It has been a difficult eighteen months, not just for us, but for our children. Deprived of social interaction, held back from the normality of a regular school day and unable to spend time with extended friends and family, it wouldn’t be too hyperbolic to say that much of their childhood has been stolen from them.
At five years old, Dexter has taken the pandemic in his stride. Separated from his grandparents for months on end and forced to start school without so much as a backward glance at his parents, he’s not quite had the childhood we had planned for him – as so many others have found too. With increased normality on the horizon, comes the opportunity to make up for lost time. Especially where extracurricular activities are concerned.
Discovering extracurricular activities
The pandemic has had a huge impact on our children – there’s no doubting that.
There’s been months where Dexter has had no communication with the outside world apart from his immediate family and of course this will have had an impact on his social skills.
As soon as restrictions started easing in the summer of 2020, we tried to get him involved in extracurricular sporting activities, but he simply wasn’t interested.
As we moved into 2021, we tried again and yet again as another summer rolled around, but he either wasn’t interested, felt too apprehensive or the feel of the class just didn’t fit with our ethos.
Stagecoach – Performing Arts Extracurricular
In September, we discovered Stagecoach Performing Arts. Dexter has always been a huge fan of singing, dancing, acting (out) and putting on a show, so it seemed like a great opportunity for him.
Stagecoach offer a two week trial period of their children acting classes for £25 and we gave it a go, thinking why not? After him trying and giving up numerous sports and activities after only a couple of weeks, we weren’t confident, however after the first session, we knew we’d found a really good fit for our boy.
Who are Stagecoach?
With over 30 years experience teaching the performing arts, Stagecoach understands how to get the best out of young performers.
Stagecoach teaches their students so much more than how to sing, dance and act. They help them blossom into well-rounded individuals, ready to embrace life and all its opportunities, encouraging them to take ‘safe risks’ through rehearsals and performance, which brings out a willingness to take on new challenges. Performing arts benefits include:
- Increased confidence
- Improved mental health
- Wider social group
- The ability to use breathing techniques in everyday life
Dexter’s Experience at Stagecoach
After just one week, we knew that Dexter would be continuing this class for the foreseeable. I’ll admit, I thought he’d find it too intimidating, but the way the teachers welcome and involve each and every child means that no one will ever feel left on the sidelines.
After his first session he came running out, thrilled that he’d won Star of the Week for his listening skills and rhythm and couldn’t wait to return the following week. The teachers gave us feedback on his session and he walked out with a Stagecoach Passport which he could fill in and use to keep a track of his progress.
After the second week, we knew we’d found the right extracurricular for him. He walked out of the session beaming and was thrilled to have tried dancing, singing and acting using a variety of instruments.
Continuing with Stagecoach
As a child, I loved drama and singing and loved every single drama class I was involved in. Sadly, I gave this hobby up when I reached GCSE level as I pursued a more academic route, but I am so pleased that Dexter has asked us to continue with his Stagecoach sessions.
Not only is he meeting new people outside his inner circle, but he’s gaining courage and confidence, learning new skills and most of all, making up for the time he lost during the pandemic.
It’s incredible to watch him grow and develop and I hope one day we manage to act, dance or sing together!
Disclaimer: This post is in conjunction with Stagecoach Performing Arts but all thoughts are my own