Already searching for post-exam workshops and holiday camps for your kids and teens? Or planning next year’s slate of enrichment activities, and wondering which classes will benefit your child most?
We know that for many parents, “enrichment” often means “tuition,” with a sole focus on improving academic performance. But consider this alternative: You could look to equip your child with sought-after skills and values, moulding them into proactive global citizens ready for our dynamic world.
Why is this reframing essential, and what enrichment avenues can we explore? Let’s dig deeper to find out.
Why a Global Perspective Matters
In a world that’s growing closer every day, having a global perspective isn’t just a lofty idea — it’s essential to understanding different people, adapting to change, and making thoughtful decisions in a connected world. It means preparing our children for real-world situations and teaching them the value of seeing beyond their own backyard.
Perhaps you’re wondering: How can I introduce my child to this global perspective? This is where the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come in, and you can think of them as a beginner’s guide to the world’s most pressing challenges and opportunities. Initiated by the United Nations in 2015, these 17 goals offer a clear roadmap for a better future, by addressing everything from basic needs like food and health to bigger concepts like peace, justice, and environmental care. Engaging with the SDGs can be a tangible way for your child to connect with global concerns, fostering empathy and broadening their horizons.
If you’re new to this, here’s a quick summary of the SDGs:
No Poverty: Eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Zero Hunger: Ensuring everyone has access to nutritious food.
Good Health & Well-being: Promoting a healthy life for all ages.
Quality Education: Ensuring inclusive and equitable education.
Gender Equality: Eliminating discrimination against women and girls.
Clean Water & Sanitation: Access to clean water and sanitation for all.
Affordable & Clean Energy: Increasing the use of renewable energy.
Decent Work & Economic Growth: Championing economic growth that ensures fair employment and work conditions where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure: Building resilient infrastructure and promoting sustainable industrialisation.
Reduced Inequality: Reducing inequality within and among countries.
Sustainable Cities & Communities: Making cities safe, resilient, and sustainable.
Climate Action: Tackling climate change and its impacts.
Life Below Water: Conserving oceans, seas, and marine resources.
Life on Land: Protecting land-based ecosystems and stopping biodiversity loss.
Peace & Justice: Promoting peace and inclusive societies.
Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthening global partnerships to advance specific development targets.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the SDGs, how do you weave this into your child’s learning experiences? Here’s what you can look for when selecting enrichment activities:
Relevance to Real-world Issues: Seek out programmes that connect learning to current global challenges.
Skill Development: Opt for experiences that foster skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.
Diverse Experiences: Activities that expose your child to different cultures, languages, or ways of thinking.
Hands-on Learning: Activities where kids can “do” rather than just “learn” will be particularly impactful.
Below, we’ll look at some concrete ways to redefine the enrichment experience for your child.
Expand Your Search Beyond Singapore
In today’s digitally connected world, geographical boundaries are less significant in the realm of learning and enrichment.
While local classes offer the advantage of physical interaction and cultural familiarity, casting your net beyond Singapore opens up a treasure trove of diverse experiences and worldviews for your child. From virtual workshops led by experts in other countries to online global classrooms where students collaborate on projects with peers from different continents, the possibilities are vast and varied.
By checking out global platforms, your child can discover fresh approaches to teaching and learning. For example, if your teen is curious about computing: Harvard’s beginner computer science course, CS50, is available for free to anyone with an internet connection. The lively and engaging lectures set a gold standard for teaching, and it’s a peek into world-class education, from the comfort of home.
Have a more generous budget set aside for your child? You could look at regional youth camp listings on ‘meaningful travel’ portals such as One World 365. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that some camps are held right here in Singapore too!
Focus on In-Demand Skills
Prefer a practical approach to enrichment? Start by researching the top skills that today’s employers seek. Often, you’ll find that it’s not just about specific technical abilities, but a combination of soft skills and adaptability that make an individual stand out.
With this in mind, here are some skills that you may want to prioritise for your child:
Analytical Thinking: In our information-rich world, deciphering complex scenarios and making informed decisions is invaluable. To hone thinking skills, your child can learn to play strategy games like chess, enter maths and science competitions, or join debating workshops.
Creative Thinking: Embracing unconventional solutions often leads to breakthroughs. For a more rigorous approach to cultivating creativity, consider enrolling your child in design and architecture workshops, exploring coding projects that emphasise creative problem solving, or participating in innovation-focused competitions and hackathons.
Resilience, Flexibility, and Agility: Life is full of unexpected turns, and the ability to adapt and bounce back is crucial. Martial arts or sports activities can help your child to develop these traits.
Motivation and Self-awareness: Self-awareness guides our life choices and helps us to maintain motivation. Mindfulness sessions, journaling workshops, and personal development seminars can be great avenues for self-exploration.
Tech Literacy: The ability to navigate the digital realm confidently is now a fundamental skill. Coding courses, robotics, or digital media projects can give your child a tech-savvy edge.
Dependability and Attention to Detail: Woodworking and sketching are examples of activities that can foster a keen sense of precision. Traditional craft hobbies like embroidery or model ship building can further enhance patience and meticulousness.
Leadership and Social Influence: To develop leadership skills, your child can participate in community service projects, and take classes to refine public speaking skills.