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Greenville educator teaches juggling to elementary kids | News

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Greenville educator teaches juggling to elementary kids

GREENVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - At Baldwin Heights Elementary School in Greenville, students learn the usual subjects -- and they have the chance to learn juggling, too, in an after-school club for third- through sixth-graders.

In the school gym during a typical session, dozens of students spread out to try to toss three balls in the air and catch them. Baldwin Heights instructor Lori Hostitler tells the students about proper technique. Students are clumped together with other students who have already mastered beginner-level juggling.

Hostitler calls it the Z Club.

To join, students need to juggle the ball for each letter of the alphabet. In other words, they need to toss the balls in the air 26 times. If they can do that without dropping them, then they are part of Z Club for life.

"These kids are great," Hostitler said. "They learn the basic fundamentals of juggling -- keeping the balls in the air -- then they are ready to move on to rings, clubs, and partner passing."

Hostitler has been teaching juggling at the elementary for a few years now, because it offers a number of unique benefits for the students.

"Juggling is a great brain activity; it uses all four quadrants of your brain at the same time," explained Hostitler. In fact, studies show that juggling improves higher-order thinking.

One elementary school juggler said that because of this club, his grades have improved. Juggling also teaches patience, hand-eye coordination, and a skill that can be passed on.

"Parents love this; once kids make it to the Z Club, they perform in parades, they perform at hospitals, they perform at talent shows," Hostitler said.

Juggling: it works the mind, it works the body, and it is a lot of fun.