Circus skills

Every year our primary school takes a week off the curriculum, suspends all lessons and does something different for the week. Something special. The kids learn new skills, they have fun, they work with different teachers and with children of all ages. They’ve done an athletics week and an art week. Last year, they did the truly spectacular Lion King week.

This year, it was circus skills. They didn’t do acrobatics or trapeze, but they learned juggling and diabolo and some clowning skills. During the week, they found time to make pizzas, paint each others’ faces and do some circus-related crafts. Every day, they did three different activities. The ‘parade dance’ my son performed rather energetically around the school made his legs ache all week!

At the end of the week, they showed what they’d learned to the parents. It might have lacked the ‘wow factor’ of the huge Lion King show, but the enthusiasm and exuberance of the kids as they performed their new skills was infectious. Whether they were riding a tiny bike wearing a clown’s wig, juggling with scarves or balancing a peacock feather, they couldn’t stop smiling. Whether they threw their diabolos up to the ceiling and caught them or if they threw them up to the ceiling and missed, their smiles were just as big. And the parents all cheered and applauded the good stuff and the failures. It was a lovely atmosphere.

Daughter, Circus skills, School

My daughter opted to do the tightrope, but was disappointed when she heard she had to have someone holding on to her. She could totally have done it without. It would have been fine to have someone hovering alongside, just in case, but all the children had to someone holding their hand.

My son opted for the diabolo. He was pretty good at it, although he hides his light under a bushel and I was disappointed that he went to the back of the group. He got the first cheer from the audience for throwing his diabolo high and catching, which made me very proud. He then went on to do some fancy moves, similar to people do with yo-yos – like rocking the baby or something. I could see how skilled they were, but the cheers were all reserved for the kids who through their diabolos up to the ceiling.

It was lovely, entertaining afternoon, and the kids had a really enjoyable week learning their circus skills.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Sounds like a fun week. Having two children at secondary school, I do miss these activity weeks.

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    • Thanks very much! It is a lovely thing to do. I’ll be in your position before we know it too – one of my kids is already at secondary and my younger son is in year 6.

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  2. I love the idea of the school taking a week “off” to do something like this – the children will learn as much, if not more than usual, in this week and won’t even realise it. School is not just about learning letters, numbers, dates and suchlike but a whole raft of other life skills. Our boys’ secondary school does circus skills in PE so for 6 weeks both have had the chance to lean similar skills. No big show at the end though.

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    • Wow, that sounds great to do circus skills in PE. I do really love that they do this every year – there’s so much that they experience in that week. Like you say, in many ways it’s probably more than they learn in a ‘normal’ week.

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    • Thanks very much, I think it’s a great idea, but not many schools seem to do it. To be fair, it’s a huge logistical nightmare, requiring endless hard work for teachers and TAs, but they obviously think it’s worth it and the kids certainly do!

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    • That’s a lovely idea! I bet the kids pick up a fair few skills.

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