Building success, skills and confidence in our pupils
Authored by Jessica Thompson, Director of Programmes at Bridge International Academies.
It’s 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon at Mokola Academy in Alimosho, Lagos, Nigeria. Bridge pupils and teachers have been giving 110% all week, making huge strides in reading, maths and science. A peek through a classroom window provides a glimpse of a quiet room with children intently focused on classwork. Teachers circulate, checking pupils work, marking answers and giving in-the-moment feedback as they move around the classroom.
Energy is dwindling—but suddenly, two loud claps ring out. “Eyes on me!” echoes throughout the academy and suddenly there is a mass rustling of textbooks closing, pencils clattering on desks and pupils excitedly whispering. Today marks the first official Co-Curricular Clubs lesson in Term 1, and pupils and teachers alike are vibrating with enthusiasm.
The Primary 3 teacher loudly exclaims, “If you chose drama society for your Term 1 Club, line up now!”, referring to the choice each Bridge child had between two co-curricular clubs for Term 1. During the first week of school, the pupils had an opportunity to ‘try out’ two different clubs, then choose their club for Term 1. Primary 3 and 4 pupils choose between Debate Society and Poetry Club.
Bridge has a long and robust history of co-curricular activities. In Uganda, six-year-old Bridge pupil Kitty Joice Marie developed and strengthened chess talents that brought her all the way to international competitions. In Kenya, Bridge Academy, Majengo Mapya were crowned Taekwondo national champions. In addition to multiple academic and athletic champions, Bridge pupils participate in global co-curricular events such as the Hour of Code, where pupils are introduced to coding and information technology.
At Bridge, we understand and celebrate the importance of co-curricular activities. Globally, co-curricular activities are well-researched and proven to:
- Build and enrich school culture
- Improve pupil motivation
- Improve pupil academic performance
- Build interpersonal skills
- Improve pupil behaviour, and
- Provide pupils with skills for future success.
In our Lagos academies, each co-curricular activity is carefully chosen to improve and build a skill for success–whether this be determination, confidence, critical thinking, leadership, or self-expression. Every Friday afternoon in Bridge classrooms, teachers are skilfully guiding their pupils through a co-curricular activity that is significantly improving their future.
The Bridge co-curricular programme is designed to engage parents and encourage their involvement. Parents receive communications from their school explaining the programme, as well as an invitation to participate in one of their child’s co-curricular club lessons each semester.
Additionally, each co-curricular club showcases how they’ve grown at an end-of-term event for parents and community members (e.g. maths competition, environmental fair, drama production). And, in an effort to continuously improve our programme, we’re gathering and applying feedback—interviews with teachers, parents and even pupils ensure we are providing the most comprehensive and context-appropriate activities and clubs for our pupils.
This term, our Lagos academies hosted Drama Club, Spelling Bee, Poetry Club, Debate Society, Maths Club and Eco Green Club. Based on feedback, next term we’ll introduce exciting new clubs including Journalism Club and Chess Club! We look forward to seeing our pupils shine in regional, national and even international competitions. More importantly, continue to strengthen the skills that will lead them to great success in the future.