Care of self and doing 'with' not 'to'

Extracurricular Activities

Caspar after gymnastics

Do you ever worry that your child is doing too many or too few extracurricular activities?

Just to put it out there Caspar does Gymnastics on Saturday and Soccer on Sunday. He goes to school everyday of the week, this means he doesn't have a full rest day. 

Initially I thought these extra activities would be good for building relationships. However I've found the classes are so full he doesn't get a chance to connect with the other children or his coaches. What has happened is that he connects with his Dad who takes him. Unless his Dad is working these are Father and son activities. 

The Montessori approach is that these extracurricular activities are unnecessary, especially at this age. I remember Montessori had no emphasis on organised sport. Neither his gymnastics or soccer are competitive. They are great activities for fitness and coordination but these could easily be obtained through other means. 

Montessori for Everyone had an interesting interview When Children and Culture Collide: An Interview with P. Donohue Shortridge. I am really supportive of what Ms Donohue Shortridge had to say. She mentioned:

"Children age 3-6? Again, this age child should pretty much be moving from home to Montessori school and back home again."

You can read more from P. Donohue Shortridge here. I take from this she feels extracurricular activities are unnecessary too. 

What's my view? I feel extracurricular activities can provide a really positive experience for the child but we need to keep in mind what the real benefits are. Swimming lessons are a good example. Here in Australia swimming lessons are considered essential and may reduce drownings. Although something like soccer can be picked up at a later age. If the child genuinely enjoys it and their schedule isn't overloaded, why not. As for essential, is your child missing out if they are not attending any extracurricular activities - probably not!

Caspar after Soccer