Excerpt from “A Parent’s Playbook”

Enrichment Activities

“It’s what we’re excited about that educates us.”

~Lives on the Boundary.
Rose, M. (1995)

A mother raven flew over a swan swimming in a lake, and thought him unspeakably beautiful. Believing that his fine white color came from washing in the water in which he swam, the raven left her nest and took her chicks to live near the lake. But no matter how often she washed her baby birds’ feathers in the water, their black color never changed. Instead the birds all nearly starved because the food they ate did not exist near the lake. Once the mother raven realized the error of her ways, the family of birds returned to their native home and flourished because they were able to nourish themselves as nature intended.
When we as parents attempt to transform our child into a different kind of child, we deny their spirits nourishment.
While we may have to live with one-size-fits-all during the school day, we have an opportunity to feed their spirits with extracurricular activities, and celebrate who they were born to be.
As parents, we want to give our kids the chance to discover inner strengths that can turn into adult careers that they are truly excited about—not just logging 40 hours a week to pay the bills. One of the best ways for parents to accomplish this goal is via enrichment activities. Unfortunately, today’s parents are all too familiar with scenarios where a child begs to enroll in a certain extracurricular activity, only to decide two weeks into the session that he can’t stand it. So, the parents are left to either (a) write off the money spent on the series of classes or (b) drag the child kicking and screaming to the remaining lessons week after week as his initial interest in the subject dwindles.

This chapter will reveal how to avoid these scenarios and instead stimulate your child’s appetite for learning.

Regardless, however, of your child’s personality type, here are some key questions to ask to ensure that the program, teacher and curriculum are a good match for your standards as a parent.
• What is the teacher-to-student ratio in your available classes?
• What is your philosophy with regard to discipline?
• What is your drop-in policy?
• How will you communicate with me with regard to program happenings
(e.g., games, recitals, holidays, etc.)
• How long have you taught at this particular location?
• What is the turnover rate of the rest of the staff?
• Is the program licensed by an applicable state agency?
• Check that the lessons will be taught in a safe and healthy space.
(Are the materials clean? Are first-aid kits available? Do any outdoor play
spaces have fences or natural boundaries?)
• Check the Megan’s Law database for the name/address of the potential
• Don’t forget to ask for a few recent parent references.

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