Let’s talk Enrichment

Let’s talk Enrichment

By Sarah Clavin, Miller Swim School

I might be dating myself here, but every year when the kids head back to school, I think of the song by Pink Floyd (quite possibly the only one I know) “We don’t need no education…” I know you know it too, so read it like you mean it, “We don’t need NO. ED-U-CATION.” Although the tune is quite catchy, I believe the opposite to be true. In fact, according to Ben Franklin, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. And I have to say, I agree. But for you bookworms out there (myself included), it is not just textbook knowledge that will fully and wholly develop you, but rather knowledge and experience in a plethora of genres; music, sports, dance, theater, languages, and the list goes on and on. So, let’s get straight to the point here, now that our kids and maybe even ourselves are back to school, let’s talk about a few types of activities that exist here in Jenks that we can include in our education enrichment process.

Music

I think Plato phrased it best when he said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Research shows us that listening to or playing music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.  Science also  shows us that playing and listening to music enhances reading and literacy skills, reasoning, and mathematical abilities. I don’t know if you’ve ever played piano (or any instrument for that matter) but keeping on beat to those 8 and 16 count notes, challenged my brain in ways classroom work could not. Here is a quick reference for just a few places Music lessons are offered here in Jenks:

1.         Anthem Road Academy – 113 E Main St

2.         Jenks Community Education Center – 205 E B St

Dance/Gymnastics

I heard it once said that “dance uplifts the soul,” and were I to have a little more rhythm and a little less social inhibition (introverts unite!) I might nod my head and say, yep, I agree with that one too. Although my soul is typically uplifted with a lot of coffee, a little ice cream and a good book, I have seen first-hand the benefits of learning to dance in my children.  I started both my girls in ballet class around age 3, and I watched as they played games and sang silly songs while inadvertently improving their gross motor skills (balance, skipping, jumping). Furthermore, I noticed an improvement in their counting (back to the beats of the music, memorization skills, and social skills. Similarly, gymnastics is a fantastic activity to help improve balance and coordination, flexibility, discipline, and strength development. Plus, gymnastics is an incredible gateway to activities like; pom, cheer, tumbling, and color guard. Here is a quick reference for just a few places that offer dance and gymnastics here in Jenks:

1.       SOCO gymnastics – 237 S Franklin Ave

2.       Jenks Dance Academy – 9416 S Elwood Ave

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Swimming

While many consider swimming a seasonal activity, the reality is there are physical and intellectual benefits from swimming year-round. Does the opportunity to swim outdoors decrease as the weather gets cooler, sure. But the water doesn’t just disappear with the cooler temps. Drowning knows no season, and it doesn’t discriminate its victims, based on personal experiences, I KNOW this to be true. So why opt to swim during the School Year? For starters, swimming is a uniquely bi-lateral sport, which means it works both sides of the brain simultaneously, which expands cerebral communication, resulting in heightened cognition and increased ease of learning. In 2009 a four-year Early Years Swimming Research Project in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States found that children under the age of five involved in swim lessons are more advanced in their cognitive and physical development than their non-swimming peers. And then in 2011, researchers in Melbourne, Australia determined that children who were taught to swim by 5 years of age had statistically higher IQs. BOOM. We haven’t even touched on the safety aspect of a continuous swim education by staying constantly prepared for any type of water situation, any time of year. Ironically, swimming also incorporates rhythm (just like music and dance) which can be found in rhythmic breathing, the alternating pull and push of the water, and the pace and tempo of the strokes.  Here is a quick reference for just a few places that offer swimming lessons for all ages here in Jenks:

1.         Miller Swim School – 525 W 91st St S

2.         Jenks Aquatic Center – 205 E B St.

The enrichment programs we choose for ourselves and our children are going to pay long term dividends and will supply the added value and quality of life we look for outside of the classroom and textbooks.

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