Device converter



Classified ads

Put an ad on this website

Recently added

articles > Children events

After-school rush

Beyond the School Gates: The Importance of After-School Activities

By Rebecca Connell

Back to school

Ah, September, that time of year when children everywhere are feeling that funny mix of excitement and anxiety which come hand in hand with the words “Back to school”. But they are not alone in the experience: parents have to go through it with them, because as any one with little people knows, the start of the school year is not quite as simple as merely dropping the kids off at the school gates: unfortunately, there is a little bit more stress involved than that. This does, I admit, seem rather unfair given hours of worry already spent trying to find schools and then the stress of actually getting the little ones accepted. The next hurdle to navigate is after-school activities; the reality is that a child’s education doesn’t begin and end in the classroom.

We did not have all that in my days!

Some of you may read this with scepticism, and argue that you were not exdiversions posed to endless dance/ music/ yoga for infant lessons as a child, yet somehow you turned out alright. The problem is that things have changed quite substantially since then: schooling is just not what it used to be. With the changed curriculum, education is now much more prescriptive. Teachers are limited by rigid guidelines in the knowledge that they can impart to children, so if it is not going to feature in an exam paper, the chances of your child gaining wider cultural knowledge is pretty slim.
On top of that, as much as time outside school used to be an opportunity for children to be inventive and creative as they looked for ways to entertain themselves, now you have to be constantly providing them with to prevent them from collapsing at the first opportunity in front of the TV/computer/ X Box: all believe to be poor aids to their development.


Extra-curricular activities

This is why extra-curricular activities are so critical: children’s brains do not simply switch off after they walk through the school gate; they need to be continually stimulated and in a variety of different, fun and interesting ways. Sure, a knowledge of the kings and queens of England is helpful, but the key to bringing up a well rounded child lies in helping them develop other important life skills as well as giving them interests and hobbies of their own that they can be excel in and be proud of.

No shortage of clubs in London

Living in London there is no shortage of activities to choose from, and if anything it is rather easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount on offer: Where does one even start? Having been there before, we are too well aware of the stress involved and realise that asking friends generally only leads to being bombarded with even more options. So we thought we might give you a helping hand in the matter by doing some of your research for you. Here are our pick of a few of the best after-school activities on offer.

Club Petit Pierrot

You are never too young to start learning a second language. Club Petit Pierrot, the leading London French club, which was established in 1993, has many fun and stimulating Parent and Toddler groups across London, starting from as young as 8 months old! They also offer groups for older children, up to 8 years old, and they teach their specially devised programme in many prestigious schools, as well as offering private tuition at your home. Club Petit Pierrot’s aim is to enable children to enjoy learning French and to enjoy communicating in French with confidence in a fun and caring environment. 

In a happy atmosphere French is taught to small groups of children through play, using a wide variety of their stimulating language activities such as songs, rhymes, dances, arts and crafts, cooking, puppets, storytelling, role-play, educational toys, and fun language games, exercises and role-play for the older children.

For more information, call 020 7385 5565 or visit


Stagecoach Theatre Arts


Stagecoach Theatre Arts have been nurturing and developing young people's potential for over 22 years. With over 700 schools worldwide and more than 40,000 students, Stagecoach is the longest running and most successful network of performing arts schools in the world. Schools operate for three hours each week during term-time, after school and at weekends. Children and teenagers are split into three groups of similar ages, learning the skills for musical theatre through singing, drama and dance classes, while having lots of fun. These skills do not disappear when they come off stage, they are skills for life.

For more information, call 019 3225 4333 or visit


The Kensington Ballet School


Predominantly located in West London the school caters for children aged 18 months to 9 years and provides a fun but structured introduction to the joys of dance.

Parents are encouraged to participate with their children in the mums and babies class. There is a strong emphasis on theatrical performance from Karen’s team who are all classically trained ballerinas and teachers who actively perform and demonstrate with the children.

The classes are conducted to a mixture of classical and children’s music to help stimulate imagination, develop rhythm and encourage musicality. Exercises and storytelling help the pupils to learn the appropriate steps for their ages in an organised, creative atmosphere. The sessions further encourage balance and co-ordination whilst improving the child’s self-confidence.

For more information call 079 57 65 00 42 or visit



Founded in 1918 Budokwai is the oldest and most famous Japanese martial arts club in Europe. 

Some of the most distinguished figures in the history of the Japanese martial arts have trained or taught at the Budokwai, including many Olympic medallists. Although primarily a judo club, it now embraces Shotokan karate, aikido and Gracie jiu-jitsu. 

Along with the adult classes they have a thriving and busy children’s section - Starting at 5 years for Judo and 6 years for Karate - children can attend fun packed but traditionally taught classes with a strong emphasis on etiquette and discipline. They aim for the best in every child but their main philosophy is for your child to enjoy their time there.

Their Budokwai Baby and Toddler gym classes take place in the safe environment of a dojo with padded floor and walls.  Soft play and music with an experience session leader make these classes perfect for little ones taking their first steps or the older toddler bursting with energy.  Their art classes are for children from 18 months. Each art class has a maximum of 8 children. With two instructors per class there is time for both artistic development and organised mess!

For more information call 020 7370 1000 or visit

Learn to Drum With Pierre Hellio:


Pierre Hellio is a respected percussions and drum instructor in three different secondary schools  (GCSE) in London, as well as giving music and drum workshops at the Round House in Camden.

 Before moving to London, Pierre studied at the Agostini drum school and at the Conservatoire Nationale Music School in the Jazz section. In 2005, he graduated "Drummer of the year " at the London College of Music and Media (LCMM), Drumtech and Thames Valley University.

On average, he now performs 100 shows a year and has played in many top music venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Shepherd's Bush Empire, Jazz Cafe, Roundhouse, Big Chill Festival, Virgin Megastore, Bermondsey Festival, Notting Hill Arts Club, The Bedford, Hilton Hotels, Twickenham, Aston Villa, Leicester, Cardiff and Coventry, as well as having done events for big companies such as Canon, Swatch...

In Paris « Funky Pierre » had also performed at "le salon de la musique" parc de la Villette in Big Band, at the TRABENDO" and Baisé Salé jazz club.

 "A tireless drummer adding dashes of syncopation"

The Kilburn Times

 He is available for private drum tuition after school.

For more information, call him on 078 68 73 29 67 or visit his Myspace page

Fast Fins


FastFins was founded by former champion swimmer, Gabriela Grau MSc, who, during a professional career spanning 11 years, became champion of Poland and won numerous medals in national and European swimming competitions. Today FastFins provides an opportunity for a new generation of swimming enthusiasts to experience, under expert tuition, the joys of the sport and to enjoy its benefits to health and fitness. FastFins use superior teaching techniques, ensuring that all pupils achieve the level of competence in swimming to which they aspire. Because levels of confidence, physical strength and ability often vary greatly among pupils, FastFins provide tuition in small groups, enabling their true potential to be realised faster. FastFins’s instructors are fully qualified, holding an Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) teaching certificate or recognised international equivalent. Swimming courses run on a termly basis at FastFins’s West London teaching venues; and Fast Track courses are offered during the school holidays. 

For more information, call 079 67 66 00 50 or visit


08/12/2011 - w.soechtig said :

Way to go on this essay, helped a ton.


Comments are moderated. They are displayed after an administrator validation.


You can reload the captcha by clicking on it