Juggler has pupils on the ball

24th June 2005 at 01:00
The pupil referral unit based at our school, which caters for dyslexic pupils, has introduced an eight-week programme with 16 pupils, who are learning the tricky art of keeping three balls in the air.

Children with dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder primarily use the right side of the brain, but juggling encourages thinking in both sides. Research shows that the left side of the brain is the more academic, while the right side is more creative. Physically using the right side of the body promotes action in the left side of the brain, and vice versa. Juggling is multi-sensory, using auditory, visual and kinaesthetic skills.

I came up with the idea of juggling classes for all pupils in Year 5, and we contacted juggler Rob Hughes, who is experienced in working in education as well as entertainment. The children were hugely excited when Rob arrived. It was lots of fun and all of them felt a sense of achievement.

We hope to promote increased concentration, confidence, self-esteem, motor co-ordination and perseverance.

The city's Primary Special Facility opened last September and works in an innovative way so that dyslexic children feel included and skilled, not just in academia. As the brain is mainly made up of fat and water, the children have access to drinking water throughout the day. Being regularly hydrated improves concentration, dispels lethargy and helps keep children calm. The children's families are aware of the importance of omega 3 and 6 oils to improve brain function and the children are encouraged to take these at home. Alongside juggling, children are also improving their motor co-ordination (a common area of weakness in dyslexic children) by working with an African drummer.

Rob Hughes, juggler trainerTel: 07973 370720 Hilary Reed, Head of Primary Special Facility, St Bartholomew's C of E Primary School, Brighton and Hove

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