School budgets are increasingly stretched so it can be difficult to decide which of the many available school workshops will bring the most benefit to your pupils. It’s also important to know what occasions they work best for.
You need to justify spending the money to book a school workshop company. It’s important to think about what you’d like your pupils to get out of it. Then also get the timing right during your school term, so your pupils really get the most out of it. Putting a drumming workshop in your school hall during SATs week isn’t going to work for anyone!
Bringing in an external company that specialises in teaching primary school workshops and/or secondary school workshops to work with your pupils for the day, is an excellent way to invigorate the class energy. That applies to both staff and pupils! If you choose your school workshop activity carefully, it can be a great way to provide fresh project material before and after the workshop. This really maximises its impact and value to your school.
Once you’ve chosen your school workshop subject and found a company that you’re happy with, what occasions in the school year are the most relevant to get the most gain from your budget spend?
As an external workshop provider, there are a variety of reasons that schools book us to teach our circus skills workshops with them. Here are the top 5.
1. An End of Term Fun Activity
If you’re choosing an end of term workshop, picking a subject that will have the widest appeal for your pupils is important. Having a variety of activities within that workshop to allow for children’s differing capabilities and interests helps it be a success for everyone.
End of term workshops are the most popular of our own workshops, particularly in July for the end of the school year. A circus skills workshop is a really fun activity that the pupils really enjoy, so it’s a really popular way to finish the school year or term on a high. Each class gets a short taster session where they try 2-3 different pieces of circus equipment taught by a circus artist in a structured lesson. The variety of equipment is chosen carefully so it enables every pupil to get the hang of something new and exciting.
2. A Reward for the Winning House Group
We teach a lot of school workshops as a reward activity to groups of pupils. From being a prize for good attendance or behaviour, to the house team that has earned the most number of points during a term. Even as a way to allow year 6 to let off steam after SATs, rewarding their completion of their exams. When choosing your reward workshop subject, think about what those students enjoy. What will be fun to them? What subject will appeal to all of them and make them feel like they are getting something special that the other students aren’t? Ideally it wants to inspire those pupils who didn’t win to push forward next term so they are the ones rewarded with a such a great activity!
Again, similar to point 1, as a circus workshop is great fun with such broad appeal, it works really well as a reward. One school that shall remain nameless, engineered the winning house group each term, so we came in 4 times in the school year and taught each winning house group one term after the other!
3. An Ice-Breaker Activity in September
This is especially popular as a secondary school activity for the brand new year 7 classes. That first week of being in secondary school is a daunting prospect, many pupils will have changed schools and left behind familiar friends. New pupils will be coming into already established social groups. It can really help ease this transition to have an engaging structured group activity that gets pupils working together, forcing them out of their social comfort zones.
We use our circus skills workshops as a mixture of fun individual tricks but also use more collaborative equipment and tricks to really make pupils work together and respect each other.
When choosing your ice-breaker workshop make sure the workshop activity allows for a good mixture of group work so the pupils get to know each other and moments for individuals to shine. If you’re the shy child but you mastered juggling first because you listened really closely to the instructions, that social kudos can really help going forward into the rest of the term! Circus skills are so varied they’re a real leveller, there is a lot of logic, strategy and listening involved, so it isn’t just the sporty children that succeed, this is why we love teaching it in schools so much!
4. Healthy Living Week/Healthy Eating Week
This is another popular one for us. If you’re trying to get your pupils enthused by eating well and exercising and why this important, then a workshop that compliments this can really help to fully engage them. With childhood obesity being the epidemic that it is, this is such a vital topic in schools and we’re great champions of Healthy Living Week. It’s a great way to bring in a variety of different physical activities into your school, to have a little freedom to be creative. So many children don’t engage with competitive, traditional sports. There are so many excellent and fun school workshops available, that it’s a great opportunity to truly spark young people’s interest in something new.
We adapt our circus skills workshops to include some of the more physical equipment, such as tight rope walking. As well as offering a Q & A session with a real contemporary circus acrobat to talk about food for fuel and training schedules. We’ve hosted hula hoop workshops, teaching circus tricks with hoops as well as just the cardiovascular work of keeping it spinning. So many schools have hula hoops already, that this is brilliant for pupils being able to continue their practice and benefit long after the workshop day itself.
When you’re looking for a workshop provider to help animate your healthy eating week, look for a good balance between fun and fact to help get your pupils on board.
5. Circus Topic Resource in Key Stage 2
Primary school circus workshops are increasingly popular since circus became an optional a study topic for Key Stage 2. We are frequently invited into primary schools to teach circus skills workshops with Year 2 and Year 3 classes. All of our teaching team are professional circus arts performers so can talk from a wealth of first-hand experience about life as a modern circus artist. These talks are followed by hands on workshops for the pupils to try some of the circus equipment themselves. Teachers photograph their class workshops (as well as joining in!) and all this is used as project material for their study topic. We provide a recommended reading list of circus themed books to compliment this, alongside some other excellent circus topic resources we’ve compiled. The class can even create their own circus show by the end of the day to perform to parents or their peers.
If your school is choosing circus as their study topic, look for a school workshop company that has a circus arts performance background as well as teaching. Performers are trained to engage their audiences and this really brings the workshops to life. Likewise not all performers will be experienced at controlling a class of 35 excited 8 year olds well enough to teach them tricks effectively! Make sure you can see a good range of testimonials regarding their teaching skills as well as their circus abilities.
We hope this blog post has been helpful. Of course if you’d like to learn more about how our circus skills workshops are structured for your school you can read more information here. Do reach out with any questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07775927445.