Scottish schoolchildren are to receive free-of-charge magic lessons in the run up to Christmas.
Magic School on the Road is a touring workshop presenting the lessons to kids who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend festival events.
The event is currently touring seven primaries and secondaries in the capital and Falkirk, in areas of deprivation.
Magic School on the Road takes some of the great activities from highly popular Magic School workshop, that takes place during the Magic Festival, and conjures them up for children in the classroom.
Last week Magic School headmaster Gary James delighted children from Primary 4 A and B at Craigour Park Primary School where he taught them tricks to perform for their family and friends over Christmas and the New Year.
Thanks to cunning sleight of hand the children were also learning to apply mental arithmetic as well as developing skills in critical analysis and performance.
Gary said: “A lot of the children have never seen a live magic performance before, so it’s a treat for them, and there’s a lot hidden away in there of real educational value.”
Feedback from the children has been positive so far.
Maryam Hassan said: “I would love to be a magician. I have seen a lot of magic tricks on YouTube and was dying to know how to do them – and today I found out.”
Stephen McKechnie, who already has a career in mind, added: “I liked it very much and will show the tricks to my family, especially my little brother Jack. When I grow up I want to be a baker but I will do magic tricks on my day off, which will be a Wednesday.”
MagicFest organisers, Svetlana McMahon and her magician husband Kevin Quantum, piloted Magic School on the Road last year.
Svetlana said: “This year is the 10th annual MagicFest and we wanted to do something really special. Not every child can get along to festival events like Magic School so we thought that we would go on the road and take it to their schools. And while on one level it’s all about having lots of fun – magic is a great way to get kids learning.
“Like other arts it helps children develop confidence, learn to concentrate, apply logic, think critically and use presentational skills. No matter what career they choose, they need all these things.”
Support for Learning teacher, Jenny MacDonald, added: “Magic School on the Road offered Craigour Park Primary an amazing opportunity for the children to not only get to meet a magician and see magic up close and personal, but also to try out some tricks for themselves.
“This will have been the first time many of our children will have seen a magician in real life and they were enchanted by the experience. We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with the Magic Festival, and for the chance the children were given to learn new skills and perform.
“They used mental maths skills and gained confidence at speaking in front of an audience. The children were eager to share their tricks with their friends and teachers afterwards and their parents enjoyed watching their performances at home.
“These workshops may have created a new magician who will come back to Craigour Park Primary and wow us with their tricks in the future!”
Other schools welcoming Magic School on the Road are Niddrie Mill, St. Francis, Granton, Clovenstone and Brunstane primaries, Carrongrange High School for children with special needs.