The Importance of Academic Enrichment Classes
While math, science, English, and other traditional school classes are important areas of study for children, it’s been proven that academic enrichment (extracurricular) classes also serve a purpose for young students. Research shows that music, art, foreign language, and physical education classes offer many benefits, including increased concentration and recall skills, enhanced communication skills, and better cooperation (team player) skills. Funding for these classes have been cut in approximately 80% of U.S. school districts in the past decade.
At St. Joseph School in Downers Grove, academic enrichment classes are an important part of the curriculum for all students in preschool through eighth grade. Along with their core subjects, students participate in Music, Art, Spanish, Computers, and Physical Education every week.
SJS Spanish teacher Christy McGovern is a huge supporter of academic enrichment classes.
“Spanish is a priority at SJS because of the multifaceted benefits that World Language Learning brings to the students’ academic experiences,” said McGovern, who teaches in a language immersion environment at SJS. “Benefits include academic achievement, career success, and strong reinforcement of core subjects.”
Studies demonstrate that music education dramatically increases early brain development and improves overall academic performance. The music program at SJS provides the fundamentals of music with hands-on activities that include singing, playing instruments and moving to and creating music. The school hosts two concerts per year and students can take band and piano lessons through Band for Today.
The art program provides an encouraging, creative, and fun environment with a broad range of activities which are further enriched with Art History and examples of accomplished artists. Students have the opportunity to participate in an after-school Art Club.
“The benefits of a Physical Education program are numerous,” said John Baldwin, SJS Athletic Director. “A physically fit student is more likely to do well in academic classes than a student who doesn’t. During PE class, students learn how to respect classmates, teachers, and equipment through structured activities and games. Another bonus is that students learn how to stay physically fit and practice healthy habits for all stages of life.”
This article was originally published in May 2018