Extracurricular activities — every child seems to be in at least one, and you may be wondering if your kid is missing out if he or she is not enrolled in one yet.
Are they actually a good idea, and what kind of enrichment courses are popular today? Here is our rundown.
Benefits of extracurricular activities
Activities outside of the classroom encourages holistic development. They are stress relievers, and help the student learn how to manage their time, build their confidence, and meet people outside of school.
Classes could also be a gateway for a child to discover their passions and interests, which they could pursue aside from their academics.
What are you paying for?
Here are some factors to consider when picking a class with your child:
Having easy access to the class is a good idea as they are often held at least once a week. Luckily, most places in Singapore are close to a music school, a community centre, or sports stadium, although you may have to travel further for niche courses.
Fees vary by location — classes in central areas will likely charge higher prices; prestigious or brand-name centres will also charge more.
Level of Study
Some classes are segmented by age and levels. More advanced classes are often more expensive as there are fewer instructors that can teach at the higher levels and require more advanced expertise.
Length of course
How long would your child be in class? If you are not sure if they will enjoy the activity, we recommend signing them up for a shorter holiday course to see if they like it before committing to a full term. Term courses usually offer more value for your money.
Centres offer different tiers of pricing based on class sizes. In general, the larger the class size, the less costly a class is, but it might be worthwhile to consider if the instructor can manage a large group of students. If your child needs more help or is taking more advanced classes, individual lessons may be a good idea.
Online or offline
Many enrichment options have online alternatives offered locally and internationally.
For example, if you want your child to get a headstart in coding, instead of being limited to a school in Singapore, you could enrol them in an online course. However, remote learning is probably more suitable for older children, as younger kids may not have the attention span needed to sit at a computer and learn on their own.
Besides lesson fees, schools usually make you pay administrative and equipment fees too. Also take note how much you will be spending on transport.
Private or public
Government-link agencies such as the People’s Association typically offer courses at a cheaper rate compared to private centres. Some are even free.
With these factors in mind, do not forget to talk to your kid about what they would like before signing them up.
Learning anything requires patience and discipline, so if your child does not enjoy it, they will give up quickly. Is the activity truly something they want to commit to?
Academic enrichment options
We understand that education in Singapore is extremely competitive today, and you may want to make sure your child is ahead of their peers. Here are some types of classes that could help your child.
Learning abacus helps to improve numeracy. Some centres charge extra for books that cost between $5 and $12. Most centres will also collect a deposit and starting material fee of around $20 to $30.
People’s Association has abacus lessons at relatively affordable prices of between $100 and $150 for 10 sessions.
At private centres, expect to pay roughly $200 to $300 per term. To see if your child suits the class, you can sign up for trial lessons like this $40 one offered by CMA.
Chess develops logical and strategic thinking in children. A chess set and starting chess books will cost about $50.
Game entry fees cost between $20 and $60, depending on the event and chess ranking.
The Singapore Chess Federation offers group classes from $200 to $250 for eight lessons, depending on the chess level.
You can opt for individual lessons, but that would cost you $50 to $90 per lesson.
Creative writing helps develop your child’s language and comprehension skills. It is also cheap if you do not plan to give them a laptop as you just need some paper and pens.
English creative writing classes offered by People’s Association cost between $90 and $250 every month, with a one-time material fee of $30. Chinese creative classes are cheaper, at around $60 per month.
Fees for online writing classes offered by popular online learning sites vary from free to hundreds of dollars.
Like creative writing, reading programmes develop literary skills in your child. But books can be expensive as they cost around $30 for one, although you could borrow some of them from the library.
Most programmes cover the cost of materials.
A two-hour trial session with Mindchamps costs $83. Reading programmes from popular private centres such as Mindchamps and British Council cost about $350 per term.
You could also put your kid in school or preschool reading programmes, or just bring your child to the library as often as you can.
Although you need a laptop or personal computer to code, most softwares used to write and run code are free.
LCCL Coding Academy has a wide range of programmes and fees vary from $200 to $790. Coding Lab offers lessons from $395 to $845 for a 10 to 20-hour session, depending on the age and number of hours. They also have shorter two-hour sessions for $65.
You can also engage a private tutor through Carousell or other private tutoring platforms. Fees usually range from between $30 and $60.
Going online is another option. Online courses vary in terms of price, amount of content, and learning quality. You can use Udemy, a popular learning site that even adults use to pick up coding. Codeakid has modules that guide you through coding using games like Minecraft and Roblox, for a subscription fee starting at $25 per month.
Robotics courses are offered in some schools, which should be free, although you may have to buy parts and tools as needed.
Courses offered by TheBraineryCode range from $430 to $480 for eight sessions, and they offer a free trial. Nullspace is another centre that offers extensive robotics and coding courses that costs $960 for eight sessions.
Debate and Public Speaking
Debate is often offered in school as an extracurricular activity.
Public speaking is a good choice for both introverted children, and kids that are keen on theatre and performance.
Speech Academy Asia offers English and Chinese public speaking classes at $834 for 12 sessions. If you prefer shorter classes, they also offer a two-day holiday course at $550. MindChamp’s Champion Communication programme runs between $45 and $105 per session.
Lesson fees can vary based on the activity, location, type, and duration of the programme. Take advantage of any free trials, or time-limited discounts. When your child is ready to commit to a particular class and centre, you should sign up for package deals that offer better rates for every session.
We have covered the options and fee ranges for academic enrichment classes in this article.
For sports, and art and music extracurricular activities, look out for our next article!