Co-curricular or extracurricular activities (CCA or ECA for short) are offered at most international schools in Singapore, and there’s no doubt the choices are very impressive. We asked educators from some leading international schools to explain the benefits of participating, no matter how reluctant or nervous a child may be. It’s all about getting involved!
Enabling students to meet new friends and teachers outside their regular class and year group
“At Tanglin Trust School, we firmly believe young people are just as likely to learn outside the classroom as within it. Our CCA programme provides students with opportunities to pursue a range of interests by developing existing talents or learning something new. The development of the child as a whole is paramount. As such, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities on offer that stimulate and broaden their experience.
“One such CCA is the Masterchef Kitchen, which enables Junior students from different year groups and classes to work effectively in collaboration and to share their nutritious creations. Taught by teachers from across all three schools, students learn a number of skills including food hygiene, using equipment safely, following recipes and understanding measurements. At the end of each programme, the children love to invite their parents into school to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea or light supper.”
– Nicki Bowyer, Senior Teaching and Learning Assistant, Tanglin Trust School
Providing a chance for students to learn a valuable skill that may well become a lifelong hobby or the foundation of a career.
Whether a student wants to climb a wall, kick a ball or walk on the moon (virtually), there’s something for everyone at Nexus, with over 90 activities on offer. Sports enthusiasts can choose from a wide range of activities such as gymnastics, football, volleyball and even golf. Thrill-seekers can try off-road mountain biking, parkour and wall climbing. For budding dancers and musicians, there’s Bollywood dance, ballet and hip hop. Tech-savvy students can join the Virtual Reality Expedition, 3D Design, Video Game Design or the Race Car Engineers clubs. Alternatively, those looking for an artistic experience can participate in acrylic painting, ceramics, and jewellery design.
“At Nexus students have the opportunity to suggest and help shape the ECA programme. Activities are an essential part of developing new skills, confidence, and passion. Learners develop interpersonal skills such as communication and cooperation and build friendships in the process.”
– Stephanie Hughes, Extra-Curricular Programme Director, NEXUS International School
Broadening a student’s view of the world and showing them through learning and trying something different that life is full of endless possibilities
“Learning outside the classroom is an integral part of the ethos of the College and the benefits of any activities beyond the school gate are very important. Far more learning takes place and a deeper understanding occurs when children are doing and experiencing, rather than simply learning about something. We have a simple message for pupils and parents, “significant learning occurs when one pushes oneself out of a known ‘comfort zone’, while at the same time recognising that each person’s experience will be different.”
The co-curriculum is a critical part of a meaningful holistic education, and we expect all pupils to engage with a broad range of activities outside the classroom such as sport, music, drama, art and design, expeditions, and community service. These activities provide the very best practical opportunities for development of crucial talents such as leadership, teamwork and communication.
Our CCAs span from the academic, to University support, to sports and everything in between. Scuba diving, horse riding, tennis, hockey, eco-science, coding and Oxbridge Society are just a few examples from an extensive list.”
– Jon McNaught, Head of Outdoor Education
Helping students develop attributes and skills that are valuable during school years, the workforce and life in general
“At Singapore American School, the pursuit of passion is encouraged as students learn to identify and leverage a range of abilities that complement one another. With 150 extracurricular opportunities in high school alone, SAS students are able to explore unparalleled possibilities. Space technology, robotics, coding, debate, athletics and music enhance the development of character, collaboration, communication, content knowledge, creativity, critical thinking and cultural competence. These attributes are seamlessly interwoven across classroom and extracurricular activities and are real skills needed in college, careers and adult life.
“In 2017, high school students launched Singapore’s first experiment to the International Space Station. After a year’s worth of planning, collaboration and research, they were challenged to move beyond experiment design to launch, develop, market and coordinate the historic event. Extracurricular activities like this allow students to apply learning to new frontiers in ways that impact their lives and their futures.”
– Dr Darin Fahrney, SAS High School Principal
Giving students a break from academic pressures so they can get involved in something fun and active.
“Research bears out that fostering opportunities for pro-social engagement through activities outside the academic curriculum, students are more engaged and energised with their schooling, including the academics.
“At UWCSEA Activities are a central element of our education. Our programme supports students’ physical, intellectual, artistic, creative, emotional and social well-being by providing opportunities for leisure, relationships and mindful engagement with the world around them. However, there is nothing ‘extracurricular’ about this part of our learning programme. We consider regular exploration and participation in activities outside the academic programme to be a part of building a foundation for a healthy lifestyle, which in turn will lead to a lifetime of interest and active involvement in a range of individual passions.
“Encompassing a wide range of choice with music, arts, sports and cultural activities, the Activities element of our learning programme serves many ends. It allows students to develop and apply the skills and qualities of our learner profile that have practical application in real life situations, directly related to their areas of interest – be it chess or competitive swimming. It allows them access to appropriate competition and challenge and the related development in areas such as self-motivation, self-management and self-discipline. It supports the development of leadership, teamwork and community; and it offers recreation and leisure to support well-being.”
– Mike Staples, Director of Activities and Sports, UWCSEA Dover
Encouraging students and instilling in them the confidence to continually try out and learn new things
True growth requires stretching student boundaries and experiencing the unfamiliar. Stamford encourages all students to push beyond their limits through after school programmes which include over 420 weekly activities. An extensive Co-Curricular Activities Programme from Pre-K to Grade 12 offers two semesters of CCA opportunities for students to explore their talents and develop new skills. By trying out new things, they discover what they are good at and are motivated to succeed.
The program has a high participation rate and students gain confidence, develop new friendships, challenge their personal boundaries whilst feeling part of the Stamford community. CCAs and Secondary Clubs are mostly taught by Stamford faculty and staff as well as some outside vendors who are experts within their field. They have been carefully hand selected because they are not only qualified and skilled in these specialist areas, but are also keen to share their passion beyond the classroom.
– Craig Wislang, Assistant Athletic Director & Co-curricular Activities Manager
Read on to find out more about international schools in Singapore.