After-school club soars into space

30th June 2006 at 01:00
Day-trips into outer space, visits to Santa Claus and a full-scale funfair are among the activities children would like to have on offer at breakfast and after-school clubs, writes Adi Bloom.

Educational psychologists in Sandwell asked pupils at eight primaries and two secondaries to describe their ideal club. Their report, published this week, shows some children are easily entertained. At one primary, they asked for chocolate, PlayStations and visits to the park.

Others were less modest in their demands. Secondary pupils visualised a breakfast club involving discos, football matches and a funfair. And, at one primary, pupils anticipated after-school trips into space, or visits to Father Christmas at the North Pole.

If these were not possible, they would settle for drama and colouring-in.

The report states: "An elective, activity-focused club can be perceived very differently from a non-elective facility which offers more child-minding style services... It is probably preferable for children to be able to choose activities, including the possibility of doing nothing."

If their fantasy trips did not happen, most pupils conceded they were happy with the status quo. Several chose to attend clubs because they enjoyed the activities and the opportunity to spend time with friends. One said that the best thing was being awarded a star for good behaviour. An eight-year-old girl said: "We learn to share." And a five-year-old said:

"We learn how to be good."

Others had less altruistic reasons. Several remarked that attending clubs meant they could avoid parents nagging.

They were also asked to itemise what they did not like. The report states:

"The children... mentioned it being noisy, other children spoiling their games, not being allowed to play while they were eating, and not getting a star."

But one child insisted the worst part was: "when my mum takes me home."

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