Jester Academy circus skills workshops for schools (and anyone else who wants one)
Magic and balloon modelling workshops
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Circus skills workshops for schools, there’s seemingly lots of choices so where do you start? Well, you’ve been using search engines and found lots of companies seemingly offering the same things, by the way thanks for stopping on our website, but how do you tell them all apart? How do you know who will be able to offer exactly what you need for your workshops?
If you click the link below you’ll find some information based on our experiences and on comments from teachers we’ve worked with on why circus skills workshops in schools are great for you as teachers and for your pupils.
The benefits of circus skills are much celebrated both by child psychologists, health practitioners and educational researchers alike. Certainly, a quick search of the internet will throw up a wealth of research telling you how beneficial circus skills workshops in schools really are. So rather than bombard you with links or requote others findings below are our real work experiences and findings based on years of providing circus skills workshops in schools, before and after school circus skills clubs.
(1) They help increase concentration, focus and resilience in pupils. We’ve often had teachers tell us the children who ordinarily find concentrating in class difficult really thrive in our sessions. What’s more the skills they learn about resilience, perseverance and not giving in during our sessions are then very transferable back into the classroom offering chances for significant improvements.
(2) The activities teach children to learn and to try in a new way that doesn’t “feel” like school. It really stretches their learning muscles with the children ultimately learning that they can achieve anything with the correct effort.
(3) Because of the way we teach, children learn a new way to learn. Breaking tough topics down into manageable chunks means children learn to really understand in bits before moving on further which leads to them succeeding with the harder task in the end.
(4) They are great for children who may consider themselves “not sporty”. Even though circus skills are incredibly active we have seen hundreds of children who have little to no interest in other sports flourish with circus skills. Often it’s a hobby and activity that stays with them forever. In fact, we’ve met lots of children who’ve continued and got really good at their favourite skills.
(5) The benefits of succeeding and even trying something that they consider difficult are wonderful for confidence. Especially for children who struggle with social and communication skills and they can find ways to express themselves. Indeed we’ve seen many children happily getting up to perform in assemblies who would ordinarily never have volunteered.
(6) We’ve been told many times by teacher that circus skills workshops in schools lead to some incredible creative writing and imaginative work both before and after our visits. We’re also able to provide you with our favourite links and resources to aid your topics and class based work.
(7) They are great non-competitive activities which lead to fantastic team work and collaboration. We are very passionate about circus being for everyone and about it being a very personal thing. We teach that it’s not about who is best at something but rather about trying as hard as you can.
(8) Circus skills can be linked to almost any core topic on the curriculum from PE, Science, English, History and even Geography.
If you would like to enquire about our circus skills workshops for schools simply click this link enquiry form
Below are the top ten questions we are commonly asked and our replies to help you.
(1) Are your instructors insured? Yes, we all have £3,000,000 public liability insurance as a minimum. If your school needs to see proof of this please let us know during the booking process.
(2) Do your instructors have full DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service England and Wales) checks? Yes, all our instructors do however as you will be aware they are usually issued by other employers and are not site specific. However, in accordance with current advice from the DBS we are happy to provide electronic copies of certificates should your school require them before we visit but we do not carry them with us on the day.
(3) How long do your circus skills workshops last? It depends on how many classes/children you’d like us to work with but an average session is between 45 – 75 minutes. E.G. A day in a school with 8 classes would usually see each class having sessions as per above including normal break and lunch times. We are able to spend up to a week with your school and can really help children find their favourite activities throughout the week as well as running special after school clubs for extra practice. These weeks can then culminate with a special whole year/school assembly with invited guests.
(4) How many children can you work with at a time? 1 instructor will normally have enough “standard” equipment for up to 35 people to all do the same thing at once. Then a selection of “other” equipment for free time. If you would like to combine classes or groups to more than 35 we would need to send 2 instructors to double up on the equipment available. That said we’ve run sessions with up to 6 instructors at once and with over 100 children all taking part at the same time.
(5) Are your instructors able to work with children of all ages? Yes. We regularly provide circus skills workshops in schools for children ranging from EYFS to YR11 and beyond. All our circus skills workshops are age and ability appropriate and are specifically taught using the theory of BLP (Building learning Power).
(6) Are you able to work with children if all abilities? What about SEN and physical impairments? We have lots of experience of providing circus skills workshops in schools with children of all abilities from those on the Autistic spectrum to wheelchair users and those children who need sensory stimulation as they are unable to physically take part. All we ask is that you inform us before we visit of any special needs so that we can make your instructor for the day aware.
(7) How much space do your circus skills workshops in schools need? In all honesty the bigger space the better relative to the number of children taking part. So a class of up to 35 will get more out of a session in a hall than they will in their classroom but we are able to scale up or scale down our workshops and tailor the amount and type of equipment we use depending on your available space. It’s always very useful for us to know where we will be before we arrive if possible.
(8) Can you run your sessions outside? Whilst we can run circus skills workshops in schools outdoors there are some important things to consider. First, level ground is preferable so that things don’t roll away unexpectedly. Secondly, hardstanding ground i.e. a playground is often better as it allows us to use more of our equipment with wheels (grass can make these things much harder to use). Lastly, if it’s in the height of summer it’s worth remembering that our workshops are totally interactive and very active, children will be working hard and so need access to water bottles and where appropriate sun cream and hats.
(9) Do children have to wear PE kit for your sessions? Not necessarily, indeed we often see whole classes dressed in their best clown and circus outfits, however, we’d always recommend flat shoes and if possible pumps/trainers as they do make things like balancing on tightropes and riding our wheeled props easier.
(10) How much do your circus skills workshops in schools cost? There’s no definitive answer to that. It’s better to fill out the enquiry form below so that we can arrange a time to discuss your unique requirements. We’ll then be able to give you a fixed price with no hidden extras.
Added bonus question: What equipment will you bring with you?
We are what are known as “ground-based instructors” so we specialise in juggling, balance and wheeled props. A typical full day workshop could see the following being used (dependant on age of pupils) Juggling Scarves, Juggling Balls, Juggling rings, Juggling clubs, Poi, Flower/Devil sticks, Diabolos, Cigar Boxes, Kendama, Hula Hoops, Peacock Feathers, Ball cups, Spinning plates, Tightwire, Slackline, Pedal Goes, Fun Wheels, Trainer Unicycles, Unicycles, trick bikes, Mini bikes, Pot stilts and Peg stilts. Individual instructors often have different pieces of equipment as well which may be used during free time.
If you would like to enquire about our circus skills workshops for schools simply click this link enquiry form
As professional performers and entertainers members of our team have been performing magic for audiences of every age for in excess of 20 years. We’ve performed to people of every age and all nationalities and we regularly teach magic at private events as well as in schools and at tourist attractions.
But what can magic do for my pupils?
Well at its simplest level magic inspires wonder and creativity. It requires children to discover a sense of wonder and to see how they can take their audience on a journey with them.
But it doesn’t stop there. Recent studies by child psychologists and educational experts have concluded that learning magic can be a fantastic way for all children but especially ones who struggle with social interaction and friendships to learn to communicate with others in a safe, controlled way. By learning how to perform magic and then having the confidence to perform in front of their peer’s children can learn to overcome shyness. Indeed one of the most famous magicians today, Dynamo, was painfully shy and suffered at the hands of bullies at school until his grandfather developed his love of magic and just look where it’s taken Dynamo now!
Our magic workshops are much like circus skills in that dependent on the time we have with each group we can teach either one or two tricks or a lot of different tricks and even bigger illusions.
We can teach the history of magic, its place in storytelling and in movies and how it shapes storytelling. We always start our workshops with a short show to demonstrate some age appropriate magic to the pupils and these shows always include at least one of the tricks the children will learn themselves.
We can also theme our workshops to your specific topics so please do ask if you have a particular idea.
Props used can include ropes, coins, paper bags and much more. In our full day or week long workshops, we can also bring some incredible cardboard box illusions to teach the children which include penetration cabinets, levitations and even a solo sawing the person in half (without the use of a saw!).
Magic workshops are really best suited to children in year 1 and above but we can perform short, age appropriate shows for pre-school or nursery children.
To enquire about a magic workshop for your school simply fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
We’ve all seen people making wonderful things using modelling balloons and it’s always incredible to see what can be created. Well, at our balloon modelling workshops for schools we will give your pupils the opportunity to make their own creations with expert tuition.
We pre-inflate all the balloons that will be needed (and lots of extras for any that pop) and then lead a workshop that teaches children all about the art of balloon modelling.
A workshop always starts with how to be safe around balloons and the basics including how balloons are made, how we can prevent them from popping, how to inflate them (we’ll inflate balloons for the group but will demonstrate so fun way to inflate them as well) then we move onto simple techniques that when combined will help the children create their own first items. Normal models made can be dogs, flowers, hats and even fish! We don’t advocate making swords or other weapons in schools no matter how much the children may ask.
A workshop can last from as little as 1 hour up to a full day which then gives lots of time to make lots of models and even to see a large feature piece created to be left in the classroom after the workshop has ended.
Due to the motor skills required balloon modelling workshops are only suitable for children in Year 3 and above.