Opening minds after school

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Activities that build strength, power and confidence

Bermuda has a naturally active community of children. The after-school activities that are offered to them are usually engrained in our culture and –– from Gombeys, to cricket, dance and swimming –– usually stem from the circumstances of the land that we stand on. Along with Bermuda culture and history, our children should have strength, power and confidence –– traits that come from trying new things. We can help them to know their bodies and abilities by letting them explore a host of different activities at a young age. Start by asking them the question, “What do you want to do?” and really listen to the answer.

I want to fight…

Release the fighter in them with Capoeira –– an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. It was developed by African slaves in Brazil and was illegal there until the 1930s. If children are not captivated by the rich history, they will feel the combat movement and rhythm. “Capoeira encourages discipline, helps to teach and instill the value of loyalty, responsibility and self-confidence”, says Ivan Outerbridge (AKA Professor Meio Quilo) from Capoeira Camara Bermuda.

He stresses that, “The importance of Capoeira for children is not only in the historical and cultural aspect, but also in the physical qualities it helps develop; balance, motor coordination, speed, strength. It also helps to develop the potential of each child to learn in life, in school and have a positive influence in their life in general.”

I want to fly…

It’s every child’s dream to fly. As body awareness becomes more important, we want to give our children the opportunities to tune in at a younger age. Aerial Silks is an intriguing discipline that involves two lengths of fabric rigged from the ceiling. Working flexibility and strength, this activity also builds trust through the suspending, falling, swinging and spiraling of their body into different positions.

Charlene Macielag, from Lotus Integrative Health and Wellness Studio, comments,“The challenging nature allows aerialists to develop patience and discipline in their practice, and these skills transfer easily into other areas of their lives (such as academics); our ‘Lotus Buds’ are offered performance opportunities, and these opportunities are great for fostering confidence and presentation abilities”.

 I want to build…

Machines are the way of the future! If your child is interested in building, robotics is the booming industry to be in. From cars and smartphones, to thermostats and gaming consoles, it’s all on the path to mechanical engineering. Whether they dream of becoming an aerospace technician at NASA, or just understanding how machines work, open the door with an exhilarating robotics after-school programme. Mid-Atlantic Robotics IN Education (MARINE) combines creativity and team spirit to empower Bermuda’s youth to be champions of the natural environment.

“The program runs from September to March and culminates in an underwater robotics challenge at the National Sports Center”, says the Director of Ocean Academy, Kaitlin Noyes. In the past, “student pilots maneuvered their ROV through a variety of scientifically-themed tasks. Students took part in team interviews about the scientific principals behind their design process and were evaluated for a marketing poster about their ROV, adding an entrepreneurial aspect to the program’s activities”.

An ongoing partnership with the US-based Marine Advanced Technology Education Center has continued to facilitate participation in an annual underwater navigation challenge.

 I want to protect…

Draw and shoot. If they enjoy being outside, but in a quiet capacity, archery is a great way to give them fresh air while teaching them focus, balance, coordination and self-discipline. From walking long-distances to carrying so many pounds of equipment, this activity is not short of physical health benefits.

I want to create…

If your child is craving more arts than what they are getting in school, it’s for a good reason. Visual arts help kids to learn and develop important characteristics that they will need as adults, such as creativity, collaboration, decision making, perseverance, focus and accountability. Our galleries have wonderful programmes for a child’s growth in the arts. “Masterwork’s art programmes embrace diverse projects, styles and techniques”, says Education Coordinator, Nuno Patricio. “The outcome of these programmes is to promote critical thinking, creative problem solving, observational and descriptive abilities. The public will develop their sense of creativity and engage artistically”.

Discover new ideas for non-traditional activities that will keep a child active in their bodies, but also their minds – all available in Bermuda. These alternative sports and groups can build confidence by challenging their abilities, open their thoughts to the world around them, and help them to find like-minded and lifelong friends.

This article was originally published in the August 2018 edition of the RG Back-to-School supplement.

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