The importance of After School activities in the United Arab Emirates, UAE
The population of UAE is growing, and so are doing the activities for kids
According to the Dubai Statistics Center, the current resident population of Dubai is 2,412,984, with a growth rate of 5.11% since 2011. As the population grows, so does the economy; and, UAE is now the second largest economy in the Arab world. One of UAE’s top priorities is education, and as a result of the rising population, enrollment in schools has increased substantially. After school programs and extracurricular activities are essential for many of the students.
A number of studies have been conducted as far back as 1930 (Millard, 1930, p.12), on the benefits of after school programs. Some of these studies have shown that extracurricular activities often result in positive effects on life skills and improved academic performance. Research by Marsh and Kleitman in 2002 showed that students participating in extracurricular activities were more likely to apply for and enroll in college. It has also been found that children enrolled in extracurricular activities frequently learn a sense of autonomy, higher self- esteem, and self-expression (Shelly 2011).
There is a number of after school activities in UAE for children of all ages. Allowing your child to participate in some of these programs will expose them to various experiences, and may even lead to developing talents that aren’t always recognizable at an early age. Many after-school programs provide help with homework as well as one- on- one tutoring in addition to extracurricular activities. After school programs in UAE include:
- Drama and performance
- Martial Arts
- Youth theatre
- Natural horsemanship
- Mini capoeira (a form of martial arts)
- Sculpture and clay modeling
These are just a few of the programs available. Some of these programs are seasonal, but there are various options for different seasons, so that you can provide rich, diverse experiences for your child.
Activities for kids in UAE. At what age can they start?
After school activities are not just for primary school-age children. Students at a high school level often need help preparing for college and determining what they will do after completing school. There is a program in Dubai for 15 to 18 year olds which uses assessments that are designed to develop awareness of career choices. The program focuses on things that will affect career development and direction. In Sharjah, a cooking program is offered for ages 5-12 that teaches children to express themselves and be creative through cooking. A drawing and painting class called “Little Picasso” is also offered for ages 5-9. Both of these programs are offered by the Sharjah Ladies Club, which is a government organization of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.
Involvement in an after-school program can benefit your child academically, socially, emotionally and physically. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center found that children who do not spend time in after-school activities are 49% more likely to have used drugs. In San Diego it was found that juvenile arrests during after school hours were down when students were engaged in extracurricular activities. Children involved in recreational activities can also reduce the risk of obesity. Healthy City Project in California summed it up best: creating “stronger individuals, families and communities. “