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How to Benefit from After-School Enrichment Classes


Issue121

Gone are the days when sending your child to school was sufficient preparation for her future, with perhaps a few music lessons and a sport thrown in. Education today is more than literacy – it prepares the child to face the world and be successful as an adult, both in the working world as well in a social environment. And education today is not constrained by school walls – it happens in the home and it happens in after-school classes as well.

The concept of holistic education that leads to the overall development of the child has found enough adherents that people now offer ‘enrichment classes’ to, literally, enrich the child by developing her life skills and helping her hone her intellect and talents. Such classes have become common in all the major metros across India and in many of the tier-2 cities as well.

These after-school classes enhance some kind of learning or knowledge in your child and are different from the hobby classes that you may send her to. So they do not encompass music, dance, sports or the arts. And they are very different from tuitions as well.

And they are very different from tuitions as well.
Delhi-based Arati Shriram, a mother of two girls who attend Kumon classes, points out the difference between after-school tuitions and enrichment classes: “If children cannot cope with the regular curriculum that is being taught in school, tuitions help them keep pace with it. An enrichment class, on the other hand, is not really in tandem with what the child is learning in school. It seeks to add something more to a child’s education.”
Enrichment classes are largely based on learning through experience and experimentation, and teach a student how to learn.
Some of the more common enrichment classes that children attend on a regular basis today include Abacus, Kumon, Vedic Maths, phonics, vocabulary, story-telling, handwriting and general knowledge… and some more classes have joined this list, which were once not necessarily seen as meriting a ‘class’ – essay writing, reading comprehension, robotics, science experimentation, diction and even one that simply takes kids on field trips! While these classes tend to be academic in nature, in that they are targeted at developing and honing the intellect, they are not exam-oriented like tuitions or an IIT-JEE prep course, for instance.
Some enrichment classes and what they offer

SIP Academy (5 years onwards, age appropriateness depends on 1programme chosen): offers four different enrichment programmes to develop thinking, learning, creative, language and communication skills. Their programmes include Abacus and Brain Gym that aims to improve the numerical and mathematical ability of the student, AMAL (Accelerated Mental Learning) that teaches students various concepts using multiple intelligences in order to develop a range of skills and competencies in them, MIKids, a phonics-based English language learning programme, and GlobalArt, a curriculumbased art programme.
VocaBOOM (4-14 years): is a programme that aims to enhance a child’s vocabulary through games and interactive activities.
 Kumon (3-16 years): an after-school selflearning programme that focuses on maths and reading in English. It offers each student an individualised lesson plan, which encourages them to gain competence in the above subjects, one concept at a time. Students progress to the  next concept only when they have mastered the previous one, and this progress is independent of what they are learning in school; i.e. the worksheets are not age- or grade-specific, but instead depend on the child’s ability.
Abacus (4-13 years): teaches children to use the abacus beads to learn and excel at the basic mathematical functions. The objective is to make children adept at arithmetic by simplifying calculations. Typically, children will begin by using the abacus beads to count and compute and later move on to advanced functions where they are able to resolve complex calculations with speed and accuracy, through mental visualisation of the abacus apparatus.
Vedic Mathematics (9 years onwards): a system of mathematics reconstructed from the ancient Vedas, it uses some basic word formulae or ‘sutras’ that can solve mathematical problems across arithmetic, algebra, geometry and calculus. It trains students to calculate at high-speed in a simplified manner, thus allowing them to optimise their mathematical performance and achieve computational efficiency.
BrainSTARS (7 years onwards): offers a variety of after-school programmes that range from working with multiple intelligences (mIND) to encouraging curiosity, questioning and a scientific temperament (STARS). For instance, one course offers children the opportunity to work on a number of scientific experiments in physics, chemistry and biology to allow them to understand concepts through hands-on learning.

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