When I first launched Joys In Teaching Tutoring Service four years ago, my primary focus was on one on one tutoring. As the sole employee and proprietor of the business, I worked countless hours researching best practices and methods of teaching material to my tutoring clients. I had a “save ’em all” mentality but I knew in order to do that, I needed to get to know my clients on a more personal level. In doing so, I created a new family of sorts. I knew what my students favorite books were, what triggered them, what made them happy, what made them sad, and what they really wanted to learn.
What I learned from those early experiences is that after a full day of school and homework, all kids really want to do is play, explore and be creative. What that meant for Joys In Teaching, and more importantly for me, was changes needed to be made to the way they learned. I began to incorporate a variety of activities that brought in their talents, creativity and interests and fused that with their academic challenges. The idea for Book Clubs (now named Literacy Club) and Reading Readiness (formerly Kindergarten Readiness) were born from these interactions with students who wanted to learn, who needed the extra push, but just didn’t want to hear it the same way they were hearing it in school.
I share this story with you because I feel that it is important to open up the conversation about the importance of enrichment programs in school, both merged with the curriculum during the regular school day, and in the after-school setting. A successful program is one that fuses engagement through enriching activities that generates a desire to learn while building on what students are learning in their school settings during the day. What that means is we extend student learning outside the core content areas, while honing in on their interests.
There is much research on the correlation between academic success and involvement in enrichment programs. For example, students who play Chess have been known to benefit from increased creativity, memory and concentration in the school setting. In the same way, enrichment programs help develop a wide range of skills in a creative way. However, there are greater implications for enrichment programs than just academic success. Attendance in these programs keeps are children socially engaged and most importantly safe.
The reality for many of our Jersey City youth is that they often are in situations where they have to care for themselves, or find ways to pass the time. Access to enrichment programs helps these students build mastery, gain self confidence, but also ensures consistency when there otherwise may not have it. Enrichment programs also help struggling students experience success in the way they learn best. I am not the best mathematician, but give me a new concept in a creative way and I can grasp it faster and better than I can with a textbook and pencil. In the same light, we can speak of and “teach” social skills all day, but give students an outlet to experience what it is like to work in a cooperative, engaging group and watch them blossom!
Enrichment Programs Should:
- Be Engaging
- Supplement curriculum learning (Such as our Literacy Club )
- Develop Problem Solving Skills
- Develop confidence, hard work, and perseverance, while helping students achieve and establish goals
- Teach important social skills, encouraging collaborative efforts and conflict resolution skills
- Actively includes the families in their child’s learning progress
See what programs Joys In Teaching has to offer or learn more about how we can help develop an individualized program for your school by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org