Back in November I did a second stint of circus days at primary schools in Oxford. I was booked by Blackbird Academy Trust, who run 3 schoos in Oxford. The year 2's are lucky enough to be studying circus as a topic!
The day started with a circus show to get the children inspired. The well behaved children, walked in silently with growing smiles as they realised it wasn't a normal assembly.
I explained to them that this wasn't like sitting in class. If they see a trick they like they're allowed to clap and cheer, if their friend comes up and gets involved 'make sure you give them encouragement.'
School children are so excitable, it makes for such a lovely audience, they gasp with amazement at throwing the hat onto the head which is the first and most basic move in my hat routine.
The show is designed as inspiration for the day going forward. At the end of the day they will all be juggling clubs on a 7 foot unicycle.
We start the workshops with an introduction to the concept of balance, using the versatile and beautiful peacock feathers. This gives all the children an early sense of achievement as within a few goes they can all get a feel for balancing.
Moving forward we introduce the six and seven year olds to plate spinning. The teachers get involved and challenge themselves to spin the plate the 'proper way'. Its a difficult task for both teacher and pupil and only a few throughout the schools manage the hard way which is not surprising given their age. But there are loads of other ways to create tricks and different ways to spin the plate to keep the children focussed and determined.
In the following sessions the children are introduced to juggling, through scarves and balls. After a lunch break its time for one last session when they get to sample; flower sticks, diabolos, pedal goes, tightrope walking and hula hooping.
After a jam packed day its time to show off to the parents. We create a short circus show & tell where the emphasis is on the children and what they can achieve with a little bit of practice. Every child gets a turn on stage whether its part of a group or individually and we try to mix it up and create new ways for the children to perform. Its a bit 'play it by ear' because of the short preparation time with the children but this makes it all the more organic and throws up some great comedy moments.
Its a thoroughly enjoyable experience bringing circus into schools and providing circus workshops for primary schools. I enjoy doing the shows in the morning because I feel it captivates the pupils and gains their respect from the start giving me an attentitive audience for the rest of the day.
Thanks for having me back for a second year Pegasus, Orchard Meadow and Windale. Roll on next year!