This week saw our annual visit from Mark, “The world’s best juggler”, to run a series of circus skills with the children. Over the course of the day every child in the school learned some new tricks. Whether it was stilt walking, plate spinning, juggling or tricks with diablos, every single child was fully involved and utterly captivated and the show at the end was a joy to behold. It was clear to see what the children had learned and also to marvel at skills that Mark showed us. Juggling on a uni-cycle was particularly impressive and like all experts, he made it look so easy.

Learning these sort of skills is certainly a great way to unwind, but it is generally accepted that juggling actually helps the brain to work in a way that is conducive to improvements in the classroom. Learning a musical instrument has the same effect and learning in a different environment or with a different approach can also be extremely beneficial. This why it is so important to take children outside to learn, to bring in visiting speakers occasionally and to go on school trips to places of educational interest (and nearly everywhere we go can fulfil this requirement). We learn by watching others, by listening to others and by physically doing or attempting new activities. We seldom get something new correct first time and frequently we need to fall off, to get it wrong, to fail, maybe several times, maybe even several hundred times before eventually get it right. But it is worth persevering, because the sense of achievement when you master a new skill is tangible and it drives us on to face our next challenge with confidence.

Jerry Gear