Students of Grandview Elementary School are getting an education on caring this year and to celebrate what they’ve learned so far, they welcomed Motivational Magician Steve Harmer to their school recently.
Harmer was asked by Principal Bob Barthel to speak to his students on the importance of caring, which is Grandview Elementary’s primary message to teach their children.
The kids at Grandview are reinforced in their leadership classes to remember the five aspects of caring which include caring for themselves, others, their families, the earth and the work we do.
Barthel explained that during a staff collaboration last year, he and the teachers got together to decide on what they wanted the core values of Grandview Elementary to be. “We wanted to decide what the biggest idea was that we wanted to spread at Grandview,” said Barthel.
“We decided that the idea was to be caring, and from there we decided what the five things that we care about the most are and want our kids to care about the most.”
Barthel asked Harmer if he could tailor his magic show for the students at Grandview and incorporate these core values. “We talked about why we go to school or to work and why do we do the things we do,” said Barthel.
“We decided it came down to caring about those five things and that’s what drives us and keeps us from getting bogged down in the day-to-day activities of life. And those five things really capture what healthy community living is all about.”
Harmer, who is a former principal and educator himself, combines his skills as a magician, juggler, unicyclist and stilt walker to keep even the youngest of students entertained while teaching them core values.
“Our number one task as educators is to teach kids to care – about themselves, about others, about learning and really just reminding them in a new way,” said Harmer. “They can hear the message a thousand times from their teachers and their parents, but when the guy in the black jacket comes in and tells them that same message but in a unique and interesting way it really tends to sink in.”
His unique ‘magic with a message’ encourages students to care, have character, and be courageous.
With a lengthy teaching career behind him, Harmer is no stranger to what makes an impact on the children.
“The latest brain research shows that if you take any abstract idea that you are teaching to children such as caring or love and you can illustrate it in a concrete way then they can grasp it a lot easier,” he said. “If you use props and stories or in my case a magic trick, then take an idea such as caring and illustrate it in that way, it is going to stick much easier.”
The former Calgary principal of 22 years has taken his magic act on the road teaching the importance of respect, caring and anti-bullying.
He has since performed for more than 3,000 schools across western Canada.
“We as adults can even sometimes forget to care and we can get cold-hearted and we need to remember to care and to pass that message onto our children.”