At Lakefield College School, we immerse our students in a range of programming, including arts, culture, and athletic co-curricular activities. The benefits of athletic participation are widely known (improved physical health, mental health, social connection, etc.) and support Lakefield’s value of development of the whole person. Lesser known, however, are the benefits of cocurricular programming offered through our year-long clubs.
We are often pleased to hear a student has discovered a hobby or passion by joining a club—usually, accompanied by the development of new skills and talents. For example, our Culinary Arts club students learn how to cook a variety of cuisines and develop an understanding of the basics of food preparation. These skills will serve them well as they approach young adulthood. Students in Debating Club practice their public speaking, verbal communication, and persuasive speaking skills, which help them in a range of academic courses and in their future careers.
When students have the opportunity to challenge themselves outside of the classroom to develop new skills and interests, it leads to a better overall high school experience in which they feel more satisfied and fulfilled. (Borraccino, Lazzeri, Kakaa, Bad’ura, Bottigliengo, Dalmasso, & Lemma, 2020).
Research tells us that “Both breadth and intensity of extracurricular activity involvement in Grade 10 were linked with educational attainment eight years after high school” (Haghighat & Knfisend, 2019). Each of our clubs challenges students to use a different part of their brain. Our Chess Club, for example, practices strategic and critical thinking as they plan their ‘moves’ several steps ahead to achieve success. These skills (among others) translate well into classroom learning, where taking different perspectives and analyzing problems from different viewpoints is advantageous.
Not to mention, the many social and emotional benefits of connecting in new peer groups and across grade levels based on shared interests and skills. At a time when students are relearning how to navigate social networks (following the pandemic), the need for a structure that allows them to find a place of belonging is higher than ever. Clubs often provide the perfect atmosphere for these friendships to develop (Oberle, Ji, Schonert-Reichel, & Gadermann, 2019).
Simply put, activities enjoyed beyond the classroom exponentially enrich the high school experience. We look forward to seeing our students push themselves to the next level and enhance their Lakefield experience, one club at a time.