The importance of extracurricular activities at school

girls at dance class after school.

Many schools offer extracurricular activities for students. While often overlooked, extracurricular activities are great for your child’s development and growth.

What are extracurricular activities?

Extracurricular activities are organised groups offered outside of the school curriculum.

Alphington Grammar School has an extensive co-curricular program which offers over 40 activities that complement our rich classroom curriculum. Some of our offerings include coding and robotics, debating, music ensembles, productions, and environmental groups. Students are encouraged to explore different activities to enrich their learning and to develop new skills to take with them throughout life.

Mrs Priya Wilson, Head of Music and Performing Arts, Co-Curricular Coordinator

Extracurricular activities may come in the form of music clubs, sports clubs, leadership teams, robotics and STEM clubs or more.

 We offer a comprehensive co-curricular program, spanning sport, music, visual and performing arts, drama, technology, languages and a Faith In Action program.

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

The importance of extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities at school provide students with a well-rounded experience.

At Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, we value giving our students a holistic education that includes up to date curriculum taught in an engaging format. What we also know is that variety through co-curricular can help develop positive mental, physical, social and emotional health.

Working in a team

Extracurricular activities allow children to experience working in a team.

Working in a team towards a common goal is a great opportunity for your child to bond and learn alongside other students.

Research shows that teamwork teaches students essential social skills. Your child will learn active listening through their teachers or coaches. They will also listen and practice effectively speaking to others in the group to function as a team.

Working with others during extracurricular activities allows your child to meet people outside of their classroom and build their social skills.

Participating in sports teams also has significant benefits for children.

Well-rounded individuals

Engaging in extracurricular activities at school allows students to become well-rounded individuals.

Your child will have the opportunity to explore their different interests and passions.

Meriden pursues excellence beyond the classroom, providing a holistic education through a broad range of cocurricular activities that celebrates and caters to the School’s wonderful student diversity. Students are encouraged to pursue their passions, hone their skills and deepen relationships across year groups through the extensive offerings including Sport, Performing Arts, STEM, Cadets and a myriad of clubs. Meriden’s Olympus and Amadeus Programs provide personalised support for students performing at the highest levels in sport and music.

Mr Richard Hughes, Dean of Student Involvement, Meriden

Extracurricular activities at school will help your child build self-confidence as they can focus on their strengths and interests.

Meriden cocurricular. extracurricular activities at school.
Meriden has an extensive range of cocurricular options for students, including STEM focused Fab Lab, Tech club and Science clubs.
Credit: Meriden

You may even discover a hidden talent your child has!

Extracurricular activities will provide your child with real-world experiences.

  • They will be exposed to a diverse range of people and relationships

  • They will have the opportunity to be involved with the community

  • They will be able to apply academic and sporting interests in a practical sense

Extracurricular activities at school will give your child a well-rounded, worldly experience which may benefit them when applying for university, jobs or college.

At Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Victoria, extracurricular activities at school allow children to pursue professional opportunities outside the school.

“Within the area of Music, we are very proud of the diverse range of musical styles that are explored and showcased by our talented students.

The College runs a number of ensembles at lunchtime and after school to provide some real-life performing experience. Students are encouraged to perform in our lunchtime concerts, afternoon soirees, our Winter and Summer concert series, annual talent quest and College Musical. Our VCE VET Music students make links with industry professionals and performance opportunity outside the College are pursued.

A high number of students book out practice rooms each day at lunch and recess, often creating self-directed bands. These interactions develop skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communication, and self-management which are highly sort after in so many careers.”

Extracurricular activities at school may help the family juggle commitments

Most extracurricular activities at school occur before or after school.

This may help parents with multiple children, or working parents juggling commitments.

In NSW, the government is even trialling extended school hours, opening up extracurricular options for parents who find the current 9:00 am to 3:00 pm layout difficult.


Participating in extracurricular activities has been linked to increased wellbeing.

A new study from UBC researchers revealed that adolescents who participated in extracurricular activities displayed higher levels of optimism and life satisfaction. They also demonstrated lower levels of anxiety and depression symptoms.

Decreased screen time

Screen time is playing an increasing role in children’s life. Social media can have a potentially negative affect on your child’s mental health.

Children who participate in extracurricular activities after school are reported to spend less time looking at the screen by 2 or more hours.

The Australian Government’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines suggest that electronic media use for entertainment should be limited to a maximum of 2 hours daily.

A break from studying

Taking breaks from classroom study or homework is important, particularly during exam periods.

Participating in extracurricular activities at school allows your child to have a break from academic work while still learning.

Engaging in stimulating activities is a fantastic way for your child to clear their head when they are not studying.

Higher student success rate

Participation in these activities actually links to positive academic outcomes.

The NSW Government provides the following outcomes:

  • Improved grades

  • Higher educational aspirations

  • Improved attendance rates

  • Social behaviours

Participating in extracurricular activity at school has also been found to reduce ‘delinquent and risky behaviour’.

Excelling outside the classroom

Extracurricular activities can be a confidence booster for students who do better in areas outside of the classroom.

“There are some skills that cannot be learnt from a textbook, and this is where co-curricular activities can really add value to a child’s education. Discovering new talents, taking risks, working as a team, building confidence, problem solving, making new friends and building relationships across the school are all examples of skills learnt through co-curricular activities.”

Laura Ruddick, Deputy Principal, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

extracurricular activities at school. music.child playing piano.

Students who are better at sports, music or performing arts have the opportunity to contribute to the school in a different way.

More leadership opportunity

A lot of the time, students who participate in extracurricular activities at school have some opportunity to exercise leadership.

Extracurricular activities and teams are often smaller and more specific than the normal classroom.

Students often fulfil roles with a leadership aspect or an increased responsibility in a project.

With bigger groups, it is a great opportunity for children to practice climbing into a leadership position.

Tip: Monitor your child so they are not too overwhelmed

It is important for your child to gain experience in extracurricular activities at school.

However, make sure your child is still having a balance between the classroom, extracurricular activities and family time.

If your child is taking on extra opportunities, check in to ensure they are not feeling overwhelmed.

How do students feel about extracurricular activities at school?

Upasana S, a Year 12 student at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College’s Sacred Heart Campus tells School Choice:

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College offers a variety of co-curricular activities within the three campuses that caters to individual interests and passions of students. We have specific clubs/groups designated to specific interests – if any of the students are passionate about the environment, we have a group of students from different years levels that have formed our Eco Committee, which is a team that works together to educate students about a range of topics to help protect and enrich our environment. For example, during Sustainability Week the team produced a schedule of daily activities that connected with others and allowed them to be actively involved. Additionally, we have also formed strong debating teams of student’s who represent the College in debating competitions with other schools in the area.

The College also offers a program called “Faith in Action” where students willingly participate to volunteer in the community where they assist and tutor students in primary schools.

These co-circular activities go beyond the classroom, allowing students to peruse their interests and passions. The students participating in these groups have said to me “the wide range of co-circular groups available in the College has enabled us to feel connected within our community and evokes a sense of belonging and inclusivity within our college life.”

Overall, co-curricular activities have only impacted our college in a positively manner, as these groups have a wide range of year levels involved it helps to remove the barriers between year levels and is a platform for students to develop many skills.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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