The Extra-Mural Debate

On Saturday we attended the orientation day for Ava’s new school. Can’t believe my baby is going to Pre-PR1 next year! Really, the time has gone by so incredibly fast!

Ava was super excited to be visiting her new “big” school and once again, I was reassured that we really have made the best schooling decision for her. I really can’t rave about this school any more than I already have.

On Saturday, we met her new teacher, Teacher Marrae and she was shown to her classroom and given a lanyard with a penguin on it because she will be in the penguin class next year. In her classroom, there were toys laid out and paints for painting and even a table with biscuits and icings and all kinds of decorations for the kiddies to decorate their biscuits and eat while they got to know their new teacher. I was really proud of how well Ava coped, considering she’s going from a very small play school to a very large pre-primary school, she took it all in her stride and proudly insisted on going back to the penguin classroom one last time to say goodbye to Teach Marrae.

The school also offers a ream of extra mural activities, so we spent sometime collecting the various flyers and brochures to have a look at when we got home. The bonus with Ava’s new school is that swimming is part of the normal curriculum, even at pre-primary level, so she will no longer have swimming after school hours from next year and will instead have swimming lessons on a Tuesday morning in the new indoor Olympic sized swimming pool they’re in the process of completing.


School finishes at 13h00 and because Ava is the oldest of our children and pretty much comes home from school and mooches around until I get home from work, we want her to attend a few extra murals just to keep her stimulated and doing things she loves.

I obviously don’t want to over schedule her so the question is how much is too much? And again, I think this is largely dependant on each child as an individual. Ava has shown a natural talent towards ball sports and ballet so we want to keep on with those types of extra murals but also wanted to include something a little academic should she show interest/strength in that area too.

After much too’ing and frowing, we decided to continue on with ballet at her new school, which is on Wednesday afternoons. We’ve also decided on Kidi-Sportz, which is very similar to Super Kidz, which is what she’s been doing at her current school for the last two years, both of which are excellent in teaching/improving flexibility, strength, muscle tone, ball skills, gymnastics, concentration, confidence, music, social interaction, gross motor co-ordination, hand eye co-ordination, perseverance and body awareness.

We wanted to add something slightly more academic to the mix and have decided on Miki Maths Magic which is a great & fun introductory program to maths. Having dad who’s a math geek and an engineer meant that his eyes literally bulged with excitement and possibility when he saw all that this program has to offer. This programs encourages children to think for themselves, build confidence with problem solving and number orientation through the use of games and puzzles as an introduction to maths.

So Ava will be participating in three weekly extra murals, all of which are no longer than 30 minutes and she’ll still be home from school and have free time to play and do whatever she wants by 14h00 every day, which we’re comfortable with and it doesn’t feel like she’s being over scheduled.

Of course, if she doesn’t seem to be coping or doesn’t like any of the extra-murals, she won’t be forced to continue on with it or if she wants to change, she can swap to pottery, music or even gardening.

How do you manage your child’s extra-mural activities, ensuring that they are exposed to great opportunities while not over scheduling them?


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  • Reply Tina Pieterse

    I think youve found a perfect balance! My little ones are only 2 and a half and 5 months so I dont have to do the extra mural thing at the moment but I do pay for any extras the school offers during the school hols. My Cianais is very active (to the point of exhaustion) so anything different is good for her to do is my thinking. I like how youve incorporated the Miki Maths Magic into the mix- Gets the brain working 🙂

    November 19, 2013 at 8:16 am
  • Reply paddatjiesema

    We have a bit of a different situation where I can’t really afford the extra mural activities. Catrobatz is included at the school and I have to say it is REALLY excellent. To see the confidence she gets from the activities that she do there and to watch the end of the year Catrobatz concert is amazing, and they give an in depth quarterly report on her progress. She is allowed to choose 1 other extra mural. First year she chose ballet, and I thought she would continue with that, but she insisted she wanted to do Dance Mouse, which does an introduction to all the different dance styles. And then I got grandparents to pay for swimming lessons as well, but that is over the weekend.

    Next year kid number 2 is also starting with extra murals, but luckily we only have to choose in January.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:17 am
  • Reply cat@jugglingact

    As I said yesterday (somewhere on social media), Miki Maths is great – all 3 ours did at an early age . We do a lot as we believe that now is the time to choose what you want to do – from grade 4 you really can not fall around and test the waters. Also, ballet gets demanding after grade 1 so you then have to work around it.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:36 am
  • Reply Ailsa Jean Loudon

    The mind boggles – school is so much more now!

    November 19, 2013 at 11:10 am
  • Reply wobbly02

    Choosing extra murals is always exciting -and a lot of the time the kids want to do everything (or the same things as their friends at least) At my daughters school (when she was at pre school at least) they would have an opportunity to try out all the extra murals in the day before deciding if it was really as “fun” as they made it out to be. I aldo like the things that promoted gross and fine motor skills

    November 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply jenty

    Do it until she decides it’s too much… that’s what we’ve done with our kids. The only thing I’m quite sticky about with them, is changing their minds… they try to change the extra mural they do after every term and that drives me nutty!

    November 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm
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