World renowned magician Keith Barry was in attendance for the relaunch of the Irish Academy of Magic in Moyross on Friday.
Barry, the recipient of the prestigious Merlin Award for ‘Mentalist of the Year’, joined his friend and fellow magician Leon Andersen, the founding member of the Academy for the academy’s relaunch.
The academy of magic is a community-based project that is being used to teach magic to children with “learning and behavioural disadvantages,” according to Leon.
Leon hopes for magic to be brought into the classroom and to be used by occupational therapists.
“Academic reports have proven that simple magic tricks incorporated into the classroom can help children’s social skills and confidence,” said Leon.
“Because of the lack of funding for special needs schools, a lot of teachers are finding a lot more children with learning differences in the mainstream classroom. Magic can also help level the playing field, and in return, build self esteem among their peers at school,” the Limerick man added.
Keith was “delighted” with the work his friend is doing:“I think it is great what Leon is doing here. By using magic he is enabling the kids to focus on a given task. It also teaches kids how to take instruction. These are important life skills so it’s great that they can learn them nearby.”
Nathan Keane, Moyross, is partaking in the magic programme:“I think the Magic Academy is great for the community. It’s good to keep kids off the streets and keep them occupied.”
The academy does not receive funding from local or government bodies. “I would love if we could get some sort of funding as we are attempting to change the face of education,” Leon concludes.
The academy was relaunched in association with Ceim ar Cheim, a Community Based Education and Training Centre.