adjacent to their school. With advice and support from ETC’s agricultural specialists, they learned about growing seasonally appropriate crops, from the sowing/nursery seedling stage through transplanting and eventual harvesting. As always with our agricultural activities, the fertilization and pest control methods used were eco-friendly. During our program year 2018/2019, the participating kids harvested a very impressive 989 kg. (2,180 lb.) of produce, of which they and their fellow students consumed 509 kg. (1,122 lb.) and the remainder was sold by the landowner for a bit of profit, as recompense for allowing the use of his land. An added bonus of Agriculture in Schools is that the students can share their newfound knowledge with their families and neighbors, virtually all of whom are working in the agricultural sector in some capacity. (Left) Students putting aside the unwanted bricks and stones from the Demo land before ploughing.
Kalichowk Education Bulletin: This is an annual opportunity for students and teachers to contribute their original essays, poems, stories, or other written works. It’s an excellent opportunity for the students to practice their writing and reading skills – in Nepali or English! – and to feel proud and confident by seeing themselves published. ETC has 1,000 copies of the bulletin printed each spring and circulated to area schools, government agencies, other NGOs, Community Learning Centers (small local libraries started by ETC and thereafter managed locally), women’s cooperatives, etc. (Left) The Spring 2019 Kalichowk Education Bulletin.
All of these activities and many more throughout the school year promote an enhanced educational experience for schoolchildren in rural Nepal. The students participate enthusiastically, and the teachers and school administrators are delighted to be able to offer these enrichment opportunities. They have grown over the years into a key component of ETC’s educational programming, and we are committed to serving as many children as possible in this way, during each year to come.
Lisa Lyons is the U.S. Director of Educate the Children.
Educate the Children’s mission is to work with women and children in Nepal to improve health, welfare, and self-sufficiency by building skills that families can pass down to later generations. Through our children’s education, women’s empowerment, and sustainable agriculture programs, we provide training and resources to help thousands of marginalized and impoverished people make better lives for themselves. For more information about ETC’s work, please click here to visit our Photos and Publications page, or click here to visit our YouTube channel.