Having worked several years in outdoor education I then studied adults who had transformed their hobbies into a career and became interested in where leisure interests begin.
Working as a Behaviour Officer in a Primary School with an above national average student cohort of Free School Meal pupils I became aware of the strength of extra-curricular activities to engage children and to increase their sense of belonging.
I began my PHD in 2015 aware that a lot of research existed into the benefits of extra-curricular activities but little was known about how it is first triggered and then critically sustained for these benefits to manifest. I chose to concentrate on middle childhood as this is the developmental period in which children first begin to be aware and measure their competencies vis a vis their peers. I was also aware of research that suggests that if a child has never participated in extra-curricular activities before their transition to secondary school they probably will go their entire education never getting involved. So early exposure if critical to forming an extra-curricular trajectory for children.