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Bahrain: How important are extracurricular activities at school for your child?

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Whether it be in arts, sports, or academics, developing extracurricular skills is an integral part of an ASB student’s typical day at school. We recently spoke with Athletic & Activities Director, Michael Balo, on the important role extracurricular activities (ECAs) play in a child’s education, how it enables them to become well-balanced individuals, and the diverse range of activities offered at the school.

You mentioned that you firmly believe that ECAs are the second half of education. Why and how so?

A comprehensive ECA programme is the second half of education because it focuses on developing skills and giving students additional learning opportunities that might not be offered in a regular curriculum. Hence, it is an extension of the classroom. By being an active participant in an activities programme, students will learn important life skills that they will use in their adult lives. These skills include, but are not limited to, communication, perseverance, risk taking, sportsmanship, how to win and lose, overcoming challenges, time management, stress relief, and many others.  

At ASB, all ECA’s are tied directly to our school pillars. By participating in ECA’s, students are happy, exposed to international mindedness, lead balanced lifestyles, are part of our ASB community, and develop leadership skills. This is what we do in the classroom each day, so we extend that to our activities programme.

What are the key components of a successful ECA programme and how are these implemented into ASB’s curriculum?

The key components of any ECA programme are a variety of offerings which are in line with the schools’ mission and vision. We strive to offer a balance of activities which meet the needs of all students. Each student is unique, has different interests and learns in their own way, and our programme aims to meet those needs.  

What ECA offerings are available at ASB currently? Are these open to all students?

We offer activities to all ASB students from Kindergarten to Grade 11. Participation is optional; however, it is strongly encouraged by the school. All of our activities fall in four categories: Leadership, Creativity, Academics, and Wellbeing. Most of our activities are free of charge for ASB students, but we do have outside providers come into the school and offer activities at a cost. This is only done when we are not able to offer them internally.  

Finally, you have been an international educator for over 28 years. What is your personal motto for success?

My passion is offering a comprehensive activities programme to every student at ASB. It is very important to me to give students choices, challenge, and push them to excel in whatever they choose to do. My aim is to offer a wide variety of activities which meet the needs of every student. Each student is different, learns differently and has different interests. A strong ECA programme meets those needs and that is my aim!

For more information about ASB, call 1721 1800 or visit https://www.asb.bh/.

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