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ASA at JOY EL: To Develop Happier and More Balanced Students

May, 2018
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joy-el-asa-photos1Battery. Wire. Light bulb. All set and ready.

In the blink of an eye, the light was on.

The magic of the invisible current entirely thrilled David L., a 6th grader at JOY EL International Academy, “I just can’t believe that I am now able to make sense of a complicated circuit diagram and succeed in my practice.”

David was having fun while learning the theory of electric circuits at the STEAM after school activities (ASAs) class that has become very popular among JOY EL students. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics and is a frontier framework for teaching across the five disciplines.

“As a new school with a small cohort, our program offering is not extensive, but it is very well balanced. We look to offer students the opportunity to complete ASAs in areas that are of interest to them,” says Mark Caulfield, Director of Athletics and Head of PE at JOY EL.

Offered on Monday and Wednesday are activities of a rich variety. Students could choose to sweat by playing sports like volleyball, football and basketball, put to use their creativity and imagination by trying fashion design, jewelry design or architecture, or they can dive into the world of science by doing some general experiments or studying robotics, or even enjoy the charm of music by joining a band, a choir or playing Ukulele or African drums. Options also include activities aimed at exploratory play such as sensory play, yoga, plant discovery, etc.

joy-el-asa-photos10And those programs are already paying off, as Rena R., a 5th Grader who also attends the STEAM class, reflects that she not only learnt some knowledge about electric circuits, but that, “I became aware that I have to explore, discover and handle problems by myself, which can make me think more independently and use what I have learnt to solve problems.”

According to Caulfield, the ASAs at JOY EL are organized by seasons: Autumn, Winter and Spring, with each season lasting 10 weeks. “As we grow, we will look to extend sessions to four times a week to provide a wider range of activities,” he anticipates.

Any staff or outside provider looking to complete an ASA at JOY EL must give a detailed explanation of the activity they will be running along with a ten-week plan. And the content should be very student focused and allows them to experience new and exciting activities.

One unique plan that the school is moving forward is to introduce more recreational activities that students can use outside of regular school time. Activities such as roller skating, bike club and orienteering clubs allow students the opportunity to experience activities that promote healthy, active lifestyles outside of school.

joy-el-asa-photos8Having 12 years of experience as a PE Teacher and 10 years as Athletic Director in an international environment, Caulfield argues that the main purpose of ASAs is to allow students to experience fun and exciting activities that they are not able to experience in the confines of a school day. “Such activities allow students to explore their interests or areas they are curious about. The benefits are many and varied including: increased self-esteem, the development of friendships, new skills and having a great time, which is the main thing!”

In the meantime, he says, ASAs also allow students to develop new life skills and interests, which adds benefit to the community in many ways. They give students additional focus and interests outside of school that may be built upon in turn by parents and the community when the students are not in school, and these skills may be of wider benefit to the community as the children grow and move into the workforce.

“The main benefit however, is happier, more settled and balanced children who are excited to learn and develop new skills,” concludes Caulfield.

 

By Qin Chuan, LittleStar Magazine

 

 

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