After School Programs Discipline and Art-based Activities – How important is discipline when it comes to after school programs? Sincemost of the activities are recreational, does a program have to adhere to strict rules? Discipline is just as important here as it is in activities that pertain to the school. The child is sent to a program because you want him to learn more. Discipline in one form or the other is necessary to facilitate learning.
Every program should begin by laying down the rules. The supervisor or teacher should explain each rule and can thus prevent future mishaps. Misbehavior should be addressed as and when it occurs. Deal with the problem in such a manner that it causes the least disruption. It is unwise to turn a blind eye to misbehavior because it catches on like fire, and soon you will have a bunch of unruly children on your hands. Besides, however much they resist it, children like to operate within the safety net of strict guidelines and rules.
When a child misbehaves, it is mostly due to a craving for attention. A supervisor should observe the children and find out what the child wants. Talk to the child so that you can understand what he or she wants. Appropriate disciplinary measures should be taken if there are no apparent reasons for bad behavior.
A recent report by several independent researchers concludes that participating in the arts nurtures the development of social, personal and cognitive skills. Programs based on Arts can improve academic achievement and decrease the tendency towards delinquency. It helps youth form positive attitudes about themselves and build self-esteem.
Arts programs involve communication, interpretation and understanding of complex symbols, much like mathematics and languages. Thus it fosters higher-order analytical skills and skills of evaluation and synthesis. Many of the programs make the child regularly use multiple skills thus making him dynamic and versatile.
Development of imagination, judgment and philosophy are fringe benefits of an arts-based activity. As opposed to the short 45-minute duration of the art classes at school, the extra time allowed in after school activities allows the child to get more involved. This results in more satisfactory opportunities for development of latent capabilities in the child. In turn, the child learns to set high standards of achievement. He understands what sustained focus is and learns that regular practice is the way to excellence.
In the shy or the withdrawn child, theatre, speech or drama lessons may be an outlet for pent up emotions. As drama entails getting into the ‘skin’ of another person, the child learns to verbalize emotions and express thoughts. These reasons account for the popularity of arts-based activities. [Sa]
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