There is no greater skill that a child can learn than self-reliance, and this starts at a very young age. The unfortunate fact is that children from low-income families start at a disadvantage. They cannot access resources that can help them develop self-reliance. Enrichment classes remedy this disadvantage by offering extra learning opportunities beyond the usual classroom time.
What Are Enrichment Classes?
In the simplest definition, enrichment is anything that goes beyond what is taught in regular classes or learning time. It can be learning how to play a guitar, drama classes, or learning to play football. Enrichment programs in Singapore teach and nurture skills and talents that are not taught in the regular education curriculum.
Most parents confuse enrichment classes for remedy classes, but there is a difference. Remedy classes are available to children who are lagging. The remedy addresses weaknesses in specific areas, for example, math. But enrichment classes are available to any student, whether weak or strong. Enrichment is to develop and nurture new skills and talents.
Enrichment classes are also available for students who show they need an extra challenge. Some students learn faster and show more aptitude than their peers. Enrichment classes offer a tailored learning experience to a child. They provide the required challenge and keep the student engaged in learning.
Who is Eligible for Enrichment Classes?
Enrichment classes are beneficial for any student, but some children stand to gain more. Some characteristics of such a child would be;
- Showing interest in a certain subject, sport, or hobby
- Having a higher aptitude than his/her peers. The child takes less time to understand concepts meant for that level.
- Achieving high grades consistently
- Having a hard time paying attention in regular classes
- Showing low enthusiasm for regular classes
- Showing a good understanding of the learning material but failing the exams
How Can Enrichment Classes Help Children from Low-income Families?
Children from low-income families often miss out on developing their talents because they cannot access learning resources. Brilliant kids who feel regular learning is not challenging enough in school lose interest in the class. They see their performance go down gradually.
Disadvantaged children are more at risk of becoming disillusioned when they feel that they cannot develop and enjoy their talent. This disillusionment comes with more negative developments that may go into adolescence.
Enrichment classes have long-lasting benefits for disadvantaged children. Enrichment classes benefit children in adolescence later on, especially during adolescence when a child is in a stage of self-discovery. What are some of these benefits?
#1 Identifying and nurturing skills and talent
Enrichment classes offer closer one-on-one contact with teachers. A teacher can identify certain likes, interests, and aptitudes in a child from this closer observation. Developing a talent or skill is the surest way of ensuring self-reliance later in life.
Exceptional skills and talent are the surest way of overcoming background disadvantages. In a country where meritocracy is favored, a talented child will go far. There will be scholarships and other opportunities to push such a child along if the skills and talent are identified in the younger years.
#2 Developing self-confidence and self-esteem
Disadvantaged children sometimes feel out of place when their peers seem to have better things or discuss more exciting experiences. Such a child is at the risk of losing self-confidence and developing low self-esteem. These two negative developments impact negatively on academics, developing relationships, and developing a personality in later life.
Enrichment classes address these risks by placing disadvantaged children on the same level as their peers from better backgrounds. If there is a drama class, for example, the child will be confident in discussing the same experiences when the others are talking about it.
Self-confidence and high self-esteem play a big role in adolescence when a child is claiming her/his place in the world. The child feels confident in his/her abilities and is not afraid to seek opportunities.
#3 Developing higher motivation
It is one thing discovering a talent, but nurturing this talent needs motivation. A disadvantaged child may sometimes feel a sense of futility in pursuing a skill or talent because there are no resources. Enrichment classes are essential in showing a child that everything is possible with dedication and the willingness to win.
Motivation is very important, for example, in sports where talent becomes more apparent from adolescence. A teen with inbuilt motivation is likely to pursue her/his interests even when there are monetary challenges.
The Singaporean education system offers plenty of opportunities for all children. However, children from disadvantaged backgrounds need an extra push and a leveling of the competition field. Enrolling a child in enrichment classes is an enormous boost to such a child in developing skills and talents. The benefits of having a child in enrichment classes are lifelong even at the precarious adolescent stage.