Step out of your comfort zone:
Enrichment opportunities that provide valuable experiences for students beyond the classroom
Is your child looking for an opportunity to gain experience outside of school? Or, are they extra motivated to learn something new? Not only is participating in an enrichment program an exciting way to spend your time, but students can benefit in a variety of ways. The particular benefits can include academic, social and personal gains which can help explore potential fields of study, develop long lasting friendships with others who share similar interests, and enhance interpersonal skills while also gaining new perspectives and increased confidence.
Below are five types of enrichment programs to further research:
- Creative: When students explore their creativity, it can give them enrichment through the arts, music and cooking. These skills will help with life skills that they can use into adulthood such as thinking outside the box, learning to relax through music and knowing how to prepare a meal. Creative enrichment provides a bridge that can lead to a bright future in a child’s life because it helps them to think with the right side of the brain.
- Service: If your student enjoys helping others, finding a program that can introduce them to volunteer and community service activities can provide a path to service-driven opportunities. Whether it’s mentoring, leadership in the community, tutoring, or cultural experience, assisting others for enrichment will broaden their outlook on life and enhance their understanding of themselves.
- Gifted/Honor: If your child is in the gifted or/and honors program at school, they can be enriched by taking advance courses, providing assistance to teachers as well as other students, and being challenged by additional homework. Children may be given the opportunity to invent and implement new ideas into the classroom. If they plan to attend college after high school, it can help prepare them for higher level of learning, problem solve and demonstrate leadership.
- STEM: Along with high school curriculum, some students may desire to study advanced topics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. With the highest expectation of growth in the near future, these are crucial fields for driving innovation and competitive skills. High School workshops, colleges, and specialty camps can provide hands on activities in a variety of STEM areas, including: mathematics, computer science, biology, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and physics.
- Career-Specific: As students receive enrichment, it can help them explore various careers through camps, workshops and seminars. It might give them the opportunities to explore their strengths, likes/dislikes and even weaknesses. If they are able to take electives in school, it can open their eyes to various careers such as welding, auto repair, interior design, family and consumer science and accounting.
The purpose of an enrichment activity is to enhance the educational study in the classroom. Enrichment should be cross-curricular and provide students with new concepts and experiences which are beneficial and meaningful. These new skills can provide students with a heightened sense of achievement and increased self-esteem with current academic pursuits and long-term secondary school planning. To help find enrichment opportunities in that may be available in your area, please contact your child’s School Counselor.
Whitney Patterson, NCC, M.ED. of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been a professional high school counselor since September 2009 for Agora Cyber Charter School. She has been instrumental in developing and implementing innovative virtual communication tools to effectively communicate and build rapport with students across the state of PA. She holds a Master of Education in Counselor Education and a Bachelor of Science in Communications Media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has appeared on KDKA Pittsburgh Today Live for her segment on “Expert Tips on Getting the Most out of a College Visit” and she has also received national recognition from the American School Counseling Association in July of 2015 for the commitment, contribution, and dedication to the profession of school counseling. The title of her breakout session was called ‘The School Counselor in the Cyber World, and the main goal of the session was to educate the professionals on how a school counselor educates and connects with students within the cyber world.