In recent years across the United States there has been much made of the need to educate our children with the basics, and only the basics! While this idea is bandied about, research and observation has helped steer the focus on education back to a larger picture that includes more. While the basics are the backbone of what we need to teach our children, research has shown that focusing only on the basics can be counterproductive. Whoa, this sounds off, doesn't it?
Research has shown that children do not learn well when they have no frame of reference to put information given them to use in life. We know they learn better when exposed to a wide variety of teaching styles and methods, which increases their engagement in the material being taught. Education has become much more than the standard classroom lecture and practices of older times.
One of the ways that children get energized to learn is by interacting with their peers and other people in settings and with topics that vary from the standard basics. At NMSD, our children can join a variety of clubs to supplement their basic education and ultimately, enhance their learning. We know that children engaged in varying activities do better in school. Sports is an excellent way to get children involved, but not all children are sports inclined, so clubs offer additional options.
At Belfair and Sand Hill, about one-third of our elementary students are involved in club activities (non-sports), such as choir, environmental gardening, K-Kids (community service by kids), Destination Imagination, Young Writers Workshop and Band.
At Hawkins Middle School, more that 150 of our 430 students participate in non-sports clubs, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); Music (guitar, piano and percussion); Yearbook; ASB (student government) and Builders Club (community service by kids).
At North Mason High School, more than 25% of students are involved with clubs including Leo Club, Interact Club and Key Club (all community service clubs sponsored by Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis); Drama, Knowledge Bowl, Future Farmers of America, Fashion, Sports Medicine and National Honor Society.
While our students join these clubs to explore their interests and to enhance their education, we know that these students, just as those involved in sports, will do better with learning the basics of education that we all want everyone to master and that is a win-win situation for us all.