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Carnival children a friendly group

Students talk with Qld School for Travelling Show Children Judy Walker and Westlawn Public School principal Narelle Twigg as the travelling school stops in at Westlawn.
Students talk with Qld School for Travelling Show Children Judy Walker and Westlawn Public School principal Narelle Twigg as the travelling school stops in at Westlawn. Adam Hourigan

SCHOOL can be a struggle for many kids some days, but imagine how much harder it must be when home is the excitement of sideshow alley.

Westlawn Public School had an extra classroom for a week and overwhelmed a visiting class with their friendliness.

In town for the Grafton Show are the children of the carnival operators and travelling with them is the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children.

"I have been blown away by the friendliness and how welcoming they have been to us," said travelling teacher Judy Walker.

"We've had teachers coming up to us with offers for students to join in their classrooms for activities like papier mache and little kids coming up to say hello," Miss Walker said.

"The Year 6 students are going to stay in touch with us and do some web conferencing as we go around and talk about where we are this week, which should be really interesting," she said.

Speaking to the show children was a revelation, as interviewing children can often be a struggle, but this is the most outgoing group of children I have struck.

"I just go up and introduce myself," is the approach Caitlin Johnson, aged 11 years, adopts when the classroom opens out into a new school community.

"You get to see different places and make new friends and it's good for your social skills," Caitlin said.

Her family runs the Ferris wheel and slushy trailer at the shows and her experience helping out has built her confidence in dealing with strangers in a way few 11-year-olds have.

"I think the kids are switched on when it comes to speaking to adults and these kids have got social skills down pat," Miss Walker said.

"Teaching money is an easy thing to teach, as they are comfortable with money."

Six-year-old Lincon Flaherty recommends show attractions such as the Mickey Mouse bubbles, Octopus, Shrek and Sea Circus attractions, but doesn't like the Claw because "it goes up and down".

It may be an age thing, because Taleitha Ashby, aged 10 years and daughter of the Claw owners, goes on it every day.

"It spins around, goes upside down and goes really fast, but I don't eat anything before I go on," Taleitha said.

She said classrooms "without wheels are kind of strange to us".

Sharing a classroom with your younger sister in kindergarten is "a bit annoying" for Jasmine Chambers, aged eight, who otherwise finds the travelling school "fun".

Topics:  carnival, grafton show, westlawn public school



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