All childhood development experts agree that young people continue to develop social skills through adolescence and even into young adulthood. Teachers at the Indiana Virtual School are no exception. One might then wonder how does an online school support such a concept when all the interaction is through a computer screen. The answer is through the separation of education and socialization.
Be it through religious groups, sports, the arts and music or clubs like scouting, there are myriad of places for children to gain those socialization habits with their peers. Here are a few ideas.
A great way for kids to have healthy, structured and regular social activity is through community involvement. Participating in community groups like Circle K clubs, 4H, Future Business Leaders of America and local church youth groups provide opportunities for young people to gather and interact.
Be it travel softball and baseball, AAU basketball leagues, summer swim teams or gymnastics, it’s not hard to find sport for any season. Sports can give kids an added understanding of leadership and teamwork. Athletics also keeps kids active and are a healthy way to keep fit.
Many communities offer local civic theater groups where kids can get a chance to play a part on stage. You can also find children’s choirs and bands to hone musical talents with peers. Also, there are classes in painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Indiana, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and many other studios around the state where kids can work with each other to develop art skills and friendships at the same time.
Taking time to get outdoors is important for kids as well. Scouting is a great way to develop bonds while learning camping skills. Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have regular meetings, organized events, volunteer opportunities and regular campouts. Kids can join a scouting group through age 18 and meet other scouts at regional and national scout meetings throughout the year.
Online socialization certainly isn’t unique to INVS students. Kids around the world are using electronic communication and social media to connect. Through specific interest forums, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts and Twitter feeds, students can interact with peers with the touch of a screen or the click of a mouse.
It’s clear that socialization opportunities are endless and these are just a few examples. If you have more, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know how you or your kids socialize!