A child's education does not take place only in the classroom, during regular school hours. The home, the playground, and the school campus, in general, can all be invaluable settings for a child's personal and scholastic growth.
One way to enhance a student's school experience is through extracurricular activities such as clubs. At the elementary school level, some appropriate, enjoyable, and educationally beneficial themes might be:
- Creative Writing
- Books and Reading
- Chess and Other Board Games
- Outdoor Sports
- Collecting and Other Hobbies
- Music, Drama, and Chorus
- Arts and Crafts (knitting, drawing, etc.)
- Anything else that fits the interests of your school's population
Or, consider starting a club about the latest fad (for example, Pokemon a few years ago). Even though these extremely popular fads can also be annoying to adults, there's no denying that they do inspire boundless passion in the imaginations of a wide range of children. Perhaps, a Pokemon club could involve creative writing, original games, books, and songs about those colorful little creatures. Surely such a club would be bursting with enthusiastic young members!
Now, once you've decided on the topic, consider the technicalities of starting a new club on campus. Here are some things to consider once you've determined the type of club you'd like to start at your elementary school campus:
- Get permission from the school's administration to start the club on campus. Also, designate the time, place, and supervising adult(s) for the club. Look for commitment and set it in stone, if possible.
- Determine the age group that would be included as members of the club. Perhaps kindergarteners are too young? Would sixth graders be "too cool" for the concept? Narrow down your target population, and you'll simplify the process right off the bat.
- Take an informal survey of how many students might be interested. Maybe you could place a half-sheet of paper in the teachers' mailboxes, asking them to take a show of hands in their classroom.
- Depending on the results of the informal survey, you might want to consider placing a limit on the number of members to be initially accepted to the club. Consider the number of adults that will be able to attend the meetings to supervise and help out consistently. Your club will fail to meet its objectives if there are too many kids to handle effectively.
- Speaking of objectives, what are yours? Why will your club exist and what will it set out to accomplish? You have two choices here: either you, as the adult facilitator, can determine the goals all on your own or, at the club's first session, you can lead a discussion of club goals and use student input to list them.
- Design a permission slip to hand out to parents, as well as an application if you are having one. An after-school activity requires parent permission, so follow your school's rules to the letter on this topic.
- Make a concrete plan for the first day and subsequent sessions, as possible. It's not worth holding a club meeting if it is disorganized and, as the adult supervisor, it's your job to provide structure and direction.
The number one principle in starting and coordinating a club at the elementary school level is to have fun! Give your students a positive and worthwhile first experience with extracurricular involvement.
By creating a fun and functional school club, you will be setting your students on the path to a happy and fulfilled an academic career in middle school, high school, and beyond!