Boost Child Development Through Academic Clubs at Weekends

Oct 1, 2021
Boost Child Development Through Academic Clubs at Weekends

There is only so much you as parents can do for your children out of school hours to help  with their academic success. Sometimes it’s just too much to try to balance family life and work, fitting extra teaching into your busy work schedule can seem almost impossible. 

This is where academic classes run on weekends and during school holidays become your saving grace. 

These are a great alternative to private tutoring, whereby your children can enhance their learning and develop social skills at the same time - all whilst keeping them out of trouble, and saving you money and time! 

Weekend and school holiday academic classes can be beneficial not only for your child, but for you too. Working families don’t always have a Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule, and Learning Cubs understand that. We provide somewhere safe and productive for your children to go when you can’t finish early, or need to pick up a weekend shift. With most of our centres open 7 days a week, we’re here to help you, and to help your child succeed academically. 

The impact of weekend clubs

Weekend clubs aren’t a new invention! 

Saturday Schools have existed for years and are common practice in many countries. Thousands of schools across the globe have students attend academic classes on a Saturday, typically within the hours of 9am - 1pm. 

Having said that, many schools in the UK don’t offer Saturday classes. There is a longstanding debate around Saturday School, with many of the opposing comments based upon the assumption that children won’t enjoy it (especially if the sessions are compulsory), they will be working too hard (after 5 days of school) and they won’t have time for social activities. 

As schools in the UK operate on a 5 day week with school hours from 8/9am-3/4pm, students’ total learning time in school is 27.5 hours per week. In comparison to schools in other countries such as Japan, South Korea and China, whose learning hours average 35 hours per week, UK students have a fair schedule!

chart showing the time spent in school of students across the world

The benefits of Saturday school and weekend academic sessions have been proven time and time again; in France and Russia, school children attend similar school hours to those in the UK (27.5 hours per week over 5 days) but have an additional half day of schooling on a Saturday. Interestingly, the satisfaction rates of children in France and Russia are amongst the highest, despite using some of their weekend for school.

Saturday school alternatives

As many schools in the UK don’t offer weekend schooling, learning centres and academic clubs like Learning Cubs have begun to offer Saturday and Sunday classes. 

Not only does this help children to succeed in school, but it also helps working families and disadvantaged students make the most out of after school provision. 

There are a whole host of reasons why weekend classes can be hugely beneficial for young children and their families. We’ve been exploring the ways in which both you and your child can benefit from them attending a weekend academic class...

Motivate children to be productive at the weekend

A 2016 study of 8 year olds found that children in the UK are among the laziest in the world! With the survey findings proving that young Brits are the least likely to help around the house or to do their homework. 

While there are many ways to prevent your children from being lazy - such as encouraging outdoor activities and involvement in extracurricular clubs - it can sometimes be too much to do on your own.

Participating in weekend classes enables children to further their studies or complete homework that otherwise would have to be completed at home without tutors to offer help and with little motivation to do so. 

This is where organisations such as ourselves can help, by offering academic classes on weekends and during school holidays, our team of tutors are available to motivate your children to study in a positive and interactive environment.

group of school children gathered around the teacher looking into a microscope in a science class

If your child already attends academic classes on weekends or during school holidays and you are looking for other ways to increase their productivity out of school hours you could try the following:

  • Set a bedtime routine and get them up early (ish) to avoid wasting a day - ensure they are getting a good sleep the night before by setting a time for lights out!
  • Have a plan for the weekend, even plan in ‘free time’ to ensure you aren’t double booking them.
  • Try to avoid filling their days up with too many activities; if they attend a club on a Saturday morning, where possible keep the rest of the day free to have fun.
  • Set time limits on video games and TV so they don’t get used to spending all day on the sofa being unproductive.  

Weekend clubs help children make new friends

It may appear that children have lots of friends and can easily form friendships with others, but the findings from several studies have found this to be untrue for all children. One study found that children from underprivileged families have fewer school class friends than their more financially stable peers, and are more often isolated. 

Learning Cubs, and many centres like ours, work independently from schools, meaning we have our own centres where we run after school, weekend and school holiday classes for students in the local area. This inevitably means that children attending these sessions will mix with peers from different schools, encouraging them to make new friends. 

two school girls chatting in class sat at their desk, whispering to each other

With a focus on supporting disadvantaged students, our sessions bring together children from similar backgrounds, therefore enabling them to relate to one another and form friendships more easily. Helping them to form positive relationships, we make the experience of weekend classes and school holiday clubs an enjoyable activity rather than forced schooling! 

We praise students for making progress like building a new friendship and value collaboration in our centres. Here are several things we do to encourage this:

  • Model positive behaviour ourselves, using conversations between tutors as exemplar interactions
  • Reinforce positive outcomes, such as making friends, with rewards and prizes
  • Encourage students to take part in group activities - the more they are involved in social situations the more they will relax

Weekend clubs help working families with childcare

For most working families, sorting childcare for when you are working is stressful, and quite often is a financial burden. Many parents will take advantage of after school clubs and activities where they can, but when it comes to weekends and school holidays these activities tend not to be available. 

By providing weekend and school holiday classes, as well as after school classes, learning centres such as Learning Cubs are taking the pressure off parents with busy work schedules by providing several hours of teaching for their children to come and learn in a safe and relaxed environment. 

chart showing the impact of working on different aspects of family life

A government survey on working families found that their working schedules have a huge impact on family life, and those who suffer financially find it difficult to balance working schedules with the cost of childcare. 

Learning Cubs was designed to help these disadvantaged children and working families, which is why the classes are free for those that are eligible. For those that aren’t eligible they can apply for the fees to be heavily subsidised, making it an affordable and productive way of providing childcare and enhanced learning for your children. 

Reduce anti-social behaviour outside of school

There has been endless research into the influencing factors of anti-social behaviour in young children. Many of the findings concur with the statement that children living in poverty are at a much higher risk of being involved in anti-social behaviours (such as aggressive behaviour, delinquency, involvement with drugs) than their peers in a more privileged position. 

Every child deserves a chance at a better life, and there are numerous ways to help them achieve it. Through better education and heavier involvement of tutors out of school and teachers in school it is possible to reduce children's involvement in anti-social behaviours by keeping them busy and helping them to understand what is right and wrong. 

Enabling your children to participate in weekend classes and classes during school holidays is a great way to help to reduce the risk of their involvement in anti-social situations, such as ‘hanging around’ in parks with large groups of youths. Instead of loitering the streets, they will be spending time focusing on academic subjects, as well as potentially exploring other subjects of interest that could lead to better career paths in the future. 

group of five school children running laughing in their grey and navy school uniform holding their school bags and books

Academic sessions help bridge the attainment gap

As parents, we all know how long the summer holidays can feel, and it's understandable why many parents give up on getting their children to study during this time. Getting kids with lots of pent up energy to sit down and concentrate for an hour takes a lot of time and energy - two things that most working parents don’t have. 

Whilst having a break from continuous education is necessary for students and teachers to rest, having too long out of learning can be detrimental to a child's development in learning, thus continuing education during school holidays is vital. 

Several US studies are unanimous, concluding that the summer holidays have an overall negative effect on the learning process of reading skills and mathematics. School breaks very often result in children forgetting what they have recently learned if it is not revised for a long period of time. 

Having access to regular 2-3 hour classes with tutors on site ready to help is the perfect solution for those who struggle to keep up with their studies during the holidays, and is also ideal for working families who need the extra support. 

Helps underachievers to excel

Underachievers are individuals who are capable of doing well, but lack motivation and drive to succeed academically.

There are a number of reasons as to why children underachieve in school, the following are just a few of them: 

  • Fear of failure
  • Too high/low expectations of them by parents and/or teachers
  • Lack of parental support
  • Inappropriate educational activities provided
  • Lack of basic study skills and habits
  • Lack of opportunity to succeed - e.g. financial issues at home meaning a lack of resources 

For these students, extra academic classes are a great way to focus solely on one or two subjects, providing better tutoring than in a classroom environment as the tutors work in smaller groups giving individual support and feedback.

Children sat around a table involved in arts and crafts

Weekend learning sessions support those who struggle to keep up with schoolwork 

Many disadvantaged children struggle with developing good study skills and habits due to a lack of resources at home. Many students also find it difficult to finish off homework or do additional research when they get home from school, perhaps due to limited resources.

Attending additional academic classes, particularly on a weekend or during the school holidays, has proven to improve the academic performance of many young students. The classes provide a learning environment with multiple resources available and other peers to motivate individuals to complete their work. Research findings agree and have indicated that additional classes improve performance in learning and are extended by the students' excellence in tests.

Parents of children who attend Learning Cubs’ extra academic classes have been overwhelmed by how valuable they have been and how much it has improved their child’s learning.

“My children attend learning Cubs and enjoy every lesson. I have seen a huge amount of improvement in their learning as they do struggle a lot. Thank you all at Learning Cubs.” Maha.

If you are looking to enrol your child in additional academic classes to help with your work-life balance, or if your child requires some extra lessons to enhance their academic abilities, we are here to help. Learning Cubs have several learning centres with spaces available at weekends and throughout school holidays.

Check if you are eligible for a free place, or heavily subsidised fees then book your child’s assessment to get started! 

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