I’m a proud mom for the second year in a row as my youngest daughter made the ISB Judi Jugglers team (my oldest was on it last year). This elite group of 4th and 5th students began learning and perfecting various juggling levels back in August. If successful, they earned the right to be named a Jedi Juggler, performing shows in front of their peers at school as well as during an evening performance for family and friends.
Every year, I am amazed at what these kids can do! They juggle balls, rings and clubs. Then they juggle a mixture of oddball items, like umbrellas, apples or plungers. Apparently, once you learn to master juggling, you can juggle almost anything.
Ava is my 4th grader, a very determined child that I knew early on would want to be on the team. She swiftly succeeded and I was proud, but something that impressed me (almost) even more was a gem of information coming from the P.E. teacher during a casual conversation. I joked with him that I wish she spent a fraction of the time practicing her reading as she did her new-found skill of jugging. Reading is a bit of a struggle for her and she will often find anything else to do but pick up a book. What did I learn? Studies have shown how juggling actually helps students in many ways: concentration, eye-hand coordination, and reading. Reading, mathematics and science skills can be improved simply by learning to put objects in logical order – the very foundation for juggling.
Well, coincidence or not, Ava’s reading scores have improved this year in the first quarter, she has found books that she enjoys, and she will no longer need regular reading support at school after the semester. Maybe it just “clicked” for her this year as I always assumed it would, or maybe there’s something to this juggling bit. Whatever the reason, her success in both juggling and reading this year has been a tremendous boost to her self confidence in many ways, all with positive results.
Now, back to the juggling. The P.E. department at ISB is beyond great. The kids stay active and have an absolute blast looking forward to grade specific activities that have become legend in the elementary division (Mission Impossible and the 2nd Grade Circus are two more of many anticipated events). They learn skills that remain a lifetime and make memories that they’ll never forget.
Last year’s post on this event can be found by clicking here; you can count on my writing something again next year with yet another reason to love the Jedi Jugglers. My juggling – and now reading –daughter couldn’t agree more.